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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Sunday, December 28, 2008

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Say hello to Deserai Anderson Crow. Her weblog says that she's an, "Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Associate Director Center for Environmental Journalism University of Colorado."

From a recent post about President Bush's policies:

He couldn't stop at gutting agency funding and morale in the environmental and natural resource protection agencies...he is now trying to make his tragic environmental legacy even more powerful. Through midnight regulations Bush is attempting to dismantle the Endangered Species Act by removing requirements for federal agencies to conduct independent studies before proceeding with federal projects that may result in species take. Good ol' Dick Kempthorne (Secretary of the Interior) said that this will not have any deleterious effects.

Category: Colorado Water
2:21:46 PM    

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From the Mineral County Miner: "Small-scale electric solar power is providing the Colorado Division of Wildlife a unique tool for a variety of wildlife management tasks."

More from the article:

In southwest Colorado, two water aeration systems powered by photovoltaic panels are helping to keep trout alive at a reservoir. At other isolated locations, solar facilities are being used to operate well pumps to provide water for species of concern. By using photovoltaic solar panels the DOW can deliver power to remote areas where electricity is unavailable or very expensive. At Road Canyon Reservoir in eastern Hinsdale County, two aeration systems powered by photovoltaic panels were installed in mid-November. The reservoir is quite shallow and can become stagnant after water stops flowing into the impoundment in the fall. When oxygen runs low, the fish in the reservoir die...

The equipment and installation cost $80,800. The grant from the federal government totaled $57,000, and Mineral County matched it with $23,800. The two floating solar-powered machines can move 10,000 gallons of water per minute, explained Brent Woodward, district wildlife manager in the Creede area. "Theses pumps do a much better job of aeration than the old pump and they don't need power from the electric grid," Woodward said.

Here's a link to some background information about Solar-Powered Dugout Aeration from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada From the website: "Why aerate? Aeration improves water quality."

Category: Colorado Water
9:49:03 AM    

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Below is the release for DARCA's 7th Annual Convention. Two days of workshops around the topics of ag to urban water transfers and water law -- sounds like a hoot. Here's the link for registration.

DARCA will be hosting its 7th Annual Convention February 18-20, 2009 in Pueblo, Colorado at the Pueblo Convention Center. The convention - Ag to Urban Transfers of Water: Can Ditch Companies Come Out Ahead? - will deal with the pressures facing ditch companies and water owners. There are timely and innovative developments in the state in this area and the conference will feature this work including strategies and alternatives to buy and dry arrangements. The convention will provide a wealth of information relevant to Colorado's water providers on the innovative developments in the state regarding ag to urban transfers of water.

Don Ament, Former Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture, will be the keynote speaker on the first day of the convention. During the two-day conference, a wide variety of speakers will discuss transfer mechanisms for alternatives to buy-and-dry including the on-going efforts of the Super Ditch in the Arkansas Valley. Farmers, ranchers, agricultural groups, engineers, lawyers, and municipalities will present their views on this timely subject.

On the second day, Justice Greg Hobbs of the Colorado Supreme Court will deliver his presentation on How Drought Has Shaped Colorado Water Law.

Additionally, the pre-convention workshop, Owners' Guide to Dam Safety, Operation, and Maintenance will be offered on Wednesday, Feb 18, also at the Pueblo Convention Center.

DARCA has really appreciated the support from our sponsors and exhibitors at past conventions. If you are interested in sponsoring or exhibiting, please call the DARCA office to discuss your options. You may download the sponsorship and exhibitor forms.

Category: Colorado Water
9:06:27 AM    

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Pueblo County Commissioners should get an earful tomorrow night when they are scheduled to hear rebuttals to recent public comments, along with recommendations from county staff, pertaining to Colorado Springs' proposed Southern Delivery System. Here's a report from Chris Woodka writing in the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The public hearing on SDS - a $1.1 billion pipeline project proposed by Colorado Springs, Fountain, Security and Pueblo West - will continue at 6 p.m. Monday at the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center, 210 N. Santa Fe Ave. Commissioners and county staff will have the opportunity to question Colorado Springs and its SDS partners on information in a rebuttal provided to the county last week.

In the rebuttal, Colorado Springs takes issue with comments made during a public hearing on Dec. 11, as well as some of the findings of county staff included in a Dec. 3 appraisal of the SDS application. Colorado Springs Utilities indicated in the rebuttal that it is willing to provide mitigation in several areas where it believes SDS will have an adverse impact. However, the city does not agree that all future impacts on water quality in Fountain Creek or the Arkansas River can be attributed solely to SDS. The pipeline would cross about 14 miles of Pueblo County through Pueblo West and Walker Ranches, and would increase return flows through exchanges on Fountain Creek...

Commission Chairman Anthony Nunez instructed county staff to begin negotiating specific mitigation with Colorado Springs and its SDS partners, but proposals aren't likely to be heard until mid-January. Commissioners are also considering a request to allow public comment after recommendations are made. If commissioners approve the SDS permit, with whatever conditions are attached, the Colorado Springs City Council, which also serves as the utility board, would also have to approve the conditions.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here, here and here.

Category: Colorado Water
7:25:40 AM    

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Here's a retrospective on outgoing Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Robert Johnson, from Henry Bean writing in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. From the article:

Robert Johnson was shaped by Reclamation before he even knew what it was. The Lovelock native grew up on an alfalfa farm and cattle ranch in Pershing County, a few miles from the Humboldt River in Northern Nevada. To irrigate their 640-acre spread, his parents used water diverted from the Humboldt at Rye Patch Dam, a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation project built in 1936. Like any farmer, Johnson's father often talked about water, especially when it came to upstream users who took more than their share. But Johnson never gave much thought to the way it all worked or to the federal agency that made it possible. "Interestingly, as a kid growing up I didn't know what the Bureau of Reclamation was," Johnson said. "When they offered me a job, I had to run to the library and look the Bureau of Reclamation up."

More than three decades later, Johnson is retiring as commissioner of the bureau, a top post that required a presidential appointment and Senate confirmation. His last day is Jan. 2.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
7:11:47 AM    

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It seems to us that President-elect Obama's nomination has led to many -- from environmentalists to oil and gas exectutives -- to take a wait and see attitude, sort of an environmental and regulatory adjunct to President Reagan's (and others, notably Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, builder of the Soviet Secret Police), "Trust but verify."

Here's a column making the point from, Anne Butterfield writing in the Boulder Daily Camera. Here's an excerpt:

As our new Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar will take a job that will test his fiber. He loves the Rockies and has protected Colorado's Roan Plateau from drilling. As a top water law expert, he has protected our state's water rights. Many champion his ability to protect our nation's resources which have been battered and insulted by the Bush Administration's campaign on behalf of industry.

However, Salazar does not have a spotless record. Along with voting against higher fuel efficiency for vehicles, he was also one of a handful of Democrats to vote against a bill that would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to consider global warming when planning water projects -- two very weird votes in light of important threats.

We've written elsewhere that Salazar will not rope in all development in the name of the environment, nor will he back down to idealogues either. He will try to weigh the science and economic benefits before choosing a course.

Here's another column about Salazar from Dave Buchanan writing in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Mr Buchanan believes that hunters and fisherman will now have a sympathetic leader at Interior. He writes:

The best present outdoors enthusiasts received this Christmas was Ken Salazar's nomination for secretary of the interior. While no one expects Salazar to please every critic, and there already are some people complaining that President-elect Barack Obama's choice for Interior won't be tough enough, it's safe to say whatever Salazar accomplishes will be an immense improvement over the past eight years, which the Bush administration spent despoiling our natural resources.

From the view of a hunter, angler and wildlife enthusiast, it's difficult to find any cabinet post more critical to Colorado and the West than the Interior Department. If he's approved, the 53-year-old Alamosa native (his Colorado roots go back five generations) will be handed the reins to the wagon train encircling nearly every aspect of Colorado's environment and economy...

Salazar's knowledge of western issues, including such diverse issues as endangered species, grazing, energy development and off-road vehicle use, and the fact he's a conscientious centrist, has gained him praise from many corners, including those more interested in extraction than protection. Call it whistling in the dark if you like, but even the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States, which hasn't always agreed with my stance on the helter-skelter nature of energy development across Western public lands, has indicated approval of Salazar's nomination, albeit for different reasons. "Senator Salazar will provide a strong Western voice and will play a pivotal role in meeting the emissions and increasing energy security," said IPAMS Executive Director Marc Smith. Smith goes on to say "there is a strong rationale for a consistent and responsible development on federal lands in the Intermountain West."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:52:27 AM    

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Glenwood Springs' new whitewater park opened last spring and is getting rave reviews from users. Here's a report from Dale Shrull writing in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. From the article:

The new whitewater park's popularity swept through Glenwood Springs like a tidal wave. It engulfed whitewater enthusiasts and spectators alike. During the high water of spring, the park in West Glenwood Springs was packed with kayakers and surfers, and spectators lined the banks of the Colorado River watching this new attraction. The rave reviews of the park started immediately. Users came from around the state to check out the new whitewater wave, some calling it the best they've ever used...

The park's buzz started early and continued to swell, it was even featured in National Geographic Adventure magazine. Then in June, it was announced that the park will host the 2009 U.S. Kayak Freestyle Team Trials in May.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:27:21 AM    

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Here's a look at Colorado's expected continued unbridled growth and the problem of watering all the new Coloradans while keeping state agriculture viable and at the same time supplying water for oil shale, oil and gas, recreation and riparian health, from Richard Stacy writing in the Denver Post. Great challenges all. From the opinion piece:

The increased population translates into a total increased annual demand of about 630,000 acre-feet, 450,000 of which will be needed for the Front Range. To put that in perspective, Dillon Reservoir holds only 254,036 acre-feet. We need to find a lot of extra water somewhere. We live in a semi-arid region and water is already in short supply. There is precious little water in the Colorado River Basin left to be used by Coloradans. According to Del Smith of the Bureau of Reclamation, the Upper Basin states of Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah are entitled to about 7.5 million acre-feet per year. Colorado is entitled to about 3 million acre-feet and we are using around 2.8 million per year now. In other words, we are already near the limit.

Eighty percent of the state's water is on the Western Slope, while roughly 80 percent of the population lives along the Front Range. That's why almost all of the great trans-basin diversion projects in Colorado take water from the West across the continental divide to the Front Range. There has long been talk of additional trans-basin diversions, but there are three negative factors to consider: As pointed out above, there is little water in the Colorado River Basin left to divert; Residents of the Western Slope are understandably quite nervous about making more of their water available to the Front Range; Such projects are extremely expensive.

The two largest of the 24 existing trans-mountain diversions, the Adams Tunnel and the Moffat Tunnel combined, divert only 362,000 acre-feet. Even if the water could be found, it would take at least three very large tunnels to accomplish the desired result...

... it is likely that most of us will have to get used to the idea of significant lifestyle changes: fewer golf courses, parks and greenways, for example, along with more desert landscaping instead of lawns, and recycling waste water for domestic use...

We have to face up to the fact that we are virtually out of water, and a huge increase in demand is right around the corner. The same is true in most of the other states in the Colorado River Basin. Eventually, it would seem that, regardless of cost, we will have to consider pumping water from the Mississippi and Columbia River systems, where it exists in abundance, to the arid lands, where it is needed. If so, these would be among the biggest engineering projects ever attempted by man. They will provide jobs and prosperity, but they will have a huge price tag.

Category: Colorado Water
6:19:42 AM    

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