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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Thursday, February 12, 2009

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From the Summit Daily News: "The Colorado River District and the Blue River Watershed Group are holding an informal water workshop from 6:30-830 p.m. Feb.12 at the Breckenridge Campus of Colorado Mountain College. This workshop is intended for people who want to learn more about western water issues in a nonintimidating workshop setting where no question is too elementary to ask. For more information, contact Pokrandt at or at (970) 945-8522 x 236; or Cora McCold at (970) 485-5581 or"

Category: Colorado Water
6:38:52 AM    

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Here's a recap of yesterday's Fremont County Commissioner's meeting, from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

"I lean toward favoring the application, but without identifying the conditions, it's difficult," said Commission Chairman Mike Stiehl following a four-hour public hearing Tuesday. Stiehl said the conditions have to be realistic, fair and enforceable.

Stiehl's colleagues, Ed Norden and Larry Lasha, also said they are leaning toward approval, but want more assurances in areas that not only would protect the county, but benefit it. They are looking for possible cooperative efforts with the Beaver Park Water District, Penrose, Florence and the Natural Resources Conservation Service if SDS comes through Fremont County. More than 125 people attended Tuesday's meeting, which spilled out of the commissioners meeting room into the basement lobby of the Fremont County Courthouse. Commissioners hosted the public hearing on the $1.1 billion pipeline proposal after the Fremont County Planning Commission voted 5-2 to recommend denial last month. Several people, including two former county commissioners, spoke against approving the application, saying Fremont County is only a second choice and that it would be better to know whether Colorado Springs actually intends to build the pipeline there or in the preferred location from Pueblo Dam...

[Dennis Jones, a former commissioner] said Colorado Springs "shouldn't have it both ways" and said at the very least, Fremont County should require the city to resubmit its application only if Pueblo County denies its application. Jones also listed Fremont County regulations that would allow commissioners to deny approval outright, saying Colorado Springs had not proved its project is compatible and harmonious, would not have a detrimental effect on property value, would not impair public welfare and would not adversely affect other property...

The pawn in a chess game theme was picked up by Rick Allen of the Rocky Mountain Environmental Labor Coalition, which chastised Fremont County for considering an alternative rated second-best by the sponsors and in the Bureau of Reclamation's environmental impact statement. "The SDS application before Fremont County appears to be nothing more than a hedge by the project proponents to leverage Pueblo County," Allen said...

Colorado Springs says it needs easements on about 50 properties along a 17-mile route through Fremont County. It also would need to acquire three sites for pump stations: One on federal, one on state and one on private land, said John Fredell, SDS project director...

Jason Morin, plant manager at Holcim Cement at Portland, east of Florence, said he is convinced Colorado Springs' junior water right won't interfere with the company's existing river intake, based on one of the oldest rights on the river dating to 1861...

Florence would gain improvements to its river park from the project, said Kevin Shanks of THK Associates, which has been contracted by Colorado Springs to assist in planning for the park. Colorado Springs would commit to putting hydrants along the route of the pipeline to assist Penrose volunteer firefighters, said Dan Higgins, SDS construction and delivery manager. The Arkansas River Outfitters Association supports SDS as long as it leaves water in the river, as provided for in all versions of the project, said Tony Keenan, speaking for the outfitters...

Penrose Water has a more problematic situation, said Lissa Pinello, president. The district is working on its own $9.7 million project to deliver water purchased in 2006 from Fremont County Rancher Denzel Goodwin. The plan is to build a well field and enlarge Brush Hollow Reservoir. SDS could provide a simpler way to deliver the water, but that could put an $8.9 million Colorado Water Conservation Board loan at risk and would require an environmental impact statement Penrose can't afford. There are also concerns that the two projects would be using some of the same rights of way.

Meanwhile the Grisenti family, which owns most of the water in the Lester-Atterbury Ditch Colorado Springs proposes to use for the SDS diversion, say they were never contacted by Colorado Springs. Fredell explained the major issue with the ditch has been Bureau of Land Management concerns about wetlands, and assured the commissioners SDS improve the headgate and overall operation of the ditch.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
6:22:20 AM    

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Here's a look at Tri-State's settlement with Environment Colorado over the change of use for shares of the Amity Canal, from Katharhynn Heidelberg writing for the Montrose Daily Press. From the article:

One more legal challenge to power supplier Tri-State's attempt to change water right usage near Lamar was ended by a settlement last week. The result is a study of Tri-State's energy efficiency -- one an environmental group hopes will show Tri-State can meet customer needs without a change in use of 20,000 acre-feet of John Martin Reservoir water.

Environment Colorado sued Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association 18 months ago, after the company, which supplies wholesale power to Delta-Montrose Electrical Association and other cooperatives, filed for a change of water use, from agricultural to industrial, on the reservoir.

Tri-State still hopes to acquire the use-change right, which it says is needed for a proposed new power plant to offset the growth the generation company is seeing among member usage. It has settled with a total of 19 plaintiffs, most recently EC. One challenger remains.

Environment Colorado spokesman Keith Hay said EC wanted to Tri-State to look at the least costly alternative for their power customers first and, "that will always be energy efficiency."[...]

Hay said both parties realized there was no basis to establish where Tri-State was in terms of energy efficiency, so the first logical step was a study. Tri-State and EC signed a settlement Feb. 4 that requires Tri-State to hire a third-party contractor to conduct a demand side management-energy efficiency study and to prepare annual reports on those activities. In return, EC withdrew its statement of opposition and agreed "not to raise water injury issues or the issues raised in EC's motion for summary judgment specific to the Colorado Power Project...We feel this study will show Tri-State doesn't need the plant they have currently proposed," Hay said. "This meets our goal of protecting the water right, or at a minimum, doing it carefully and responsibly if we're going to make that change."[...]

Under the agreement, Tri-State will spend between $500,000 and $1 million on the study, to be completed by 2010. The study is to assess technical, economic and practical potential for efficient energy use and peak load reduction in its service areas through 2020. Environment Colorado has the right to review and comment on the methodology as well as to provide input. The first draft of three reports on testing activities is to be completed in the first quarter of 2010.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Climate Change News
6:10:09 AM    

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