Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

Subscribe to "Colorado Water" in Radio UserLand.

Click to see the XML version of this web page.

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A picture named riogranderiver.jpg

Here's a recap of the Rio Grande Basin Roundtable meeting this week, from the Valley Courier. From the article:

Members of the Rio Grande Roundtable on Tuesday considered requests for $1,687,700 in projects to stabilize and protect the San Luis Valley's rivers. The group recommended for state approval an $83,700 funding request for a project on the Romero and Guadalupe ditches that will protect the town of Guadalupe from flooding and will assist the Conejos River in meeting its share of the Rio Grande Compact obligations. Two other projects will come back with full presentations next month. The larger of the two, a $1.5 million request from the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust, would help protect the Rio Grande through conservation easements. The third project is a request for $104,000 to help stabilize the Alamosa River.

Thanks to SLV Dweller for the link.

Category: Colorado Water

6:51:54 PM    

A picture named derrick.jpg

New West: "It's official, but it's no surprise. The Bureau of Land Management has approved opening up the vast Roan Plateau in western Colorado to natural gas drilling. Also no surprise, the decision delighted the energy industry, which has been eying a treasure trove of natural gas believed to lie below. No surprise either, that it disturbed environmentalists, several groups of outfitters and wildlife advocates and a number of local communities that wanted to see the flattop mountain preserved."

Category: 2008 Presidential Election

6:41:22 PM    

A picture named unionpark.jpg

Coyote Gulch loves the tenacity of Dave Miller. He was up in northeastern Colorado pitching the proposed Union Park Reservoir recently, according to the Brighton Standard Blade. From the article:

Miller, a retired Air Force colonel, is president of Natural Energy Resources Co. in Palmer Lake. He said millions of acre-feet of federally-owned water shares are available in Colorado with no immediate plans to utilize the water resource or energy which could be produced. Describing a single, high-altitude, pumped storage site that would be constructed in the Gunnison Basin, Miller said the project could "substantially increase the productivity of existing renewable energy and water resources throughout a five river-basin region." Optimistic but skeptical, the 40-plus farm families on hand for the meeting at the Double Tree Hotel listened intently to Miller as he described the Central Colorado Project...

Union Park would sit on a site within a 30-mile radius of five major river drainages. Miller said he didn't believe there was another major site in the world that could utilize five separate drainage basins for one water system. Expected to hold no less than 1.2 million acre-feet, the reservoir would easily be the largest body of water in the state. Miller said spring runoff surpluses occur the same time surplus energy is available, essentially free. By pumping during this low-peak energy period, the water could be moved to storage and then, when water was redistributed throughout the rest of the year, the reverse flow in the same pipeline infrastructure could be used to general peak-needs power. He anticipates private industry would fund the project because of the potential to generate peak power with a return 10 times what is generated by normal, lower-altitude reservoirs...

Rep. Kathleen Curry, District 61 in Gunnison, said she wished she could channel some of Miller's imagination and energy into something that could possibly work. "I'm sure what he didn't mention to the farmers along the South Platte was that he only has remnants of this project left to work with," Curry said. "He has taken his application to the water courts and has been denied and the supreme court returned his case to the water courts without action. He has no water rights," Curry said. "He has a lot of vision, but no water rights." Curry said his claimed Aspinall connection is a weak leak at best, using a footnote in a previous Supreme Court ruling which stated there could be 240,000 acre feet unaccounted for in the Aspinalll Unit. Curry explained that water is set aside to fill Lake Powell, which is Colorado's water bank in the event of a drought year and the Southwestern states put out a call for their allotted water as outlined in state compacts.

Category: Colorado Water

6:33:04 AM    

A picture named stormwateroutlet.jpg

Here's a recap of a seminar on storm water management from The Mountain Mail. Monday's seminar was thrown by the League of Women Voters AWARE project. From the article:

Reducing effects of new pavement and concrete on water quality was the topic of a seminar Monday attended by Salida Planner Dara MacDonald and three planning commission members. The seminar was part of a statewide educational campaign called AWARE Colorado, a segment of the League of Women's Voters Colorado Education Fund. It was sponsored by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Cynthia Peterson, AWARE program director, led the discussion, aimed at educating local officials about the impact development can have on water quality. Peterson focused on reducing the amount of impervious surfaces, such as pavement and concrete, in new developments. Minimizing impervious surfaces increases the likelihood for rain and irrigation water to filter into soil instead of running into streams, rivers and lakes...

She likened pavement and concrete to a "grey funnel" rather than the "green sponge" of uncovered earth. "With development, much more water runs off picking up pollutants along the way," she said before offering several strategies planners can employ when considering new developments. Although recognizing impervious surfaces are an inevitable part of development, Peterson's presentation aimed to show how planners and developers can work together to improve paved surfaces and reduce their effect on runoff and water quality. Homes should be clustered, Peterson said, to minimize pavement and concrete in a development. Impervious surfaces should be built with grass breaks instead of being continuous over a large surface area. These strategies can be negotiated through planned unit development regulations and overlay zoning...

Making narrower roads, smaller cul-de-sacs, shared driveways and better sidewalks would also improve community water quality, she said. Sidewalks and parking lots can be made with porous materials to reduce runoff and increase percolation into the ground. "All these strategies depend upon good design and good maintenance," she said. "If it's not done well, there will be problems." Landscaping is another area affecting percolation and runoff. Xeriscaping reduces watering, runoff and pollutants and trees help cool and slow water that does run off, she said. Some towns are experimenting with rooftop gardens to reduce impervious surfaces.

Category: Colorado Water

6:22:36 AM    

A picture named aurorareservoir.jpg

From, "Customers who conserved and a wet spring helped to increase amount of water at Aurora's reservoirs this year. At the end of May, the reservoirs were at 85 percent of capacity, officials said. Typically at the beginning of June, they are only about 66 percent full."

Category: Colorado Water

6:12:56 AM    

A picture named fibark.jpg

The annual FIBArk Festival starts today in Salida, according to the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Like the waves that crash over the boulders in the Arkansas River, the worldwide whitewater community washes over Salida each and every summer. The picturesque mountain community nestled alongside the Arkansas annually plays host to the FIBArk whitewater festival, one of the largest and most popular river boating events in the United States. Today through Sunday, FIBArk will take over Salida for the 59th time. FIBArk continues to evolve and expand, and now features much more than the crafts competing on the water. Approximately 30,000 people and 500 participants are expected to attend this year's edition...

The origin of FIBArk, which stands for "First in Boating the Arkansas," traces back to 1949 when, over coffee, a couple of river dogs placed a wager on who could boat a 56-mile stretch of the Arkansas in the quickest time. A small group entered the race that year, but only two Swiss boys were able to complete the monstrous length of the inaugural event. Today, FIBArk features five top-flight boating competitions in addition to other crowd-pleasing events on the river, non-boating sports contests and a host of cultural activities. The festival is full of free musical performances and is a food and drink bonanza...

World champions and Olympians claim center stage for the five major pro competitions on the water including the downriver race, freestyle competition, slalom, pro raft race and Pine Creek Boater-X. The downriver race is the signature event and the winner walks away as the king of FIBArk. Originally the mammoth 56-mile marathon, the downriver is now a 26-mile test of strength, endurance and technical skill that runs from Salida to Cotopaxi. It is still the longest river race in the country.

Freestyle, where kayakers surf a recirculating wave and perform tricks for a judged score, continues to grow in popularity every year. It is held in the Salida Whitewater Park, just off downtown, as is the slalom, where boaters navigate a series of gates in pursuit of the quickest time. The park also plays host to the wildly popular hooligan race, a comedic event where teams try to float non-boats down the river. The pro raft race rewards bragging rights to the outfitter that forms the winning team. Pine Creek Boater-X was added in 2005 and is becoming one of the most harrowing and popular events of FIBArk. Paddlers race down the treacherous Pine Creek Rapid, a Class V beast north of Buena Vista...

FIBArk is the headliner of big business in these parts. In May of 2005, Chaffee County Commissioner Jerry Mallett said that outdoor recreation brings $80 million to the local economy and more than 400,000 people. Considering that level of economic impact, water flows are a major concern, particularly to ensure the Arkansas has enough water during FIBArk to provide adequate boating conditions. In October, 2006, Water Division 2 Judge Dennis Maes signed a recreational in-channel diversion water right decree that guarantees at least 1,400 cubic feet per second on "event days," ensuring FIBArk will be awash in nature's most precious resource.

Category: Colorado Water

6:07:02 AM    

A picture named fountaincreek.jpg

Here's an opinion piece from the Colorado Springs Independent calling for Colorado Springs and Pueblo to bury the hatchet and learn to work together to solve the problems of the effects of growth on Fountain Creek. From the article:

Away from the angst, a task force is building relationships that could lead to more cooperation. That effort has made progress with basic ground rules, and both sides are treating each other with more respect. Yet in other gatherings, some on both ends aren't following those rules. It might be a serious mistake. Our unwillingness to understand Pueblo's point of view has led to court cases, and even dueling bills in Congress. The result is a stalemate. And if our leaders cannot work together, or even make it through a public forum without becoming arrogant and strident, stagnation will remain in force. Nobody seems to realize Colorado Springs could be in significant legal and political jeopardy. Pueblo has some powerful warriors, including U.S. Rep. John Salazar, District Attorney Bill Thiebaut (who spent 16 years in the Colorado Legislature), state Sen. Abel Tapia (chair of the Legislature's influential Joint Budget Committee), Pueblo County Commissioner Jeff Chostner and others. They're firing back now. They're expressing themselves convincingly in such settings as congressional hearings, courtrooms and public forums.

Meanwhile, Colorado Springs seems intent on treating Pueblo as a nuisance, a pest that won't go away. That's why, at a June 5 forum here, someone alleged Colorado Springs had lost its soul. Meanwhile, Pueblo is working to enhance its image, proudly using terms such as "renaissance" and "blue-collar version of Santa Fe." Colorado Springs must come to its senses, clean up its act (not just water, but its behavior) and consider solutions acceptable to all. We must talk about reusing more water, building a dam (or dams), possibly not using all the water we have rights to (saving for later) and turning Fountain Creek into the "crown jewel" that Sen. Ken Salazar and others propose...

We also must realize we can't simply overpower Pueblo. If we don't create an agreeable solution for moving water in and out of Colorado Springs, nothing will happen -- and the Springs will lose. Sallie Clark, one of the El Paso County commissioners helping develop a regional task force, recently condensed the controversy into one sentence. "We owe Pueblo a clean Fountain Creek," she said.

Category: Colorado Water

5:56:33 AM    

A picture named standuppaddling.jpg

Here's a short article about the relatively new sport for Colorado, Stand Up Paddling, from the Aspen Times (free registration required). They write:

Stand-up paddling on ocean waves has been around since the ancient Hawaiians used paddles to propel longboards onto low, rolling waves, but Charlie MacArthur, owner of the Aspen Kayak Academy, is bringing the technique to the river. And following MacArthur's lead Saturday, I hopped on an old windsurfer without the sail and, using a long river rafter's guide paddle, steered my way into the quirky new sport on the trickling flow of the Roaring Fork, east of Aspen. I love rivers and kayaking, and while my adventures in ocean surfing have been more about severe muscle strain, infected cuts from underwater reefs and paying surly surf shop owners for damaged rental boards, surfing on the river was a whole different animal...

Stand-up paddling follows the same principles as whitewater kayaking, and the moving current still makes all the rules. Peeling out of an eddy means leaning downriver, and navigating the current is more about core strength than burly paddle strokes. And, the best part was that riding the precarious board made the trickling class I flows of Stillwater come alive. Sure, I flopped off the side a few times, but, after just a few minutes, I began to appreciate the subtleties of the board, experimented with a sideways surfer stance versus squaring my feet forward, and developed yogi-like attention to balancing, using the feet and knees as I did recirculating moves from eddies to current to eddies...

MacArthur said he's taken his surfboard through the class III Shoshone section of the Colorado River and didn't get too banged up.

Category: Colorado Water

5:48:21 AM    

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2007 John Orr.
Last update: 6/30/07; 9:41:33 AM.
June 2007
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
May   Jul

e-mail John: Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.