Coyote Gulch's Colorado Water
The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land. -- Luna Leopold

Central Colorado Water Conservancy District

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Monday, May 12, 2008

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From The Denver Business Journal: " A report issued Monday by the federal Department of Energy --- saying that wind power could meet 20 percent of the nation's needs by 2030 --- could boost Colorado's fledgling wind industry. 'We're really been positioning ourselves as the center for the new energy economy,' said Craig Cox, executive director of Interwest Energy Alliance, a renewable energy trade association based in Conifer."

Category: 2008 Presidential Election
6:17:34 PM    

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If you're following the public comment period for the Oil Shale and Tar Sands Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for oil shale development click here for the public comments and here for the written comments.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Category: 2008 Presidential Election
6:07:30 PM    

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Now here's something to shake up the Republican base. Republicans for Environmental Protection sent out email linking to John McCain's speech in Oregon today on global warming. Here's the link to the speech. A couple of excerpts:

In the coming weeks, I intend to address many of the great challenges that America's energy policies must meet. When we debate energy bills in Washington, it should be more than a competition among industries for special favors, subsidies, and tax breaks. In the Congress, we need to send the special interests on their way - without their favors and subsidies. We need to draw on the best ideas of both parties, and on all the resources a free market can provide. We need to keep our eyes on big goals in energy policy, the serious dangers, and the common interests of the American people.

Today I'd like to focus on just one of those challenges, and among environmental dangers it is surely the most serious of all. Whether we call it "climate change" or "global warming," in the end we're all left with the same set of facts. The facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in Washington. Good stewardship, prudence, and simple common sense demand that we to act meet the challenge, and act quickly.

Some of the most compelling evidence of global warming comes to us from NASA. No longer do we need to rely on guesswork and computer modeling, because satellite images reveal a dramatic disappearance of glaciers, Antarctic ice shelves and polar ice sheets. And I've seen some of this evidence up close. A few years ago I traveled to the area of Svalbard, Norway, a group of islands in the Arctic Ocean. I was shown the southernmost point where a glacier had reached twenty years earlier. From there, we had to venture northward up the fjord to see where that same glacier ends today - because all the rest has melted. On a trip to Alaska, I heard about a national park visitor's center that was built to offer a picture-perfect view of a large glacier. Problem is, the glacier is gone. A work of nature that took ages to form had melted away in a matter of decades...

We have many advantages in the fight against global warming, but time is not one of them. Instead of idly debating the precise extent of global warming, or the precise timeline of global warming, we need to deal with the central facts of rising temperatures, rising waters, and all the endless troubles that global warming will bring. We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great. The most relevant question now is whether our own government is equal to the challenge.

Memo to Barack and Hillary. McCain just stole your natural position on this issue. Have you figured out who white people are going to vote for? Sigh.

Category: 2008 Presidential Election
6:06:19 PM    

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Here's an update on Rueter-Hess Reservoir from The Denver Post. From the article:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently approved the Parker Water and Sanitation District's request to quadruple the size of the Rueter-Hess Reservoir near Parker. When it is completed in 2011, it will serve the Parker area as well as Castle Rock, Castle Pines North and Stonegate, all of which agreed to buy into the partnership. Although it won't be a full solution to the area's water problems, it will help as Douglas County continues to add houses. It will also bring in new sources of water to existing homes. "Rueter-Hess is only a water-management tool," said Frank Jaeger, manager of the Parker Water and Sanitation District. "We are going to have to find other sources of water. We're looking in every river basin. In order to sustain the type of growth on the Front Range, water is going to have to be developed on all those basins."

The reservoir will store both future water acquisitions and recycled water from the system's two wastewater treatment plants. The water district also will be able to divert and store water from Cherry Creek. The expansion will allow the reservoir to store 72,000 acre-feet of water and be 1,140 acres on the surface. That is enough water for 140,000 homes. The first phase of the reservoir, which already is built, can store 16,000 acre-feet. The total price at completion is estimated at $165 million...

Recent studies have found that the [Denver Basin Aquifers] are being depleted at about 30 feet a year. That is why Jaeger and others think the area needs to secure more water options by gaining rights on one of the state's river basins, such as the Arkansas or South Platte. "I believe we will have to import water in the long term, that being only 20 years," Jaeger said. "We need to be working diligently to develop water from other river basins and import water through pipelines."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:05:00 PM    

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Say hello to the International Stormwater BPM Database. From the website, "Welcome to the International Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP) Database project website, which features a database of over 300 BMP studies, performance analysis results, tools for use in BMP performance studies, monitoring guidance and other study-related publications. The overall purpose of the project is to provide scientifically sound information to improve the design, selection and performance of BMPs. Continued population of the database and assessment of its data will ultimately lead to a better understanding of factors influencing BMP performance and help to promote improvements in BMP design, selection and implementation."

Thanks to The Environmental News Network for the link. They write:

Improvements in the International Stormwater BMP Database ( were recently unveiled by the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) and its partners. It will better enable BMP searches, data collection and uploading, and access to BMP performance analyses. Everyone from public officials and municipal stormwater managers to designers and researchers will discover significant enhancements.

- More data. With the recent addition of 65 new BMP studies, the database now includes over 300 studies.

- New data analysis results. A new analysis of all the BMPs in the database identifies how different BMP types performed in removing a variety of pollutants. The performance descriptions can assess achievable effluent concentrations, assess effects of BMPs on total loadings (i.e., TMDLs), and identify the frequency of potential exceedances of water quality criteria or other targets.

- Website upgrade. A new website provides ease of navigation based on the type of user. Data retrieval tools have been improved.

- Simplified data entry. New Excel-based data entry spreadsheets, a corresponding user's guide, and a data upload tool simplify data collection and entry from data providers.

- Additional data partners. The project is working with large data providers to "open the pipeline" of BMP study submissions. Several large data providers are using or adapting the database as their data storage tool and are regularly providing information to the database. If you have data that you are interested in submitting, please contact Jane Clary at

- U.S. EPA collaboration. The project is providing support to U.S. EPA through its Urban BMP Performance Tool, a search engine offered on EPA's stormwater NPDES program website. The EPA website links to the database site for more detailed BMP study information.

- Information dissemination. The project continues to distribute findings from the database and remains a reliable source of information. Two recent articles include "15 Reasons You Should Think Twice Before Using Percent Removal to Assess BMP Performance" and "Can Stormwater BMPs Remove Bacteria?" in the Jan. and May issues of Stormwater Magazine, respectively.

Category: Colorado Water
6:00:02 PM    

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Here's some snowpack news from The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Snowpack from the San Juan Mountains has run off at a steady pace this spring, although officials are keeping an eye out for excessively warm weather and rains in the high country that might change that. Flood concerns in the San Luis Valley have eased some since March when snowpack levels above 150 percent of normal prompted local governments to begin flood preparations. But with levels ranging from 110 percent of average in the northern and western ends of the valley and more than 130 percent in the southwestern corner, there is still some potential for flooding. "Anywhere in the basin where we've got this kind of snow, if you get a nice warm rain and warm weather together you could get localized flooding coming out," said Mike Sullivan, division engineer for the Colorado Division of Water Resources...

Sullivan said. The Rio Grande has run above its historical average for much of the month. According to gauge figures at Del Norte, flows measured between 2,400 cubic feet per second and 2,600 cfs heading into the weekend. But those levels fall well below the 7,500 cfs regarded as the flood stage, according to the Rio Grande County Web site...

The Conejos River, which sits behind Platoro Reservoir near its headwaters, has flowed below its historic average for much of the month, but has come up in the last week, according to gauge readings near Mogote. The Rio San Antonio runs into the state from northern New Mexico without any dams to impede its flow. The river, which passes through Antonito and heads north to its confluence with the Conejos River, was running at over 1,400 cfs late Thursday, nearly three times its historic average and had caused some flooding of agricultural land near Manassa. Sullivan said a run of high temperatures may cause problems for Terrace Reservoir, which sits on the Alamosa River on the west side of the valley. He and officials with the privately owned irrigation reservoir have engaged in regular discussions about keeping flood space open behind the structure.

Category: Colorado Water
6:26:37 AM    

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Here's an update on Fort Collins' plans for updating their treatment plant and supply infrastructure from The Fort Collins Coloradoan. From the article:

The city's $31 million renovation of the Mulberry Wastewater treatment plant in 2010 is just the beginning. Repairs to the plant, built six decades ago, required City Council to pass a 12 percent wastewater fee increase this year and another 11 percent increase in 2009 to pay for the improvements that will rebuild a large part of the facility. But city experts say that is only the first major repair of many.

To help plan for what will inherently be costly fixes to drinking water pipelines that begin in the Poudre Canyon, wastewater facilities, underground electric wiring and stormwater improvements in coming years, the utility department is getting ready to undergo an internal audit -- a check-up of sorts. "We have to start taking a look at where we are going to be 40 or 50 years down the road," Janonis said. "We need to know what major systems are going to be in need of repair or replacement and when. Once we know, we can start planning for it." The city's utility department is currently searching to hire a full-time asset manager who will lead a multiyear review of the city's utility infrastructure to provide a realistic assessment of what will fail and when. Armed with data-driven knowledge, the city will start a savings account today for repairs that could be 50 years away, Janonis said.

Category: Colorado Water
6:20:35 AM    

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From The Longmont Times-Call: "[Longmont] officials will start gathering residents' feedback on the draft plan later this month, [city water resources engineer Ken Huson] said -- a plan that, over the next 10 years, would save an estimated 1,600 acre-feet of city water. The city likely will organize open houses and focus groups this month and next, he said. He hopes to return to City Council in July for final approval. The city needs to update the plan for two reasons, Huson said. The state recently changed its laws so that municipalities aren't eligible for some loans and grants if their water-conservation plans are older than seven years, he said. Also, in the 12 years since adopting the plan, the city has accomplished most of what it set out to do: residential rebates for water-efficient fixtures; rates that encourage conservation; and education about landscaping and irrigation."

Category: Colorado Water
6:12:10 AM    

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