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, January 18, 2009

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Here's the link to the summary of President-elect Obama's stimulus spending package, from Talking Points Memo. Congress will take up the bill in the next few days. What's in it for water?

$10 billion for science facilities, research, and instrumentation...

$19 billion for clean water, flood control, and environmental restoration investments...

National Science Foundation: $3 billion, including $2 billion for expanding employment opportunities in fundamental science and engineering to meet environmental challenges and to improve global economic competitiveness, $400 million to build major research facilities that perform cutting edge science, $300 million for major research equipment shared by institutions of higher education and other scientists, $200 million to repair and modernize science and engineering research facilities at the nation's institutions of higher education and other science labs, and $100 million is also included to improve instruction in science, math and engineering...

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Satellites and Sensors: $600 million for satellite development and acquisitions, including climate sensors and climate modeling.

National Institute of Standards and Technology: $300 million for competitive construction grants for research science buildings at colleges, universities, and other research organizations and $100 million to coordinate research efforts of laboratories and national research facilities by setting interoperability standards for manufacturing

Agricultural Research Service: $209 million for agricultural research facilities across the country. ARS has a list of deferred maintenance work at facilities of roughly $315 million.

U.S. Geological Survey: $200 million to repair and modernize U.S.G.S. science facilities and equipment, including improvements to laboratories, earthquake monitoring systems, and computing capacity...

Construction on Public Lands and Parks: $3.1 billion for infrastructure projects on federal lands including improvements to visitor facilities, road and trail restoration, preservation of buildings of cultural and historic importance, rehabilitation of abandoned mines and oil fields, and environmental cleanup projects. This includes $1.8 billion for the National Park Service, $325 million for the Bureau of Land Management, $300 million for the National Wildlife Refuges and National Fish Hatcheries, and $650 million for the Forest Service...

Clean Water State Revolving Fund: $6 billion for loans to help communities upgrade wastewater treatment systems. EPA estimates a $388 billion funding gap. The Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators found that 26 states have $10 billion in approved water projects.

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: $2 billion for loans for drinking water infrastructure. EPA estimates there is a $274 billion funding gap. The National Governors Association reported that there are $6 billion in ready-to-go projects, which could quickly be obligated.

Rural Water and Waste Disposal: $1.5 billion to support $3.8 billion in grants and loans to help communities fund drinking water and wastewater treatment systems. In 2008, there were $2.4 billion in requests for water and waste loans and $990 million for water and waste grants went unfunded.

Corps of Engineers: $4.5 billion for environmental restoration, flood protection, hydropower, and navigation infrastructure critical to the economy. The Corps has a construction backlog of $61 billion.

Bureau of Reclamation: $500 million to provide clean, reliable drinking water to rural areas and to ensure adequate water supply to western localities impacted by drought. The Bureau has backlogs of more than $1 billion in rural water projects and water reuse and recycling projects.

Watershed Infrastructure: $400 million for the Natural Resources Conservation Service watershed improvement programs to design and build flood protection and water quality projects, repair aging dams, and purchase and restore conservation easements in river flood zones.

International Boundary and Water Commission: $224 million to repair flood control systems along the international segment of the Rio Grande damaged by hurricane Katrina and other serious storms...

Superfund Hazardous Waste Cleanup: $800 million to clean up hazardous and toxic waste sites that threaten health and the environment. EPA has 1,255 sites on its National Priority List, selected based on a hazard ranking system. There are many Superfund sites ready for construction, but not funded due to budget shortfalls and over 600 sites with ongoing construction that could be accelerated.

Leaking Underground Storage Tanks: $200 million for enforcement and cleanup of petroleum leaks from underground storage tanks at approximately 1,600 additional sites. There are an estimated 116,000 sites with the potential to contaminate important water supplies.

Nuclear Waste Cleanup: $500 million for nuclear waste cleanup at sites contaminated as a result of the nation's past nuclear activities. Accelerating the completion of projects will reduce long-term costs.

NOAA Habitat Restoration: $400 million for ready-to-go habitat restoration projects.

Category: Climate Change News
9:18:19 AM    

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From the Aspen Daily News (David Frey): "Local conservation groups Wilderness Workshop and Western Colorado Congress joined 11 other environmental groups in filing two lawsuits in federal court on Friday in an effort to hinder efforts to develop oil shale.

"The two lawsuits, filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, accuse the Bureau of Land Management of moving forward with oil shale plans without adequately gauging the environmental impacts or giving the public enough chance to protest the decision. They say the Bush administration also failed to ensure that taxpayers will receive a fair return from oil shale royalties."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
8:46:48 AM    

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This editorial from the Steamboat Pilot & Today speculates that Steamboat Springs recreational in-channel diversion is pushing water development plans downriver from the town. From the editorial:

Five years after the city of Steamboat Springs filed for recreational water rights on the Yampa River, the value of that highly contested decision is becoming increasingly clear.

As more and more large-scale interests signal their desire to pull water from the Yampa, the city's recreational in-channel diversion, known as a RICD (rih-sid) and applied for in late December 2003, is proving to be a timely and essential tool for preserving flows through downtown Steamboat and protecting regional water interests.

Steamboat's RICD allocates water flows for recreational use on the Yampa through downtown, from April 15 to Aug. 15 every year. The application spurred hearty debates that ended with its final court approval in October 2005. Ranchers, particularly upstream in South Routt County, opposed the RICD for fear of over-regulation on the river. The Colorado Water Conservation Board, the Upper Yampa Water Conservation District, the towns of Yampa and Oak Creek and three metro districts were some of more than 20 opponents to the RICD.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
8:00:38 AM    

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