Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

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

Although not entirely unanimous, a vote by the Rio Grande Roundtable on Tuesday forwarded a $1.5 million request to the state for funding of the Rio Grande Initiative, a project to preserve riparian areas along the Rio Grande through conservation easements...

In a unanimous vote during the Tuesday meeting the roundtable members also voted to forward a $104,000 request from the Alamosa River Watershed Restoration Foundation for state funding to help restore a portion of the Alamosa River channel that was altered from its natural alignment through an Army Corps of Engineers project in the 1970's. The projects passed by the roundtable on Tuesday will now go to the Colorado Water Conservation Board for review and action...

Rio de la Vista presented the Rio Grande Initiative request spearheaded by the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust and San Luis Valley Wetlands Focus Area Committee. She said the initiative seeks to preserve through voluntary conservation easements about 25,000 acres of privately owned land along the Rio Grande. De la Vista said the goal of the Rio Grande Initiative is to put together a project ultimately totaling more than $20 million. She said the easements would be totally voluntary. "Willing buyer, willing seller is a very attractive way to let people make their own choices," she said. De la Vista added that this project was important to the entire Rio Grande Basin and administration of the Rio Grande Compact. She said the project is important in protecting agriculture, wildlife habitat and the Valley's water sustainability...

Tawney Becker representing the SLV Resource Conservation & Development organization and Alan Miller representing the Alamosa River Watershed Restoration Foundation presented the Alamosa River request to the roundtable group. Becker said this project would contribute to the recharging of the aquifer and sustainability of the water system. Miller said this project would restore 2.8 miles of the Alamosa River from County Road 8 to County Road 10 near Capulin in Conejos County. The $104,000 will be matched with other funding sources for a total project cost of more than $1 million. Miller explained the project would reestablish natural meanders in the river that were removed during the Corps of Engineers project, stabilize riverbanks, reestablish vegetation, remove sediment that has built up in the riverbed due to erosion of the channel and enable the river to more efficiently deliver water to water users.

Thanks to SLV Dweller for the link.

Category: Colorado Water

6:53:09 PM    

The Gavel: "With the death of Lady Bird Johnson, Texas has lost one of its favorite daughters, and our nation has lost one of its finest first ladies. Lady Bird Johnson was one of our nation's greatest, and first, environmentalists - decades ahead of her time. She understood that beautifying the nation was about more than simple aesthetics, but also quality of life - in both urban and rural areas, and for both the rich and the poor."

6:37:44 PM    

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Governor Ritter has named the new members of the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission, according to The Denver Business Journal. From the article:

Gov. Bill Ritter on Thursday named five new members to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the state's top regulatory agency for an industry that generates nearly $23 billion in economic impact...

In addition to adding the heads of the state Department of Natural Resources, Harris Sherman, and the Department of Public Health and Environment, Jim Martin, the bill required one member be from local government, one from environmental or wildlife protection groups, one with expertise in soil conservation or reclamation issues, and one a farmer or rancher who also holds mineral royalties. The bill also says the commission can restrict oil and gas production to protect the environment and the wildlife -- in addition to its prior commitment to protecting the public's health, safety and welfare.

In addition to Martin, Sherman and current Commissioner Kimberlee Gerhardt of Durango, Ritter on Thursday appointed:

--Joshua B. Epel of Greenwood Village, assistant general counsel for DCP Midstream Partners LP (NYSE: DPM). He helped author the Colorado Voluntary Cleanup Act and the Colorado Air Pollution Prevention and Control Act. He has served on the Regional Air Quality Council and the Steering Committee for the Grand Canyon Visibility Transport Commission.

-- Tresi B. Houpt of Glenwood Springs, Garfield County commissioner. She was elected to the Board of Commissioners in 2002 and re-elected in 2006. She chairs Colorado Counties Inc.'s Land Use and Natural Resources Committee and is a member of the National Association of Counties Environment, Energy and Land Use Committee.

-- Michael P. Dowling of Denver, founder and principal of Western Ranchland Investors, and founder and president of the Dowling Foundation. Prior to that, he held in-house and management consulting positions with General Atlantic Resources Inc. of Denver and McKinsey & Co. of New York. He is a founding member and current chairman of the Colorado Conservation Trust.

-- Richard D. Alward of Grand Junction, an ecologist and owner of Aridlands Natural Resources Consulting of Grand Junction. As an independent environmental consultant, he provides information to federal land agencies so they can assess the potential impacts of gas, coal and uranium development on western Colorado ecosystems. He is an adjunct instructor of environmental science at Mesa State College and previously has worked as an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

-- Thomas L. Compton of Hesperus, owner and manager of the Compton Cattle Co. commercial beef cattle enterprise. He is vice president of the Colorado Rural Electric Association board of directors and served on the Governor's Task Force on Colorado Roadless Areas.

Their terms are for four years and their nominations require Senate confirmation.

Category: Colorado Water

6:03:30 PM    

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The second meeting of Governor Ritter's South Platte River Basin Task Force will be next Monday, according to The Greeley Tribune (free registration required). From the article:

The second meeting of the South Platte River Basin Task Force, appointed by Gov. Bill Ritter to seek possible solutions for the water users in the northeast Colorado basin, will be held Monday at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, according to a prepared release. The forum will be held at the Dorothy Corsberg Theater; the meeting will be devoted to public comments to be taken from 10 a.m. and noon and from 1-3 p.m. To sign up to speak either as a representative or an individual prior to the meeting, please contact Russ Zigler at (303) 866-3556 or email him at before noon on Friday.

Category: Colorado Water

6:44:27 AM    

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Here's a recap of yesterday's re-dedication of Elkhead Reservoir from The Craig Daily Press. From the article:

State and federal officials mingled with the crowd as the Yampa Valley Boys softly sang about cool, clear water during Wednesday evening's Elkhead dam and reservoir dedication. About 200 people, from ranchers to residents, gathered at the lake's west boat ramp parking lot to acknowledge the completion of a $31 million project that doubled the size of the reservoir in about 2 1/2 years. During that time, the reservoir had been closed. It reopened earlier in the summer, and Wednesday marked the official dedication. "This is great," said Bill Trampe, board president of the Colorado River District. "It shows the amount of effort and thought that went into this project. We've got recreational use, water for the endangered fish and water for the future growth of the Yampa Valley." Trampe credited the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program with contributing money to make the project possible. "It's always reason to celebrate when you open a dam," he said.

Harris Sherman, the Colo rado Department of Natural Resources director, said the project was an extraordinary collaboration between state, federal and local officials. "This project is so important," he said. "It provides necessary water to the city of Craig for future economic development, while supplying water for the Craig Station and for the endangered fish. It made water available to broaden the recreational facilities in the state of Colorado, and achieved a balance between the needs of the people and conservation."

Tom Iseman, Water Program manager with the Nature Conservancy, acknowledged the many groups and organizations that joined to complete the project. He discussed one fish the expanded reservoir could save from extinction. "The Colorado Pikeminnow can grow to a length of 6 feet and a weight of 80 pounds," he said. "But it can't survive the low-water levels in the river. This is a special project that marks a new era in the preservation of endangered fish."

6:33:50 AM    

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Here's Part V of the Denver Post's series detailing recreation possibilities in the South Platte River basin, focusing on Eldorado Canyon. From the article:

Flanked by the angular sandstone cliffs of the Fountain Formation - the same tilted, rust-hued stone found at the Flat Irons or Red Rocks Amphitheater - Eldorado Canyon State Park is a spectacular vertical landscape sliced by South Boulder Creek as it cascades from the Gross Reservoir spillway to its confluence with Boulder Creek and eventually the South Platte River on the high plains east of Boulder. Dragged upward along the fringe of the rising Rockies some 65 million years ago, the sandstone eroded under the onslaught of water, evolving into the stunning stone formations present today. In what might appear a logical step to contemporary Boulderites, a bold climbing community seemingly sprang from rock topography itself, coming to life with the 1956 "discovery" of the 700-foot Redgarden Wall and blossoming soon after Layton Kor's first ascent of the eight-pitch "Naked Edge" route in 1962. Kor's apprentice, Pat Ament, freed several of the canyon's most challenging routes in 1966. Since then, nearly 600 climbing routes have been sent in the mile-long chasm, establishing Eldorado Canyon State Park as one of Colorado's oldest technical climbing areas.

Category: Colorado Water

6:26:42 AM    

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