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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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan: "The Larimer County commissioners approved amendments to the county land-use code spelling out where cemeteries, funeral homes and crematoriums would be allowed in unincorporated areas of the county. But they declined to prohibit crematoriums from being included in cemeteries and funeral homes. Residents had hoped to limit crematoriums to commercial and industrial areas through the land-use code...

"The debate over crematoriums began more than a year ago when Allnutt Funeral Services proposed building a crematorium in Resthaven Memorial Gardens, which sits along U.S. Highway 287 between Fort Collins and Loveland. Neighbors of the cemetery objected to the proposed crematorium, citing concerns about mercury emissions and their potentially harmful health impacts. The commissioners turned down the Resthaven crematorium."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:19:05 PM    

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From the Montrose Daily Press (Kati O'Hare): "At Mesa Lakes on the Grand Mesa, snowpack is at 106 percent of normal (30-year average for the state). Last year, snowpack at this time on the mesa was at 114 percent of normal. Vail Mountain is at 123 percent of normal, compared to last year's 117 percent of normal. Ramey said that the San Juan Mountains did well through December. However, the area has 'dried out considerably' in January. Red Mountain's snowpack is at 129 percent of normal, compared to last year's 157 percent. Ramey said that the patterns are favoring the Park Range near Steamboat Springs, dumping a considerable amount of snow in that area."

Category: Colorado Water
6:07:33 PM    

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From The Mountain Mail: "A $360,000 grant for infrastructure development in connection with development of Friend Ranch was announced by Poncha Springs Trustees during their meeting Monday. The Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant uses proceeds from federal mineral leases. Poncha Springs will use the money for expansion of the reservoir, enlarging the water tank and an off-site water main which will eventually serve the town."

Category: Colorado Water
5:40:10 PM    

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From the Detroit Free Press: "Replacing thousands of miles of old, rusting and leaking pipelines -- sometimes 100 years old -- is essentially a local and state issue. But cumulatively, it is a serious national problem, requiring major investment, planning and construction on a national scale. Clean water is essential to our lives. Ensuring its future availability should be a priority for the new head of Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Daschle, and the heads of Department of Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency.

So far, we have been lucky. But a recent outbreak of [salmonella] in Colorado is a reminder that even in states with the most impeccable safety records, breakdowns are occurring with growing frequency. Vigilance is essential to prevent a recurrence of waterborne diseases such as typhoid and cholera that claimed so many thousands of lives in the past."

Category: Climate Change News
5:33:04 PM    

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The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is keeping the pressure on Bayfield to move quickly to end any discharges that exceed state and federal standards. Readers may remember the situation with the new treatment plant. They finally have a design and have raised rates. It's a lot of dough to build a new plant. Here's a report from From the article: "The Utes say Bayfield's wastewater treatment plant discharges effluent into the creek, which flows onto Southern Ute land and into the Pine River. Town officials say they are doing everything possible to slow water pollution until a new wastewater treatment plant is built in eight to 10 months."

More coverage from the [Disclosure: We write for the Examiner]: "Dave Akers, Clean Water Facilities Program Manager with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said state officials are working with Bayfield to clean up its water until a new plant is built. Akers said the town is working toward fixing problems even before the new plant is built, but that if the problems are not corrected the state could sue Bayfield over the pollution."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
5:22:22 PM    

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The Bush administration is asking for oil shale exploration proposals in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, according to a report from the Associated Press via From the article:

It is offering energy companies another chance to show they can make a profit on public land in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced it is soliciting a second round of proposals for oil shale demonstration projects on 1.9 million acres in the three states. Projects would be limited to 640 acres per company, but the land could be converted to a commercial lease if the technologies proved successful.


A spokesman for one oil company said production from shale deposits will not necessarily rely on coal plants. Given current trends, electricity generated by natural gas, wind or solar is just as likely an energy source in 10 or 15 years, said Tracy Boyd, a spokesman for Shell Exploration and Production Co., which holds three of the six permits for the current demonstration projects. That's the timeframe in which Shell estimates oil shale production will become commercially viable, he said.

Coyote Gulch has been pushing solar for oil shale energy needs. The process can probably stand an interrupted supply and the U.S. should not add to the carbon footprint of a dirty energy source.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Climate Change News
5:09:24 PM    

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Pueblo County and others are trying to quantify the effects on Fountain Creek Water Quality from Colorado Springs' proposed Southern Delivery System, according to a report from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Both the Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency expressed concerns about the adequacy of the Bureau of Reclamation's study and proposed mitigation for impacts of the project on Fountain Creek and the Arkansas River. Despite a mid-course adjustment to the bureau's environmental impact statement, there still are concerns about how SDS could change levels of E. coli, selenium and sulfate both along Fountain Creek and in the Arkansas River.

The Army Corps of Engineers will conduct its own environmental review of impacts to waterways. The bureau adjusted its review of SDS to accommodate the Army Corps' concerns about wetlands by moving the terminal storage site to Upper Williams Creek from Jimmy Camp Creek, both located east of Colorado Springs. The Army Corps still must issue permits for the reservoir, as well as an exchange reservoir on Williams Creek as part of the project. Meanwhile, the EPA said there is insufficient information in the EIS to support approval. The rating is listed as "EC-2." "The (EC-2) rating signifies that the EIS does not provide adequate commitments to mitigation of the environmental impacts of the proposal," Larry Svoboda, environmental program director for the regional EPA office, wrote in comments to Reclamation.

The bureau answered those comments, saying that there is no information showing that water quality would be changed by SDS or future growth. The bureau attributes potential adverse effects to increased streamflow, and even projects that increased flows in Fountain Creek could reduce E. coli. In its mitigation, the bureau recommends monitoring the Fountain and the Arkansas River for contaminants and using "adaptive management" - a circular approach using feedback to correct problems as they arise over time - to deal with future changes in water quality. "Most of the simulated changes in E. coli, dissolved selenium and sulfate densities or concentrations would result from changes in streamflow rather than increased load," the bureau stated in its reply to Svoboda.

SDS Project Director John Fredell said Colorado Springs intends to develop the project in an "environmentally responsible" manner, and characterized the EC-2 rating as the "second-highest mark" in terms of how the EPA scores projects. "The EC-2 rating means that the EPA wants more information about SDS project mitigation," Fredell said. "Mitigation plans are being developed using the technical data on project impacts that has now been well-defined in the EIS. The EPA will continue to have an influence on SDS as we work alongside the agency, and numerous others, to develop a comprehensive approach to mitigation for the project."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here, here and here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:43:20 AM    

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (Charles Ashby): "A chemical spill at Xcel's Comanche plant in November killed more than 38,000 fish in the St. Charles River despite the power company's assertions to the contrary, a Colorado Division of Wildlife report found. The report released by DOW biologists on Tuesday said the fish died because of a sudden increase in alkali levels in a six-tenth-of-a-mile stretch of the river, which was caused by the spill of nearly 50,000 gallons of hydrated lime slurry.

"'The death of the fish from the lime slurry is the result of, essentially it burns the gills because the pH level in the water changes very rapidly,' DOW spokesman Michael Seraphim said. 'Fish can withstand and live in water with varying levels of pH as long as that level changes gradually. It's the sudden change. Essentially, they can't breathe and they suffocate. The substance itself is not toxic, so it doesn't have a long-lasting effect on the environment.' Xcel officials did not immediately respond on the report, saying they wanted to study it before commenting."

Category: Colorado Water
6:35:45 AM    

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