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

Project Healing Waters

Subscribe to "Coyote Gulch's 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.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A picture named arkansasriverbasin.jpg

The Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District scored $250,000 this week from the Colorado Water Conservation Board in conjunction with their role in helping set the states new surface irrigation rules, according to Chris Woodka writing in the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The Colorado Water Conservation Board this week awarded a $250,000 grant to the Lower Ark district to reduce the impacts to irrigators who have made improvements since 1999. The new state rules are attempting to address the possibility that improvements like sprinklers, drip irrigation and ditch lining will not reduce flows in the Arkansas River by increasing consumptive use. State Engineer Dick Wolfe wants to encourage efficiency in agriculture, but believes Kansas could raise the issue under the Arkansas River Compact. Colorado and Kansas wrapping up a 1986 Supreme Court case over compact violations caused by well pumping. The two states agreed to Colorado's consumptive use in 1999, raising concerns that farmers who have made surface improvements - primarily sprinkler systems fed by ponds - since then may be affecting consumptive use. Preliminary estimates by the Division of Water Resources show the damage so far is light, about 1,100 acre-feet per year, but could grow as more farmers install sprinklers or ditch companies seal ditches. During meetings this year, a committee formed by Wolfe has discussed possible solutions, including engineering for farmers or buying replacement water to meet the needs of those who installed systems before rules were drafted.

Lower Ark Chairman John Singletary Wednesday got consensus from the board to administer the grant, saying that it does not necessarily require the district support rules once they are proposed...

The new state rules would not apply to well systems, which are covered by 1996 well rules. They also would not cover efficiencies gained by irrigation scheduling, seed varieties or other non-structural means, since the compact covers only "works" that could potentially reduce flows to Kansas. The rules also provide general permits for some areas of the valley and exempt lands under the Trinidad Dam and Reservoir Project, which have covered Kansas concerns in a federal operating agreement. The latest draft of rules also exempts on-farm ditch lining and pipes. Wolfe wants to share a copy of the rules as now written with Kansas at next month's meeting of the Arkansas River Compact Administration. However, he will wait until next year to promulgate the rules. Once the rules are drafted, they are subject to action in Division 2 Water Court.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Category: Colorado Water
7:31:14 AM    

A picture named fountaincreekwatershed.jpg

Here's a look at plans for a park along Fountain Creek through East Pueblo, from Chris Woodka writing in the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

A park running from the confluence of Fountain Creek to Eighth Street could change attitudes from fear to hope for local residents, officials discussing the idea said Thursday. "As a nation, we're learning not to turn our backs on our waterways," City Council President Barb Vidmar told the East Side Neighborhood Association. "This is an idea that brings two parts of the city together."

The group was reviewing an evolving plan to develop the confluence park. It grew out of a joint effort by Colorado Springs Utilities and the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District to develop a Fountain Creek Corridor Master Plan in a two-year, $600,000 effort. After the presentation, most of the 20 members present indicated they favored the idea of the park. Already envisioned under the plan are an interpretive park at Pinon on land donated by the developers of Pueblo Springs Ranch and an "ecofitness center" south of Colorado Springs. The plan also calls for creating side detention areas and wetlands as well as reducing bank erosion all along the creek, said Carol Baker of Colorado Springs Utilities. The plan for a park on the confluence grew out of discussion between Councilman Larry Atencio and Jay Winner, general manager of the Lower Ark district...

The first group to review the concept was the Pueblo City Planning Department, which made suggestions that would tie the project into other city activities. Besides connecting with Runyon Lake, the new park also would abut an urban renewal zone planned along an area bounded by Ash and Eighth streets and Erie and Hudson avenues...

Vidmar said the project would be similar to the Confluence Park in Denver, which was developed at the confluence of the South Platte and Cherry Creek after the flood of 1965. Then, it was an open sewer. Today it houses Elitch's and some of the priciest real estate in downtown Denver...

Today, Fountain Creek has lower levels of E. coli than the South Platte at Confluence Park, but the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has not banned people from going into the water in the area, Baker said. At the same time, there are signs posted along Fountain Creek warning people to stay out of the water. There are studies to identify where E. coli in Fountain Creek is coming from - people, pets, livestock or wildlife - and deal with the sources, she said. Still, there have been no confirmed public outbreaks of E. coli from streams or lakes in Colorado since 1996, Baker said. Winner added that preliminary testing showed that streamside sediment collectors used to remove sediments also reduces the amount of E. coli. Another technique to clean water is to run it through the wetlands in the Fountain Creek plan.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
7:23:44 AM    

A picture named orchardmesa1911.jpg

From the Delta County Independent: "Grants from state agencies will pay $428,639 next year towards a $626,435 final cost figure on the town of Orchard City's now abandoned raw water reservoir storage project. The difference of $197,796 will be paid by the town from its water fund. That water fund payment, along with an estimated $1.2 million expenditure next year to fund an expansion of the water treatment plant, will leave the town's water fund with a projected balance of just over $200,000 at the end of next year. That figure is called 'dangerously low' in the town's proposed 2009 budget document. The town's water fund balance at the end of this year is projected to be $1.48 million. The town's budget shows that an additional $280,376 was spent on the reservoir project in 2007, and that $53,022 in grants were received that year -- a difference of $227,354 paid from town funds."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
7:14:44 AM    

A picture named beaverbwdrawing.jpg

From (Joseph Kirchmer): "Westminster City Council unanimously approved a plan Nov. 17 aimed at managing the city's booming beaver population. The city's parks and recreation staff recommended the plan to help deal with a dramatic increase in the beaver population along Big Dry Creek, a 12-mile corridor which runs from Standley Lake to 130th Avenue. The beavers have cut down a number of cottonwood trees in the area and their dams have caused flooding of trails in certain areas, said Richard Dahl, Westminster parks services manager."

Category: Colorado Water
7:07:05 AM    

A picture named glencanyondam030508.jpg

Here's a recap of the USGS shindig in Scottsdale this week, from the East Valley Tribune (Ari Cohn). We're hoping that attendees solved the water problems of the Southwestern U.S. From the article:

Scottsdale played host this week to a major symposium aimed at creating more flexible and detailed management plans for the Colorado River Basin, which supplies water to much of the Western United States, including Arizona. The goal of the symposium was to develop oversight plans for the basin that can be adapted based on new research and continuous monitoring, said Leslie Gordon, U.S. Geological Survey spokeswoman. Previously, the U.S. Department of the Interior developed static management plans based on finite studies, she said. Gordon said participants discussed drought and climate change, as well...

The event attracted about 300 scientists, policymakers, environmental managers and representatives of nongovernmental organizations. It was the first major formal event of its kind related to the basin, she said...

Major issues included determining how to balance power generation, water consumption and recreation with environmental protection. Other topics included studying fish populations, the effects of sedimentation on river channels and how to combat non-native species like the quagga mussel...

The symposium, at the Doubletree Paradise Valley Resort/Scottsdale, was an opportunity for scientists to get together with policymakers to see which management technologies have been effective throughout the basin, he said. "That hasn't been done in the past," [Jeff] Humphrey said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
7:03:15 AM    

A picture named coloradorivergranby.jpg

The Kremmling sent their comments on the proposed Windy Gap Firming Project to Reclamation on Wednesday, according to Katie Looby writing in the Sky-Hi Daily News. From the article:

The Kremmling Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation that lists the town's concerns with the Windy Gap Firming Project. Concerns expressed in the letter include:

- Reducing flows in July, August and September is unacceptable because flows are already too low and temperatures are too high. Low flows and high temperatures affect fish habitat, and fishing is an important economic generator in the community.

- Blue-green algae and aquatic plants are already growing, and an increase in temperature may boost their growth. Algal toxins could become a problem and need to be monitored.

- Reduced flushing flows can also exacerbate the problem.

- Water quality degradation could lead to treatment issues for communities. Small communities cannot afford increased water treatment costs.

- The town has a U.S. Geological Survey site near Kremmling in the Colorado River. Water quality needs to be monitored and if high values are detected the pumping may need to stop or water may need to be released from Windy Gap.

- Grand County's Stream Management Plan will help identify needs for healthy fish habitats and should be incorporated into the environmental impact statement.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:55:48 AM    

A picture named nisp2.jpg

The Denver Post (Monte Whaley) is running a short article about the EPA's comments on the proposed Northern Integrated Supply Project which includes Glade and Galeton reservoirs. From the article:

The EPA said the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) "will have substantial and unacceptable impacts to aquatic resources of national importance." The federal agency also said the NISP is not in compliance with Clean Water Act guidelines and asks the Army Corps of Engineers to hold off on issuing any permits allowing the project to move forward. The Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District is scheduled to build the project. District spokesman Brian Werner said the EPA's concerns are not a surprise and the district is working to fix the problems cited by the agency...

The letter is dated Oct. 16 and was sent to the Corps. But it was publicized Thursday by the Save the Poudre Coalition, a group opposing the NISP. Poudre Coalition spokesman Gary Wockner said he is heartened by the EPA's conclusion. "This basically means the EPA wants the Corps to stop this and look at other alternatives," Wockner said. The EPA is among thousands who have commented about the NISP for the draft Environmental Impact Statement, which is needed to determine if the project can go forward.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:48:31 AM    

A picture named watersprinkler.jpg

The Greeley Water and Sewer Board is joining Denver Water other large water providers on the Front Range by adopting a long range plan that sets specific goals for conservation, using rates and regulation to cut daily household use, according to the Greeley Tribune. From the article:

The Greeley Water and Sewer Board has approved a plan that projects a more than 8 percent reduction in Greeley's water demand during the next 20 years. Officials say the plan helps ensure that Greeley will have a healthy and sufficient water supply in the future and continues the city's 100-year history of water conservation. It outlines current programs that will save more than 3,000 acre-feet of water by 2030 through ongoing rebates, water-wise landscaping ordinances, system leakage reduction and regulatory measures, said Jon Monson, director of the water and sewer department...

Highlights of the new plan include:

- Exploring and implementing a new water budget rate structure that encourages conservation and could be among the first-of-its-kind in Colorado.

- Working with a real estate developer to develop a new "WaterSense" labeled sub-division, where an entire community would use water-wise technologies and methods and follow EPA WaterSense guidelines.

- Strengthening the city code to encourage water-wise landscaping.

- Implementing water-wise landscape incentives for property owners and developers.

- Working on changing landscape codes, new construction landscape requirements, analyzing lot sizes, and turf and landscape percentages of total lot size.

- Increasing the conservation budget 25 percent over five years, maintaining its status as one of the largest conservation programs in Colorado.

Category: Colorado Water
6:42:14 AM    

A picture named crestedbutte.jpg

Be sure to click through and read this update about the economic and environmental drivers around policy in Crested Butte, written by Mark Jaffe in the Denver Post.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:26:22 AM    

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2008 John Orr.
Last update: 12/10/08; 9:37:16 AM.
November 2008
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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
Oct   Dec