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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Thursday, May 22, 2008

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From The Montrose Daily Press: "Competitors in the septic hauling industry are coming together to support new county rules and regulations, and find a solution to a pressing disposal issue. The Western Slope Haulers Association formed several months ago and is made up of area septic haulers, said Kevin Smith, the group's president. He said the association stresses regulations and accountability, along with educating people about septic waste."

More from the article:

Montrose County has not had regulations in the past which deal with the industry and are implemented and enforced at a county level. Federal regulations are imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Currently, Richard Thompson, environmental health specialist for Montrose County Health and Human Services, is drawing up those policies, said Montrose County Commissioner Gary Ellis. Ellis said the rules and regulations will be developed, implemented and enforced by the county and will include such things as record keeping, treatment, pumping and disposal. All the information will eventually be put into a computerized database, so the county can track any irregularities and deal with illegal dumping issues, he said. However, though those rules may be in place shortly, the industry in the area, along with the county, is still figuring out a long-term location to dispose of the waste...

Currently, most haulers in the Montrose area unload their trucks at West Montrose Sanitation District. However, the district has made it clear to the county that they don't want to be in the septic business long-term, Ellis said. With the system the district current has, they are going to need to invest in disposal methods eventually. He said there is a possibility the district could receive a grant to help with expenses, but with the condition that the county works toward a long-term solution. "The conversation is under way to find a solution, so ultimately we have a place to dispose, and eliminate illegal dumping," Ellis said. He said the county, city and private entities have been discussing solutions to this problem and the county has looked at other systems in the surrounding area, such as the Gunnison facility. Ellis said the Gunnison location has a dumping site four miles up from its wastewater treatment plant. Dumping up the river allows for the waste to be diluted enough to travel through the treatment process, after which the matter is turned into a useable mulch [~] generating some revenue for the plant...

Further information and talk about the issue will take place during the May 28 event, Wastewater and Biosolids Issues in Western Colorado: Transporting, Disposal and Recycling, at the Pavilion. The event starts at 7:30 a.m. and continues until 4:30 p.m. A round table discussion and workshop with the haulers association will be from 3 to 3:30 p.m.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
7:07:10 PM    

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Here's a press release about the Southern Delivery System 'Listening Session' from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

On May 29, 2008 in Pueblo, Reclamation will host a public listening session on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Southern Delivery System project.

The intent of the meeting is to listen to and record comments made by the public. Reclamation will not be responding to comments or answering questions at this meeting. All comments received on the Draft EIS will have corresponding responses provided in the Final EIS. The listening session will be held at the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center, 210 North Santa Fe Avenue, Pueblo, CO 81003 from 6pm to 8pm. Members of the public wanting to speak at the listening session will have the opportunity to register from 5:30pm to 6pm. Statements will be limited to a maximum of 3 minutes per commenter. There will be a third-party moderator to facilitate the process and a court reporter to document the comments.

For more information on the public listening session or the Draft EIS, please contact Kara Lamb at Reclamation's Eastern Colorado office at (970) 962-4326 or

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
7:05:27 PM    

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From email sent to Reclamation (Dan Crabtree) from Delta (Lanny Sloan): "As of 10:00 am on Thursday, May 22, 2008, some citizens of Delta are experiencing problems as a result of flows in the Gunnison River. Some flooding has occurred onto property, but no structures are in danger at this time. The city has closed trails in Confluence Park as a result of flooding onto the trails, and approximately 20 acres of the wildlife area are under water. There is the potential of increased flooding onto public and private property if flows in the Gunnison River are increased.

"If you have questions about the areas of flooding please contact me or Steve Glammeyer at 970-874-7566"

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb): "More water is coming into Green Mountain Reservoir. Denver Water has increased their releases and we are bypassing those flows. We bumped releases up twice today, in 100 cfs increments. The additional 200 cfs out of Green Mountain Dam puts 1100 cfs in the Lower Blue River. There is the possibility releases could continue to go up. If you are down by the river, please be aware flows could continue to rise through the weekend, depending on the weather."

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

As we move to Memorial Day, I wanted to send an update on reservoir water levels.

Lake Estes: We have had the reservoir water level down in anticipation of spring run off; it is very slowly coming up. Warm weather during the day melts snow in the high elevations that flows into rivers, coming into lower elevations late at night. This is the pattern we have seen over the last few days on the Big Thompson. We are currently releasing about 411 cfs from Olympus Dam to the Big Thompson. We are storing a small amount in Lake Estes.

Pinewood Reservoir: We will be fluctuating the water level at Pinewood as we adjust to the run-off as it starts to come down. Those around the reservoir will notice it moving up and down over the course of a 24-hour period. Please be mindful of where you place tents, dock boats, etc. Things out of the water in the evening could be under water by morning, or vice-versa.

Carter Reservoir: Carter continues to rise slowly. We will pump water up to Carter through the Holiday weekend. The elevation at Carter is currently about 40 feet down from a total fill at about 5719.

Horsetooth Reservoir: Because we are pumping water to Carter (a late fill due to the construction on the new outlet works), we are not running much water to Horsetooth at all. About 256 cfs is being released from Horsetooth Dam. The reservoir is currently at an elevation of 5410 and should stay above 5400 through the Holiday Weekend.

Category: Colorado Water
7:04:15 PM    

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grist: "The House approved legislation today that renews billions of dollars in tax breaks for wind, solar, biomass, and other renewable energy sources, and extends a proposed new tax credit for biofuels derived from sources other than corn...The bill includes a six-year extension of the investment tax credit for solar energy; a three-year extensions of the production tax credit for biomass, geothermal, hydropower, landfill gas, and solid waste; and a one-year extension of the production tax credit for wind energy. There are also incentives for the production of renewable fuels such as biodiesel and cellulosic biofuels, incentives for companies that produce energy-efficient products, and incentives to improve efficiency in commercial and residential buildings. Congress has been trying to get these tax credits for clean energy through for a year. The bill is likely to face tougher opposition in the Senate, and the president has already threatened to veto it."

Category: Climate Change News
7:01:15 PM    

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From The Pueblo Chieftain: "Most of the ordinance focuses on what constitutes an illegal or illicit discharge and how and who will monitor the water. The ordinance also sets penalties. Violations of the ordinance will be considered Class 2 petty offenses and fines of $1,000 can be levied for each day someone violates the ordinance."

Category: Colorado Water
7:00:18 PM    

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The Lower Arkansas Valley Super Ditch Company has scored another $320,000 from the Colorado Water Conservation Board, according to The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Even though the Super Ditch received two-thirds of what it sought, its proposed study of finding ways to transfer ag water to cities without drying up farms was called the "clear winner" in a competitive state grant program. The Colorado Water Conservation Board on Wednesday voted unanimously to add $320,000 to the $750,000 the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District has spent toward legal, engineering and economic investigation of the Super Ditch. The Super Ditch had asked for $480,000 and provided a detailed list of what the money would go for, including using some of the funds to determine if there are any antitrust issues associated with formation of the entity. The CWCB put a condition that the grant would be awarded only if there are no legal roadblocks found in the antitrust study.

Todd Doherty of the CWCB staff said the Super Ditch was a "clear winner" among five proposals submitted for Wednesday's meeting. Using guidelines developed earlier by the CWCB, it was the only one that matched criteria. "The scopes in the project are extremely well-defined and the chances of getting something usable out of it are high," Doherty said. Faced with more requests than money, however, the CWCB opted to scale back Super Ditch funding and give others a shot at refining their requests. The state Legislature allocated $1.5 million for studies in 2007, but the five requests totaled more than $2.3 million...

Parker, which is putting $1 million into the study, disagreed with the CWCB's denial of its initial application, but is grateful to be given a chance to refine paperwork for reconsideration before the July CWCB meeting, said Manager Frank Jaeger. "We believe in what we're doing," Jaeger said. "But I need to keep things moving on."" Jaeger said Parker still intends to put $1 million into the study, but said the costs will be greater and of use to water users in both the South Platte and Arkansas basins. Parker's request was $750,000, intended to reflect the South Platte's share of the total funds available. The Lower Ark district also scaled back its request to match the expected amount that would be available and could have used the entire pot for studies, Nichols said. Also vying for a share of the money was the High Line Canal, which leased water to Aurora in 2004-05. Its request involved expanding the leasing program to other ditches. The canal's superintendent, Dan Henrichs, was disappointed, saying the canal already has a proven record of leasing water. "We know there is a huge demand, and we know where the water is," Henrichs said. "This would be a leasing entity for the other ditches and would take the whole $750,000." Also rejected in the first go-round were a proposal by the Farmers and Reservoir Irrigation Co. and University of Colorado researcher John Wiener. The CWCB voted unanimously to invite unsuccessful applicants to refine applications in the next four weeks for reconsideration at the July meetings. The board also set aside $500,000 of the grant money for distribution in November.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:59:39 PM    

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Many downstream of Colorado Springs on Fountain Creek are hoping for a flood control dam. It looks like U.S. Senator Ken Salazar is on board with them, according to The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Proving there is more than one way to get things done, Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar persuaded a key Senate committee Wednesday to order the Army Corps of Engineers to begin studying whether a dam or reservoir should be built on Fountain Creek for flood control and other purposes. "The Army Corps now has the authorization to look at the feasibility of building a dam and is directed to do that," said Salazar, a Democrat, after the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved his resolution on a voice vote. The Corps' budget process is slow-moving so Congress established a shortcut that gives the Senate and House public works committees special authority to order work done through project resolutions. In this case, Salazar's resolution requires the Fountain Creek study. The only missing piece is the $100,000 estimated cost of the study and Salazar's staff said it would be added to an appropriation bill as soon as possible. The big obstacle had been getting congressional authorization, which was accomplished Wednesday.

Salazar's resolution instructs the Army Corps to consider study recommendations that are "advisable in the interest of ecosystem restoration, flood control, storage, sediment control and other allied purposes in the Fountain Creek Basin upstream of Pueblo, Colorado."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:59:03 PM    

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Say hello to the USGS's Water Quality Watch website. Here's their press release:

Real time water-quality data are now easily accessible online through the USGS WaterQualityWatch website ( Continuous real-time information on water quality is a vital asset that helps safeguard lives and property and ensures adequate water resources for a healthy economy. Real-time water quality measurements are available at more than 1,300 sites across the United States in streams with watersheds as small as a few square miles to more than a million square miles in the Mississippi River. Measurements include streamflow, water temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity. "Real-time water information is breaking new ground in science and technology and is proving to be very useful, helping local water managers make important daily decisions, such as regarding drinking water, water treatment, recreation, and public safety on beaches throughout the U.S." said Matthew Larsen, USGS Acting Associate Director for Water. The public also uses the on-line data to decide whether conditions, such as water temperature or turbidity, are favorable for recreational activities such as fishing, boating or swimming. As the science advances, real-time measurements for relatively simple parameters such as temperature, conductance, and turbidity can be used to help predict more health-related conditions, such as if E. coli levels will exceed safety standards at beaches...

Access additional USGS real-time water information sites by visiting WaterWatch for surface water information ( and Ground-Water Watch (

Category: Colorado Water
6:58:40 PM    

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From The Boulder Daily Camera: "Some Boulder residents will probably notice a change in the taste of tap water when the city brings the Boulder Reservoir Water Treatment Plant online Thursday. Customers in north and central Boulder, as well as in Gunbarrel, may notice a slight change in water taste due to chemical differences between the reservoir water and the Betasso Water Treatment Plant. The process is a normal part of the summer switch, which is due to increased demand for water."

Category: Colorado Water
6:40:29 AM    

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Here's a report from the recent Children's Water Festival at Northeastern Junior College from The Sterling Journal Advocate. From the article:

The Childrens Water Festival is a way for school children to learn more about the importance of water, especially in an arid region such as Colorado. Twenty-two presentations were offered, more than any group of children could take part in during the few hours of the festival. Each school class was scheduled for specific presentations, depending on the children's age level. Offerings ranged from "Boating Safety" with Irene Gomez from North Sterling State Park, to "Where Does the Snow Go," by Terry Weaver from the Natural Resources Conservation District. The 20 covered the gamut from "Trees and Water" to "Wat'r We Eating." Gary Miller, now retired from the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District, was instrumental in starting the Childrens Water Festival in the early 1990s, and continues to work with it every year. Steve Cramer with the Logan County Extension Office was one of the festival organizers this year, along with Kent Swedlund, Joe Frank and Rick Fleharty from the LSPWCD.

Category: Colorado Water
6:34:34 AM    

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The Elk River is out of its banks and has set a stream flow record, according to The Steamboat Pilot & Today. From the article:

High water continued to encroach upon houses near the confluence of the Elk and Yampa rivers Wednesday, as the Elk River reached its highest level ever recorded. "We're at a flood of record," Routt County Emergency Man agement Director Chuck Vale said. "You're seeing river and creek runoff higher than all of the locals have ever seen."

The Elk River was measured at 7.8 feet at 7:15 a.m. Wednesday, well above flood stage, which begins at 7 feet. This current crest of high water, which began Monday, has bested by more than a foot the previous record of 6.7 feet recorded May 20, 2000, according to the National Weather Service. The river not only is running higher than any other recorded level since record keeping began in the early 20th century, its flow was measured at 7,100 cubic feet per second Thursday morning, which Vale called "incredibly fast." The numbers were so staggering that the U.S. Geological Survey sent officials to Routt County on Thursday morning to ensure its measuring equipment was functioning properly and that nothing was amiss with its gauges near Milner...

Rapid snowmelt damaged Seedhouse Road on Monday night, causing the road to slough off in several places between Elk River Guest Ranch and Vista Verde Guest Ranch. Seedhouse Road remains passable, though 10.2 miles of Routt County Road 129 was closed to all through and commercial traffic Wednesday from Columbine north to 3 Forks Ranch, because of poor road conditions. Local and emergency traffic still will be permitted on the affected stretch of C.R. 129.

Be sure to click through for the photos.

More runoff news from The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. They write: "The worst case scenario would involve water spilling over the top of Vega Reservoir, about six miles to the east and uphill from Collbran, and flooding Plateau Creek at the same time Buzzard Creek runs full. [Chief Mike Harvey of the Plateau Valley Fire Protection District] said Vega's water level is about 6 feet from spilling and could happen in the next 15 days."

More coverage from "The Colorado River has moved into the 'action stage.' It moved Wednesday morning when the water level surpassed ten feet. The Cameo gage in the Colorado River was at 10.62 feet at 6:00 Wednesday night. That means parts of the Colorado River have completely filled the banks. If the water level goes higher than twelve feet, the river will be considered 'flood stage.' That's when flooding could affect property and state roads...The Colorado River is expected to rise to 11.6 feet early Friday morning. Flood advisories have been issued across Western Colorado"

Check out stream conditions at the USGS Colorado Water Watch website.

Category: Colorado Water
6:24:48 AM    

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Governor Ritter signed HB 08-1405 yesterday, according to All American Patriots. They write: "House Bill 1405 (Rep. Randy Fischer/Sen. Brandon Shaffer) provides the Colorado Water Institute at CSU with $500,000 in FY 08-09. The 43-year-old institute develops, implements and coordinates water research programs in the state, and transfers the results of that research to water users."

Category: Colorado Water
6:11:18 AM    

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