Nestlé special use permit approved by Chaffee County planners

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Here’s an update on Nestlé’s application for a special use permit to develop water in Chaffee County, from Paul Goetz writing for The Mountain Meal. From the article:

Planners agreed unanimously on their recommendation, pending 10 stipulations. Stipulations include, but are not limited to: traffic analysis for U.S. 24/285, detailed site plans, ditch crossing agreements and rights-of-way, weed management plan and traffic management plans…

Information for the 1041 requested includes a site plan, Colorado Division of Wildlife plan, wetlands, land management, public access, bighorn sheep, weed management, updated consultant reports and public letters. Continuation of the 1041 referral meetings will be scheduled on March 31 during the regular planning meeting. There are no changes to the March 18 county commissioner scheduled meeting with Nestlé. Planners and Nestlé officials said they will ask commissioners to table decisions at that meeting…

During an earlier presentation, Nestlé officials explained as many as 25 trucks per day will be loaded for transport on U.S. 285/24 over Trout Creek Pass to a Denver bottling plant. Nestlé officials said the project includes environmental restoration, protection and monitoring. Ruby Mountain Springs site will be restored to its natural riparian condition. The Bighorn Springs site will be managed holistically for continued cattle grazing and protection of bighorn sheep habitat, Nestlé officials said.

In reference to questions about access, Lauerman said the first Nestlé consideration is the water. “We are a natural spring water company. That means we have to find somewhere remote. We are concerned about protecting safe, sustainable withdrawal of a quality water supply.” Purpose of the 1041 process is to mitigate impacts, Lauerman said. Historically there has been no public access to the property.

Windy Gap Firming Project: Draft EIS comments available on Reclamation website

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From the Sky-Hi Daily News (Gretchen Bergen): “All public comments received by the Bureau of Reclamation on the Windy Gap Firming Project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) were recently posted to the bureau’s website at

HB09-1233: Recognize Acequias

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Here’s an update about State Representative Ed Vigil’s bill that would authorize Acequia Ditch Corporations, from Larry Winget writing for the Conejos County Citizen. From the article:

According to the office of State Senator Gail Schwartz, (D-Dist. 5), Schwartz is sponsoring the bill in the Senate and it has already been approved on its first reading by the Senate Committee on Local Government and Energy. Her office said it would go to the full Senate for a second reading on Tuesday, March 10. If it passes there it would be scheduled for a third reading in the Senate, and if passed then, would be sent to the governor for his signature.

The original version of the bill amended Colorado Revised Statue Article 2 of title 37 concerning “Acequia conservancy district-subdistrict-creation-conversion-definition.” The amended bill affects CRS Article 42 of title 7 and reads, “Acequia mutual ditch-definition-powers.”

Both versions concern irrigation ditches created before Colorado statehood that historically treated water as a community resource and which attempted to allocate water based on equity rather than just priority.

The bill concerns acequia ditches located wholly in Conejos, Costilla, Huerfano, and Las Animas Counties.

Redcliffe supply upgrades included in federal omnibus bill

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From the Vail Daily: “Red Cliff’s water worries became a little lighter Wednesday as President Obama signed into law the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, which will grant the tiny mountain town $800,000 to make repairs to its water system. The money will go toward repairing the town’s collection system, Mayor Ramon Montoya said. The cost of an overhauled or new water system has been estimated at $4 million. But Eagle County Facilities Management Director Tom Johnson said this money will go a long way toward mending the water system’s problems. “The collection system has many, many years on it, and it’s got a lot of leaks. The water is causing the plant to work way harder than it has to,’ he said. ‘This money would fix all the bad stuff.'”

More Eagle River Watershed news from the Vail Daily: “The most tenured employee at the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District’s, which provides water to Colorado’s Vail Valley will retire this month, the district announced on Wednesday. Roy Vasquez is a 38-year veteran of the district and began working when Vail Water and Sanitation District was the local water authority and had only five employees.”

Denver Water fills positions on citizen advisory committee

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Here’s a release from Denver Water via YourHub:

Denver Water’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) welcomes three new members: Barry Hudson, manager of the Wheat Ridge Water District; James Ives, board member of the Cutthroat Chapter of Trout Unlimited; and Carol Pace, a fellow at the American College of Medical Practice Executives.

Hudson, appointed as representative of suburban distributors, has a degree from the University of Colorado Law School and has been a practicing lawyer in Wheat Ridge since 1974. He specialized in utility matters for special districts such as High View Water, and Daniels Sanitation; and local utilities such as Wheat Ridge Water District, Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District, and Wheat Ridge Sanitation District.

Ives, appointed as the public interest group representative, has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is a board-certified environmental professional who retired from a 37-year career in environmental management and government affairs. His broad scope of experience includes energy and resource development and production for a major petroleum company, and work as an environmental consultant for federal and state environmental agencies.

Pace, appointed as the representative for Denver citizens, has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of California at Irvine and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Her background includes public administration, the management of university medical practices, group homes, and clinical and basic sciences. She has been a resident of Denver for 30 years.

The CAC is a 10-member volunteer committee that facilitates public involvement in Denver Water policies and programs such as rates, water conservation and long-range planning. Members serve three-year terms and can serve two successive terms. For more information about the CAC, visit

Markey amendment to Federal Water Pollution Control Act adds wastewater funds for small communities

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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan: “Rep. Betsy Markey passed her first amendment to a bill Thursday, part of a series of amendments to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. Markey’s amendment increased the percentage of wastewater project funds that go to small towns. It was part of a package of amendments to the pollution control act that passed the House by a vote of 317 to 101.”

Arkansas Basin Roundtable approves wetlands study grant

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Here’s a recap of yesterday’s meeting of the Arkansas Basin Roundtable, from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The Arkansas Basin Roundtable Wednesday approved a $149,000 grant to study wetlands in three areas of the Arkansas Valley. Some roundtable members questioned the grant, which would be awarded from the state Water Supply Reserve Account, but no objections were made about moving it to the Colorado Water Conservation Board. It would be the first grant application for a purely nonconsumptive use of water. Most grants to date from the fund in the Arkansas Valley have been for projects that look at increasing water supply in order to decrease the gap identified in the 2004 Statewide Water Supply Initiative. Legislation that set up basin roundtables in 2005 also provided for nonconsumptive uses.

SeEtta Moss, who represents environmental interests and chairs the roundtable’s nonconsumptive use committee, said the wetlands are valuable to the regional economy. She provided information from a 2006 federal study that showed fishermen, hunters and wildlife watchers contribute $2 billion annually to the state’s economy. “We’re not looking at new water, but at using existing water in a new way,” Moss explained. The grant would study wetlands at Neenoshe Reservoir in Kiowa County, near John Martin Reservoir in Bent County and on Fountain Creek in Pueblo and El Paso counties.

Arkansas River Basin Water Forum March 31st – April 1st

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From the Pueblo Chieftain:

The forum, with the theme “Water to Fuel Our Future,” is scheduled March 31 and April 1 in the Occhiato University Center at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

Jennifer Gimbel, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, will deliver the keynote address at 9:25 a.m. March 31.

The rest of the first day’s events include an update of the Arkansas Basin Roundtable, a panel on energy and water, a presentation by state climatologist Nolan Doesken and a panel on drought and climate risk. Historian Joanne Dodds will speak on Pueblo water history at the day’s luncheon.

Topics on April 1 will include updates on area conservancy districts, Fountain Creek activities, invasive species and Lake Pueblo. The Bob Appel award, art awards and service awards will be presented at the day’s luncheon. Field trips will include the Xeriscape Garden at the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District and the Steelworks Museum of Industry and Culture, located at the historic CF&I Steel site.

For registration information and more details, log on to the Web site or call Perry Cabot at 549-2045.

Meanwhile the organizers of the forum are inviting the public to submit artwork around the theme of water, according to a report from the Pueblo Chieftain.