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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Project Healing Waters

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Monday, February 2, 2009

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From the Pagosa Sun: "A work session of the board of directors of the San Juan Water Conservancy District has been scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009, at 11:30 a.m. to accommodate the attendance of three or more members of the board at an informal meeting of the Town of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County officials primarily for discussion on water projects and fees. The work session will be held at 100 Lyn Ave., Pagosa Springs, Colo."

Category: Colorado Water
6:52:05 PM    

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Here's a recap of Friday's general session at the Colorado Water Congress' 51st Annual Meeting, from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

"Those folks in Las Vegas, when they're filling up their bathtubs, have no idea that they should be protecting the forests in Colorado," forester Rick Cables told the Colorado Water Congress. "Clean air and clean water are life. Forests of healthy living trees provide both."[...]

Colorado Water Congress, a statewide group of diverse interests, should approach forest recovery as a water project, and Cables pledged help from the Forest Service to meet that goal. "Our intention in the U.S. Forest Service is to partner with the water community as we never have before," Cables said, acknowledging the stormy history of the federal government in dealing with Colorado on water issues...

The forest service also is working to develop forest-related industries, such as pellet mills, to put the dead wood to use before it becomes unusable in 15-20 years, Cables said. But a more realistic source of funding could be a small surcharge, perhaps as little as 25 cents per month, on households in the Colorado River watershed that depend on the forests for water - whether they know it or not. "Adding it to the water bill would not be popular," Cables said. "But we may not be able to get crews in and find fires."

Category: Colorado Water
6:29:04 PM    

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Here's an update on new funding conservation easements shepherded through the process by the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust, from Matt Hildner writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. Click through for the detatil. Here's an excerpt:

More than 2,200 acres along the Rio Grande gained protection from development Monday, thanks to a $5.7 million effort from a cross section of conservation groups, state agencies and private landowners.

The conservation easements will protect four ranches, preserving agricultural land, water rights and wildlife habitat...

The Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust, which coordinated much of the effort, also received $1.5 million from the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Nancy Butler, the land trust's director, said the donation of the easements by the landowners held a $3.9 million value, likely millions of dollars less than the lands would have been worth were they available for development.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
5:55:59 PM    

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From the Pueblo Chieftain: "The Arkansas River Watershed Invasive Plants Plan was approved recently by the state weed coordinator and is ready for implementation, said Jean Van Pelt, conservation outreach coordinator for the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, sponsor of the plan."

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Anthony A. Mestas): "An AmeriCorps crew that has been working in the Pike and San Isabel National forests will begin using chain saws today to remove the invasive plant from the grasslands. The three-week project will kick off in Las Animas County where crews will assist with a fuels reduction project to lessen wildfire danger. According to grasslands officials, this is the first time an AmeriCorps crew will be used on the grasslands...

The AmeriCorps crew will assist with removing tamarisk from 500 acres this year. In a press release, Comanche ranger Jeff Stoney said the main priority of the AmeriCorps crew, which is stationed in Teller County, is wildfire suppression, but it also is available for other projects. 'We will certainly benefit from their hard work," Stoney said."

Category: Colorado Water
5:46:10 PM    

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From the Vail Daily: "As of Monday, the snow on Vail Mountain was equivalent to 16.3 inches of water. That compares to a 30-year average of 12.6 inches of water equivalent for the same date."

From the Greeley Tribune "'The Poudre really looks good. We were quite surprised, especially around Big South. That's at the lower end of the canyon and snow was plowed up to the gate when we got there. That's one of those sites that's kind of like gravy, when we get any snow there it's a plus,' [John Fusaro NRCS] said Monday morning."

From the Steamboat Pilot & Today: "Although this season has seen less town snowfall than last season, the snow contains more moisture. This year's snow has delivered 10.77 inches of precipitation thus far, compared to 9.73 inches as of Jan. 31, 2008."

Category: Colorado Water
5:32:06 PM    

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Here's a recap of survey information presented at last week's Colorado Water Congress, from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

"The public perception is on your side," Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli told the group. "They value that water and are willing to work with you to conserve it and manage it." Ciruli has surveyed cities and counties throughout the state on attitudes about water extensively since the 2002 drought. The results, whether in Pueblo, Douglas or Weld counties, have been strikingly similar: About three-quarters agree the state needs more water storage. Fully 60-70 percent believe we are still in a drought. About 65 percent say we are headed for a water shortage. Two-thirds have tried to conserve water, with about one-fifth reporting that they have drastically cut their use of water. Only 1 in 10 believes conservation is sufficient to provide water for droughts, but 90 percent want cities to avoid drying up land, to sustain agriculture and to keep water in the area where it has traditionally been used, Ciruli said...

His most recent survey shows that the Northern Integrated Supply Project, a proposal to build two reservoirs serving 15 communities, has a 63 percent public approval rating in Larimer County, despite opposition from Fort Collins. In Weld County, the project has 81 percent approval among registered voters.

Similar enthusiasm for more storage as a way to protect against the worst effects of drought was found in a study by a Colorado State University-Fort Collins team led by economics professor James Pritchett. Surprisingly, the survey showed a basic lack of knowledge about water among the 6,200 respondents in 17 Western states over eight months. Less than half were familiar with water terms like groundwater, surface water or diversions. The overwhelming majority thought household and industrial use were greater than agricultural use - which actually uses roughly 85 percent of the water...

To make up future shortfalls, the overwhelmingly majority of respondents chose limiting public and private outdoor watering as the first place to save water, followed by limiting industry. Buying water from farmers was rated dead last, but temporary leases, higher water rates and draining lakes weren't much more popular. For a long-term strategy, the public chose reservoir construction as its top solution, followed by reuse of water on private and public lawns. Household conservation and limiting the growth of cities were the next most popular options, followed by building pipelines and reusing water in homes. Again, buying and drying farms rated dead last in the CSU survey.

Category: Colorado Water
6:47:46 AM    

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From the Pueblo Chieftain: "Nominations are being accepted for the fifth Annual 'Bob Appel - Friend of the Arkansas' award that is presented each year at the Arkansas River Basin Water Forum. The forum this year is scheduled in Pueblo on March 31 and April 1. The Appel award is designed to honor an individual who has over the years demonstrated commitment to improving the condition of the Arkansas River as it flows from its headwaters near Leadville to the state line...

"Nominations should include a thorough description of why the individual is being nominated as well as any testimonials or letters of recommendation. Nominations may be sent to Phil Reynolds at the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District office or via e-mail to Nominations must be received no later then Feb. 27. For information, call 948-0069."

Category: Colorado Water
6:38:45 AM    

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka): "Bessemer Ditch shareholders Saturday elected two new board members committed to keeping water, farming and a rural heritage in Pueblo County. Leonard DiTomaso and Mike Klun were elected to the board, replacing long-term members Don Pritekel and Carl Genova. Both said they would like to preserve farming, even as the Pueblo water board is looking at purchasing large chunks of the ditch for eventual conversion to municipal water. Board members re-elected were Tom Rusler, Bob Centa, Bert Hartman, Joe Pisciotta and Lee Simpson. Genova had been on the board for 30 years, while Pritekel had been on the board since 1995...

"The gymnasium at Vineland Middle School was packed Saturday, with many staying almost five hours to learn the results. About 93 percent of the 20,000 shares in the ditch were represented."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:33:52 AM    

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