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.

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