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.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A picture named watercyclewikipedia.jpg

The NYT gets it right regarding the federal role in regulating streams and wetlands. They write:

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers have finally issued guidelines about which streams and wetlands are subject to federal jurisdiction. Unfortunately, they are just as confusing as the Supreme Court decision they are supposed to carry out -- guaranteeing endless litigation, while increasing the chances that valuable wetlands will be needlessly destroyed.

That is why Congress needs to move quickly to approve clarifying legislation that would reaffirm the broad federal protections lawmakers intended when they passed the Clean Water Act more than 30 years ago. The sponsors of a bill that would do just that -- Russell Feingold in the Senate and John Dingell and James Oberstar in the House -- should hold hearings and get Congress moving.

The nub of the problem is an ambiguous 2006 ruling involving a Michigan landowner who had been denied permission to develop wetlands that had no obvious connection to other bodies of water. Four conservative justices ruled that federal jurisdiction extended only to navigable waters and adjacent wetlands. Four ruled that the law covered all waters, the government's traditional view. Justice Anthony Kennedy sought to split the difference, ruling that a wetland could be protected if the government could establish a "significant nexus" between it and a navigable body of water somewhere downstream...

The bills in Congress would cut through all that and make sure that federal jurisdiction applied to all waters, large and small, permanent or ephemeral. This makes perfect hydrological sense: very few, if any bodies of water are truly isolated and nearly all have some biological connection to a larger ecosystem.

Category: Colorado Water

7:28:27 PM    

A picture named slvdischargerecharge.jpg

Retiring State Engineer Hal Simpson is encouraging participation in the new groundwater sub-districts being formed in the San Luis Valley with the passage of SB 07-220, according to the Valley Courier. From the article:

In one of his final official correspondences before retiring as state engineer for the Colorado Division of Water Resources, Hal Simpson urged participation in water management sub-districts as a means of reducing groundwater injury to senior surface water rights. He also recommended deadlines for those sub-districts to be in place in the San Luis Valley before the state might start shutting wells down. In a May 30 letter responding to water attorney Timothy Buchanan's request that Simpson administer well water, Simpson repeated a belief he has maintained since the inception of the groundwater management sub-districts that he would like to give the sub-districts a chance to prove themselves before instituting state rules that would shut down wells throughout the Valley.

Thanks to SLV Dweller for the link. More Coyote Gulch coverage of SB 07-220 here.

Category: Colorado Water

7:05:04 AM    

A picture named cutthroat.jpg

Here's a recap of last week's Colorado Trout Unlimited Conservation and Fly Fishing Camp, from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. From the article:

This year's camp wrapped up Friday after introducing the participants to assorted aspects of coldwater conservation, including stream hydrology and monitoring, riparian environments and, of course, fly fishing and the role Trout Unlimited has played as a leader in coldwater conservation for more than six decades. "We wouldn't have the coldwater fisheries we have today if it wasn't for TU," said camp director and head volunteer (all the coaches and mentors were volunteers) Larry Quilling. "Fly fishers have always taken the lead in conservation efforts and we think the key to future conservation is to reach youngsters such as these." Twenty-one students from Colorado, Maine and Texas were selected for this year's camp and 18, including Daniel Creek of Grand Junction and Cody Krabbe of Palisade, spent the week combining conservation-themed projects and a bit of fly fishing.

Category: Colorado Water

6:14:10 AM    

A picture named watertreatment.jpg

Palisade has a shiny new treatment plant, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. From the article:

In 2004 the Colorado Department of Health and Environment forced the Town of Palisade to shut down its water treatment plant and begin using Ute Water because the town's plant was not meeting minimum levels of clarity. Now, three years and $6 million later, the town has a new water treatment plant. Fed by Rapid and Cotton Wood creeks and an underground spring, the plant produces an average of 610,000 gallons a day for the town's population of nearly 3,000 people. Although it began operations May 30, town officials chose Tuesday for a dedication ceremony...

The plant is equipped with the latest in water treatment technology, Watt said. Filters are able to sift out any parasites that can cause digestive problems. The plant is able to produce its own bleach, which is added to water in miniscule amounts, through a process that combines water, salt and electricity. And the process is much safer than old technology that relies on chlorine gas, Watt said. "We are using a very high level of technology in the filtration system," Watt said.

Category: Colorado Water

6:06:40 AM    

A picture named lowerarkansasriver.jpg

Hopes for the Arkansas Valley Conduit received a boost this week as U.S. Senator Wayne Allard secured some $600,000 in planning dough for the project, according to the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

"The Arkansas Valley Conduit represents a vital component of improving the water quality and quality of life in the Arkansas River Valley," Allard said. "I am pleased that my seat on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee puts me in a position to secure this important funding for our state." The $330 million conduit would provide clean drinking water for up to 42 Arkansas Valley communities east of Pueblo. The conduit would begin at Pueblo Dam and flow by gravity to St. Charles Mesa along the Bessemer Ditch right of way. From there, it would continue to Lamar, serving communities in Crowley, Otero, Bent and Prowers counties. A spur to Eads also is part of the plan. The full Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to approve the funding bill on Thursday. The bill then must be approved by the full Senate and a conference committee will look at similar legislation from the House...

Last year, U.S. Reps. John Salazar, D-Colo., and Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., who represent the conduit communities, backed $675,000 in conduit funding in the appropriations bill and are expected to offer similar support this year, Broderick said. The actual amount in the final bill will depend on the conference committee.

More coverage from the Colorado Springs Gazette. They write:

The Arkansas Valley Conduit is crucial because towns and districts on the lower Arkansas River are having trouble meeting federal drinking water standards. "The conduit is essential to the survival of the Arkansas Valley," said Jay Winner, manager of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, which serves water users in Bent, Crowley, Otero, Prowers and Pueblo counties. "Right now, most of them are getting letters from EPA saying they must clean up their water," he said. "They will be out of compliance in the very, very near future." A bill introduced in 2005 and still pending in Congress would fund 80 percent of the cost, or about $240 million. The other $60 million would come from a Colorado Water Conservation Board loan. The 41 districts, towns and cities have agreed to repay the loan through the Southeastern Water Conservancy District, a nine-county entity that partially funded construction of the Fryingpan-Arkansas project, including Pueblo Reservoir, in the 1960s...

El Paso County is part of the conservancy district but wouldn't benefit from the project, so it won't pay. The loan lapses June 30, 2009, if the rest of the money can't be secured, Serlet said...

Doug Montgomery, Lamar's water resources manager, hopes the federal share is funded so the seven to 10-year project can get under way. "The water quality in the Lower Arkansas Valley has deteriorated through the years, and EPA standards on drinking water are getting more and more strict," he said. "The cities down here are having a harder time keeping up with the EPA standard." That's because of several factors, said Paul Fanning, public affairs coordinator with Pueblo Board of Water Works, including degradation from treatment by cities, urban stormwater runoff, soils that release minerals and agricultural chemicals. Lamar, a town of 8,500 near the Kansas border, hasn't yet had to use special treatment processes. La Junta and Las Animas use reverse osmosis, a costly approach, Winner said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

5:54:30 AM    

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2007 John Orr.
Last update: 6/30/07; 9:42:47 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.