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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Sunday, May 25, 2008

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From email from the Colorado Water Conservation Board:

The Stream and Lake Protection Section of the Colorado Water Conservation Board is joining with the Southwestern Water Conservation District to meet with Stakeholders and all other Interested Parties to discuss the Lower San Miguel River Water Resource Planning Study, a.k.a., UMETCO Water Rights Recommendation Study, and the appropriation of water rights for Instream Flow purposes in Montrose County. While these are two separate topics, they are closely related and discussing them at the same meeting should prove productive.

The following stream segments are being considered for Instream Flow Protection at this time: San Miguel River and Tabeguache Creek.

Additional Streams that are being consider for appropriation in 2009 in Water Division 4 include: Big Dominguez Creek, Bent Creek (Increase), Clear Fork East Muddy Creek, East Elk Creek (Increase), Grizzly Gulch, Gunnison River, Henson Creek, Little Dominguez Creek, Little Spring Creek, and Schafer Gulch (Increase).

Detailed information concerning these proposed Instream Flows can be found on CWCB's website.

The meeting will take place at 6:00 p.m. on May 29th, 2008, and will be held in the Naturita Community Building located at 411 West Second Avenue in Naturita, Colorado. Questions may be directed to Jeff Baessler at 303-866-3906

3:55:04 PM    

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Colorado Independent has the lowdown on runoff on the Eagle River. From the article:

Like surfers eagerly awaiting tsunamis, rafters and kayakers are taking the plunge into huge spring runoff conditions in the mountains this Memorial Day Weekend, in some cases ignoring flood advisories to do so. The Eagle County Sheriff's Office is recommending only professional boaters brave the rising rivers in the central Rockies, especially after two women capsized their raft last weekend and then wrapped it around a bridge pylon near Eagle. They were able to swim ashore with their two dogs, but things could have gotten ugly. The Eagle River, which starts high in the mountains above Minturn, dumps into the Colorado River near Dotsero. The Eagle River in that area below Gypsum was running at about 1,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Saturday, May 17, and with warm weather during the week, topped 4,000 cfs on Thursday. Friday cooled off and the river dropped to about 2,800 cfs. The Colorado River, which is under flood advisories in several sections, was running at 15,400 cfs below Glenwood Springs, and the river closed sections of Interstate 70 during the day on Friday. Mountain rescue groups are warning high water will last for three or four more weeks.

The Eagle River, which starts high in the mountains above Minturn, dumps into the Colorado River near Dotsero. The Eagle River in that area below Gypsum was running at about 1,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Saturday, May 17, and with warm weather during the week, topped 4,000 cfs on Thursday. Friday cooled off and the river dropped to about 2,800 cfs.

Category: Colorado Water
3:47:05 PM    

Left in the West: "Some new polling out in Montana, for the Democratic primary and the general. Primary: Obama 52; Clinton 35. For those of you who continue to argue that demographics are not destiny, Clinton leads 47-40 in eastern Montana, while Obama leads 62-25 in western Montana."

Political Wire: "A new Newsweek poll shows Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain tied among voters nationally, 46% to 46%. Sen. Hillary Clinton fares slightly better against McCain, 48% to 44%, though this is within the survey's margin of error."

Category: 2008 Presidential Election
2:59:47 PM    

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Customers of Alamosa's water system are seeing high levels of chorine, according to The Valley Courier. Adding chlorine to the system is new for the operators. They've started since the salmonella outbreak earlier this spring. From the article:

Six weeks after the city's water supply was deemed safe to drink again, chlorine levels in Alamosa's water remain at 1.5-1.7 parts per million, approximately double the normal dose. The City of Alamosa began chlorinating its municipal water supply after contamination this spring from salmonella and other contaminants. Once the city's new water treatment plant begins operation this summer the city will likely be allowed to reduce the level of chlorine in the system according to Alamosa Public Works Director Don Koskelin. Koskelin told the city council this week that the equipment in the new water plant is being tested right now and water will begin moving through it by mid-June. He said he expects the plant to be fully operational by the end of July or first part of August. That would put the project a couple of months ahead of schedule, he added.

Alamosa City Manager Nathan Cherpeski said the city could not say 100 percent where the contamination started but the investigation at this point seemed to point to the Weber Reservoir. That reservoir is now off line and will not be used as part of the city's potable system in the future, Cherpeski said. He added that city officials would continue to monitor the situation. He said the state is now in charge of the investigation but they are short staffed. "They have not shared much information," he said. City Attorney Erich Schwiesow said city officials need to be careful about pinpointing a specific source. Rogers said it is also important for the citizens to know the city has not pushed the issue under the rug and is willing to let the citizens know what the council knows...

Cherpeski said the city is still receiving bills. Some agencies have indicated they would not be charging Alamosa, he added. The City of Boulder was one of those. Koskelin said the cities that sent crews to help Alamosa out would not bill Alamosa for their time, equipment or personnel and would only charge for their consumable materials. He estimated in rough numbers the value of donated time and equipment from other cities was more than $50,000. Koskelin said Denver Water alone had five people in Alamosa during nearly the entire duration of the crisis. Other cities also sent help. Crews from as far away as Lincoln, Neb., sent manpower, Koskelin said. Pueblo was one of the first cities to send crews to help, he added.

Thanks to SLV Dweller for the link. More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
8:57:36 AM    

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Montrose County officials have denied a permit for septage disposal near Olathe, according to The Montrose Daily Press. From the article:

The county needs a long-term septage-receiving facility but locating it near homes west of Olathe isn't the answer, the Montrose County Planning Commission decided Thursday. On the basis of poor site selection and related health and safety issues, the commission denied a special-use permit for a proposed septage receiving station and composting processing facility on Easter Road. "We need the facility but this is the wrong place," said commissioner Gary Garren. Those who spoke on the proposal lauded Eagle Plumbing and Septic owner Chuck Bishop, the permit applicant, for his efforts to address the septage issue.

However, numerous environmental, public health and logistical concerns, as well as the proposal's lack of an engineering plan, led commissioners to deny the permit request. Issues raised included water contamination, smell, green waste supply and traffic. Despite the setback, Bishop said he would continue pursuing his proposal. "I intend to do this one way or another," he said...

While the commission's decision may have slowed progress on Bishop's proposal, discussions about the county's need to establish a long-term septage receiver appeared to have gained some ground at the meeting. County Land Use Director Steve White said the county has been working for a number of years to address the issue. He said the county needs to step forward to a solution. "The county is often issuing permits for septic tanks...The county feels a responsibility that this (disposal) has to be addressed in some manner," said White. "At this point, the haulers have to take that product somewhere. Right now they can take it to the West Montrose Sanitation District (WMSD). That is changing in the future." The district was set up several years ago to temporarily receive and treat domestic septage from Montrose County. Recently, WMSD received an Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to remove the biosolids from septage dumps at the district's pond. However, awarding of the grant is contingent upon the county finding a long-term disposal solution, said WMSD Manager Randy See.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
8:43:06 AM    

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Don't forget the public comment session for the Southern Delivery System this week. Here's a report from The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

One more opportunity to comment on a $1.1 billion water pipeline project that could run through Pueblo County will be available this week. The Bureau of Reclamation will host a public comment session on the proposed Southern Delivery System from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center. Those who wish to speak should register from 5:30 to 6 p.m. Statements are limited to three minutes. The meeting is an outgrowth of local criticism of the process Reclamation has used so far in developing its environmental impact statement for SDS...

On April 2, Reclamation hosted an open house in Pueblo, attended by more than 125 people. After the open house, several officials wanted a more public airing of comments. Reclamation agreed to have a public meeting format, but will not respond to any of the comments at Thursday's meeting. Reclamation plans to address all the comments, however, in the final EIS, which is expected to be released before the end of the year. In response to requests by two congressmen and 14 environmental or labor groups, Reclamation also extended its deadline for comments to June 13.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
8:31:43 AM    

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Here's a report about the opposition rising up against planned uranium mining in the Tallahassee area near Guffey, from The Cañon City Daily Record. From the article:

Black Range Minerals, an Australian company, will appear before the Fremont County Commissioners on Tuesday for a formal public hearing. The company has applied for a Conditional Use Permit to drill an estimated 800 holes across 8,169 acres on the Taylor and Boyer ranches in the Tallahassee area. Tuesday's hearing will encompass only the exploratory phase of the project. If the CUP is approved and the exploration eventually proves the area to be economically viable for a uranium mine, the company would later submit to a separate permit process to mine. The limitations of the public hearing frustrated many in the crowd, including Jim Hawklee, president of the Tallahassee Area Committee, Inc. The neighborhood corporation formed explicitly to fight the exploration activity...

"This will affect you in Guffey," he said. "We have common aquifers that we share. Any contamination could spread. We're asking everyone who can to come down and let them know how you feel about uranium exploration." The vocal crowd left no doubt it was unanimous in its opposition to any type of uranium activity...

Hawklee said the key to protecting and preserving the quality of life in the Tallahassee area was to convince the commissioners to deny the exploration permit. "The more political pressure we can put on them, the better," Hawklee said. "We're pretty concerned. It does not look good for us." Several Guffey residents expressed concern their opinions would not be considered because they are not Fremont County residents. The town is situated in Park County, a few miles away from Tallahassee. "Our shared aquifer should give you the right to say something," Hawklee said. "This is not a one-county operation. This could cross county lines." Minton said the community needed to band together to fight the proposal...

The official public hearing will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the lower level of the County Administration Building, 615 Macon Ave. Like all public hearings, the commissioners may make a formal decision following the discussion, or they could postpone judgment until a later date.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Category: 2008 Presidential Election
8:26:19 AM    

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Here's an update on costs to repair and replace supply infrastructure in Colorado Springs, from The Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:

News this week that the water division of Colorado Springs Utilities is facing a $33 million shortfall because of declining usage and a slumping housing market are only part of the story. Water officials reported that more than half the pipes that carry water to customers are made of iron, some 100 years old. Leaks and breaks are on the rise, driving up maintenance costs and requiring replacement. Service lines that run from mains to customer lines, too, are showing age. The cost to repair them has gone up by 23 percent since 2005. In addition, fire hydrants need attention. Since 2005, those replaced have more than tripled to 611 and more need to be upgraded. Fixing the problems will cost $60 million in the next 10 years. That's on top of $36 million needed to improve the city's water treatment plants and holding tanks in the next five years and $65 million in the next decade to upgrade reservoirs, pipes and pumps that deliver water from the mountains. The total: $161 million...

No one knows how much water rates will go up to deal with the aging system and to close the gap created by lower customer usage and fewer new customers. But rates are expected to rise by 126 percent by 2015, due largely to the Southern Delivery System, the $1 billion pipeline project from Pueblo Reservoir slated to begin construction next year. It's unclear how much of the work needed on the existing system is figured into that rate plan, but none of the shortfall is included - yet. The overview of the city's water system is the first comprehensive look at the system in recent memory, if ever...

As for this year's budget shortfall, some council members expressed concern Utilities failed to foresee the drop in housing starts, which accounts for $23.5 million of the $33 million shortfall. New construction hookups in past years have comprised 28 percent of water revenues but this year represent only 10 percent. The money comes from charges to hook up to the city's system, which vary from $5,400 for a home to $450,000 for a six-inch line for residential or non-residential use. Utilities only recently revised its prediction from 2,100 single-family equivalent hookups this year to 1,700.

Category: Colorado Water
8:12:58 AM    

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Glenwood Springs' whitewater park is becoming a popular site for kayakers, according to The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. From the article: "A whitewater park that has opened on the Colorado River in west Glenwood Springs is winning rave reviews for its waves. One pleasant surprise for the park's planners and the people who frequent the site is the kind of kayaking fun it is producing even during spring runoff. 'We thought it was going to wash out more at high water, but it's still cranking waves,' said Joe Molllica, a Glenwood Springs resident who led the effort to put in the whitewater park, which opened earlier this year."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
8:06:21 AM    

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From The Aspen Times: "For the first time in four years, hefty rainbows and cutthroats from the Crystal Fish Hatchery near Carbondale are boosting trout waters throughout Colorado. In spring 2004, the state Division of Wildlife (DOW) hatchery was yanked as a supplier of fish to waters with natural trout populations after two trout collected in a routine sample at the hatchery tested positive for whirling disease. After a multiyear effort to eliminate the source of the disease in the spring-fed hatchery and monitor its fish population for a reoccurrence, the DOW declared the facility disease-free late last fall."

Category: Colorado Water
7:58:08 AM    

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