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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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

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From The Colorado Springs Gazette: "Could the answer to erosion and pollution in Fountain Creek be as simple as changing building techniques in Colorado Springs? A water expert from Colorado State University wants to launch a program to find out. Low-impact development has gained in popularity in some parts of the country but is largely unknown here. The practice uses landscaping techniques, porous pavement and other elements to keep rainwater on the land and out of storm drains - and ultimately out of Fountain Creek...Perry Cabot, an engineer with CSU Extension in Pueblo who formerly worked for developers, is seeking a $118,000 federal grant to set up demonstration sites in Colorado Springs, develop guides for builders and help officials write landmanagement codes that encourage these development techniques and, in some cases, require them. He has the backing of U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, the Pueblo Stormwater Utility and other water experts."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:21:03 AM    

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It looks like good news for a change for a new whitewater park near Palisade. Officials have determined that endangered fish will be able to pass the park to spawn, according to The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. From the article:

A computer model aimed at showing whether endangered fish could pass the whitewater park during high runoff and summer shallows has been turned over to federal authorities, Palisade Town Administrator Tim Sarmo said. The two-dimensional models put together by a Canadian consultant for Palisade's engineering company show that even with the whitewater park in place, fish could navigate the 1,730-foot affected section of the river during high- and low-water conditions. Palisade officials had hoped to complete the whitewater park last winter, but were unable to provide information to regulators in time to obtain a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Now, Sarmo said he hopes to get that go-ahead so work can begin this fall. "We have the property, we have the money, we have the boulders," he said. "All we need is the permit.[per thou]

The town stockpiled near the river hundreds of boulders to be used in construction of the whitewater park, which consists of a series of rapids and eddies used by kayakers to perform maneuvers. The study concluded that the whitewater park would still allow plenty of opportunities for fish to move upstream even under river flows of 3,000 cubic feet per second. That would amount to water velocities of no more than 4 feet per second, according to the report. The park also would allow for depths of at least 18 inches of water for fish even with flows as low as 300 cubic feet per second.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:09:20 AM    

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From The Fort Collins Coloradoan: "Deep mountain snowpack and cooler spring days mean money in the bank for area river outfitters preparing for what they hope will be a long and profitable season along the Poudre River. Coming off their best year ever in terms of commercial user days and revenue, outfitters hope the cool spring will extend the rafting season until Labor Day, meaning 10 more days of trips through the pristine Poudre Canyon...According to the Colorado River Outfitters Association, more than 539,000 people rafted in Colorado last year spending more than $153 million. That translates into more than $4 million for local outfitters who collectively brought nearly 38,000 people down the river during the season's 100 days. The season officially starts Thursday."

More coverage from The Denver Post. They write:

Big water is virtually assured nearly everywhere in the state. And it's likely to stick around for a while. "This is the most water out of the snowpack we've gotten in the last 10 years or so," said Tom Pagano, a Colorado water supply forecaster from the Portland, Ore., office of the USDA's National Water and Climate Center. "For river runners, it's going to be kind of great all around."[...]

The numbers in each of Colorado's major river basins speak for themselves, not only in terms of accumulated precipitation but in the associated "snow-water equivalent" as well. Using the Upper Colorado River basin as an example, the amount of precipitation feeding it lingered at 119 percent of the 30-year average on Monday. More significant, the amount of water that forecasters expect to get out of that snow remains at more than 140 percent of the average. Similar figures hold true for the Gunnison and Arkansas river basins, setting the table for a whitewater paddling season the likes of which Colorado has not seen in years...

Oddly, the secret ingredient in this year's predicted blue-ribbon runoff is not the heat. At least not yet. Rather, it has been the cold, up to and including last weekend's high country snowstorm that dropped as much as a foot of snow in the central mountains (with more in the immediate forecast). Before the season's record snowfall has time to melt, it replenishes itself, with a healthy portion preserved by uncommonly cold temperatures during the past five months. "That's the thing that's a bit unusual. This year has been quite cold, and the snowpack is really hanging in there," Pagano said. "We're just waiting for a trigger."[...]

A proactive approach from Colorado water managers making space for the inevitable cache in reservoirs statewide also bodes well for recreational river enthusiasts. With several of the state's water reserves already brimming, even heavily dammed rivers such as the South Platte are expected to run as if they remained wild while the gush of snowmelt flows directly through dams to the tailwaters below. "Flows are going to get really big," said Dave Bennett, a water resource planner for Denver Water. "Everything will be flowing straight down. All the water out of Cheesman should come straight through to Chatfield. There'll be a lot of water through Denver during runoff."[...]

It's been nearly 25 years since flows on the Yampa hit a record 33,200 cubic feet per second (May 18, 1984) and combined with flows of the Colorado River downstream at Cataract Canyon to peak at a burly 125,000 cfs. Already a call has gone out from rangers at Cataract's surrounding Canyonlands National Park for volunteer river safety support below the canyon's notorious "Big Drops" when the flows broach the anticipated 50,000 cfs level later this month. Lake Powell, at the canyon's end, is forecast to rise 50 feet over the course of the runoff.

More runoff news from The Vail Daily. From the article:

The Colorado River Basin is in good shape this year. Spring runoff will fill all the upper basin reservoirs in the next few months, water experts said at the annual state of the river meeting. Trying to address West Slope concerns about increased diversions to the Front Range, Denver Water's Melissa Elliott described the utility's aggressive conservation efforts, aimed at cutting total water use in the service area by 22 percent by 2016. Right now, Denver Water customers use 211 gallons per person, per day. If Denver Water meets its goal, that number would drop to 165 gallons per person, per day, she said. Denver Water board member George Beardsley said there are discussions about a wide-ranging effort to to fund protection for the Colorado River watershed by charging customers a fee that would help with forest health projects. The talks are at an early stage, and Beardsley said Denver Water would only consider the fees if other major water providers on the Front Range join in the effort.

From The Aspen Times: "A smorgasbord of local emergency response officials will be the hosts at a town meeting in Basalt on May 14, to discuss preparations for the anticipated higher-than-normal spring runoff. The meeting will take place from 6-8 p.m. at the Basalt Middle School auditorium. Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson will lead the discussion. Joining Thompson on the panel is Pitkin County emergency management coordinator Ellen Anderson; Basalt Mayor Larry Duroux; Basalt Police Chief Keith Ikeda; National Weather Service meteorologist Aldis Strautins; Red Cross volunteer Rheta Strong; and Pitkin County 911 communications director Mark Gamrat."

Category: Colorado Water
5:57:18 AM    

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