Coyote Gulch's Colorado Water
The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land. -- Luna Leopold

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Friday, September 7, 2007

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The GAO delivered a report on climate change on Thursday according to Reuters. From the article:

More beetles and fewer spruce trees in Alaska, whiter coral and fewer scuba-divers in Florida and more wildfires in Arizona already show the impact of climate change on U.S. lands and waters, a congressional watchdog agency reported on Thursday. But the federal agencies that manage over 600 million acres of federal land -- nearly 30 percent of the land area of the United States -- and more than 150,000 square miles of protected waters have little guidance on how to deal with the effects of global warming, the Government Accountability Office said...

"Undertaking activities that address the effects of climate change is currently not a priority" for the five U.S. agencies that manage this territory, the report by the nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress said. These agencies are the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Interior Department, which includes three of the five agencies, ordered them in 2001 to analyze potential climate change effects on U.S.-managed lands, but has not yet provided direction to managers on how to plan for climate change, the report said. Resource managers at the other two agencies echoed that sentiment, according to the report...

The Agriculture, Commerce and Interior departments all generally agreed with the report's recommendation to develop clear plans for resource managers at the five agencies, the report said.

Category: 2008 Presidential Election

7:00:31 AM    

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Colorado Springs Utilities has hired a director for the Southern Delivery System, according to The Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:

With permitting of its pipeline project at least a year away, Colorado Springs Utilities hired a Southern Delivery System project director to begin implementing the plan. John Fredell, deputy city attorney for Utilities, will become director Sunday and oversee up to 10 people to be hired as Utilities looks to cut 200 other jobs...

McCormick said Fredell will oversee the consultant and direct employees with expertise in environmental issues, design and construction. Fredell's team members will be new hires, McCormick said. Utilities' plan to cut 200 jobs in the coming four years to curtail costs is a separate program, he said...

Fredell, who's been with Utilities since 1993, was hired after a national search drew 70 applicants, including seven internal candidates. The selection panel consisted of McCormick, another officer, water manager Gary Bostrom, and a manager from another Utilities division. Fredell worked with McCormick and officer Kelly Means for months on pipeline strategies, for which Utilities Chief Executive Jerry Forte gave each a $2,500 bonus in June. Fredell has received three previous cash bonuses for his work, in 1999, 2000 and 2002, totaling $6,383. Fredell's salary as project director will be $144,352; he's now paid $120,616.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

6:52:31 AM    

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Here's a report on rainfall and reservoir storage up in northeastern Colorado from The Sterling Journal Advocate. From the article:

During August, rainfall around Sterling averaged 2.39 inches, somewhat more than the 30-year average of 1.74 inches. Crook reported a total of 2.55 inches for August, and 15 miles southeast of Sterling received 2.69 inches. In many locations, much of this rain fell in two or three major downpours. In July, the eastern part of Logan County received the most rainfall. But in August, the opposite was true. The far western part of Logan County, west of Willard and also near County Road 9 in the Chimney Canyon area, experienced a deluge during the first week of August. Some county roads flooded and fences were washed out. Pastures across that area, which had been among the driest in the county, have since greened up considerably. But those heavy rains did not extend very far eastward into the county, leaving a drier area west of Sterling. Fifteen miles northwest of Sterling, 1.71 inches was reported for the entire month, almost exactly the same as the 30-year average. As for the yearly average, Sterling now stands at 14.54 inches, which is 2.11 inches higher than the average of 12.43...

Among northeast Colorado reservoirs, water in the North Sterling Reservoir was drawn down considerably during August, though not quite as much as it had been in July. At the beginning of August, the North Sterling was 56 percent full. By the end of the month, half of that was gone, with stored water down to 28 percent of capacity. In contrast, Jumbo Reservoir was 65 percent full at the beginning of August, and down just 14 percent by the end of the month, still holding 51 percent. And Prewitt Reservoir started the month at 66 percent full. By the end of August, it had dropped only 5 percent, and was 61 percent full. Some of the Prewitt water is stored for release later as well augmentation.

Category: Colorado Water

6:45:16 AM    

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The town of Telluride it looking to implement flood controls on Cornet Creek in the wake of this summer's flash flooding, according to The Telluride Watch. From the article:

After a site walk Tuesday of the areas impacted by this summer's flash flood of Cornet Creek, members of the town council were in no mood to wait for a consultant's report due in October with recommendations on how to improve drainage for that precarious corner of town...

"We need clear bridges, clear culverts and a properly deep channel," said Kiernan, who last week convinced the council to conduct this week's site walk. "I don't think that this is something that should wait as we go through the budget process. It needs to be done now." This summer the town's public works department initiated a $60,000 study of the Cornet Creek flood plain. The work is being done by Musseter Engineering of Ft. Collins, which specializes in "water resources engineering, fluvial geomorphology, engineering geomorphology, and environmental hydraulics." But even though the activity along the creek in July served as a real life laboratory providing evidence for a century-old problem area to anyone who lives here, it's uncertain how the pending report will address the situations presented this summer...

Cornet Creek has been a historic problem spot for Telluride at least since 1914, when a spring storm turned the usually gentle creek into a torrent of mud and rocks. As it swept through town, five feet of mud came down from the Liberty Bell Mine to pretty much wherever it wanted to go on Colorado Avenue. The historic record is that one woman was killed and the Sheridan Bar was filled with mud half-way to its ceiling. With this July's flooding considered to be a minor event, historically speaking, residents, elected officials and town staff spoke about what to do to mitigate the impacts of a far heavier storm.

Category: Colorado Water

6:39:31 AM    

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Here's an update on the recommendations from Governor Ritter's South Platte River Basin Task Force, from The Rocky Mountain News. From the article:

New tools for monitoring the South Platte River, spot markets for trading extra water quickly and more opportunities to bank water are among the recommendations a river task force will make at the end of September. But the group, charged with finding ways to manage the river so that surface water users and well owners can co-exist, stopped short of recommending farmers be allowed to restart irrigation wells shut down by the state. It also did not recommend giving the state's top water regulator more flexiblity in managing the war-torn river...

The 23-member panel, named by Gov. Bill Ritter in June, finished its work Thursday after more than seven hours of hearings...

Water recommendations: Provide more funding for new computer models to help monitor and predict how irrigation wells and the aquifer interact with the river; Overhaul the state's water court system, which often requires years and tens of thousands of dollars to get plans approved; Expand programs that pay farmers to voluntarily dry up land to reduce water use. Fund program via taxes farmers impose on themselves; Create a spot market so that when extra water is in the system, it can be sold to farmers who need it quickly, without lengthy reviews.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

6:26:46 AM    

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