Trout Unlimited turns 50

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Colorado Trout Unlimited: “Trout Unlimited will celebrate its 50th anniversary as the nation’s largest and oldest coldwater conservation organization throughout 2009. Started in 1959 by 16 fishermen in Michigan who wanted to protect their local river, TU has grown to 140,000 members in 400 local chapters throughout the country, including a Green Bay chapter. TU has been instrumental in restoring more than 10,000 miles of rivers and streams around the country. Trout Unlimited will host a number of events to mark its 50th anniversary, including an August celebration at its annual meeting in Traverse City, Mich., located near the Au Sable River where TU was founded.”

Southern Delivery System: Pueblo County Commissioners to hold hearing Wednesday

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The commissioners have scheduled a public hearing at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Pueblo County Courthouse on the proposed SDS permit, which is being issued under the county’s land-use regulations adopted under the 1974 HB1041. Colorado Springs applied for the permit in August and has footed the bill for the $350,000 review…

The major recommendation of the staff report is payment of $50 million for Fountain Creek Projects, disbursed either through a Fountain Creek Flood Control and Greenway District which could be formed by the state Legislature or a new foundation that would be formed by Pueblo County and the SDS partners. The funds would go toward projects that have been identified by the Army Corps of Engineers or the Fountain Creek Corridor Master Plan, a joint project of Colorado Springs and the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District.

The proposed conditions also seek continued funding of sewer improvements and stormwater controls in Colorado Springs, limits on out-of-basin water transfers and new agreements on protecting Arkansas River flows and Lake Pueblo levels. Money would be earmarked for further study of flood control on Fountain Creek.

Arkansas Valley Conduit: Update

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (Peter Roper): “A major public lands bill that includes authorization for the Arkansas Valley Conduit water project is being dusted off and readied for another try in the Senate this week. It passed the Senate in January with little opposition. But last week, the measure crashed into a core group of gun-rights lawmakers in the House, where it fell short of the two-thirds majority vote needed to pass.”

2009 US Freestyle Kayaking Team Trials

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Here’s a release about the upcoming US Freestyle Kayaking Team Trials (May 30-31, 2009) from the Glenwood Springs Chamber of Commerce via

McNasty may not be a household word yet, but everyone will have a chance to see and learn about one of the most difficult moves in freestyle kayaking. The McNasty will no doubt be a crowd-pleaser at the upcoming US Freestyle Kayaking Team Trials in Glenwood Springs May 30-31, 2009. The 180-degree spin into a front flip maneuver is among the toughest tricks in the sport of freestyle kayaking and will certainly be a highlight as the top kayakers in the nation compete at Glenwood Springs’ highly acclaimed Whitewater Park.

Approximately 100 competitors from around the country will converge in Glenwood to show off their skills and compete for a spot on the team that will represent the United States at the World Freestyle Championship to be held in Thun, Switzerland in August. Current World Champions, Eric Jackson, his daughter Emily Jackson, and Junior Champ Evan Garcia have already clinched spots on the team and are not required to compete, but will mostly likely show off their award-winning style at the competition. According to the chairman of the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Events Committee, Davis Farrar, “Though freestyle kayaking is not yet an Olympic sport, events like the U.S. Team Trials and the World Freestyle Championships are paving the way toward that end.”

In freestyle kayaking, the goal is to throw as many different moves as possible in a 60-second time frame—and the higher the degree of difficulty the better. Judges award points based on difficulty, variety, and amplitude. The more moves performed, the more points a competitor can accumulate. Tricks will be performed on a standing wave, known as the Glenwood Wave, which can have flows ranging from 4,000 to 22,000 CFS (cubic feet per second). Some moves may also be performed in a “hole” on the river, depending on what the water flow is on event day. In addition to the McNasty, other wow-factor moves include the Phonix Monkey, Airwheel, Darkside/Jedi Flip, Tricky Whu, Pan Am and Lunar Orbit. Some of these moves can launch athletes and their kayaks inverted and up to four feet in the air.

There will certainly be plenty of whitewater action, but landlubbers will also find lots to do on shore thanks to the 7th Annual Yagatta Regatta. The event will help welcome athletes and set a festive tone for the weekend. It can best be described as a one-of-a-kind rafting flotilla and costume contest that brings together the local whitewater community. In addition to the raft race, spectators can enjoy micro-brews, food booths, live music, kid’s activities and more throughout the weekend at Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs. The Regatta is the primary fundraiser for Operation Vacation, a non-profit organization, which provides all-expense paid weekend getaways for deserving soldiers and their families. To learn more go to

The US Freestyle Team Trials begin with preliminary competition starting at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, May 30, followed by semi-finals on Saturday afternoon. Finals are scheduled for Sunday, May 31. Spectators are encouraged to come and cheer for the paddlers. Off-site parking and shuttles will be available.

For more information on the event, to register for the competition, and to book lodging and activities in Glenwood Springs, go to

2010 instream flow appropriations

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From email from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (Rob Viehl):

Pursuant to ISF Rule 5c of the Rules Concerning the Colorado Instream Flow and Natural Lake Level Program, this notice identifies the streams to be considered for instream flow appropriations in 2010. At the January 2010 meeting of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), staff may request that the Board form its intent to appropriate instream flow water rights for the streams listed on the attached Instream Flow Appropriation List. [ed. contact the CWCB for the list] The attached list contains a description of the Instream Flow (ISF) Recommendations including stream name, watershed, county, upper terminus, lower terminus, length, and USGS quad sheet name(s).

Copies of the Instream Flow Recommendations and Appendices of data submitted into the Official CWCB Record are available for review by the public during regular business hours (8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) at the Colorado Water Conservation Board’s Office, located at 1313 Sherman Street, Room 723, Denver, Colorado, 80203. In addition to the CWCB office, copies of the Instream Flow and Natural Lake Level Recommendations are available on the CWCB website.

In addition to the above Instream Flow Recommendations and Appendices, staff may rely on any additional data, exhibits, testimony, or other information submitted by any party as part of the Official CWCB Record to support its Instream Flow Recommendations.

It should also be noted that pursuant to the ISF Rules:

(a) The Board may change flow amounts of contested ISF appropriations based on information received during the public notice and comment period.

(b) Staff will maintain, pursuant to Rule 5e.(3), an ISF Subscription Mailing List for each water division composed of the names of all persons who have sent notice to the Board Office that they wish to be included on such list for a particular water division. Any person desiring to be on the ISF Subscription Mailing List(s) must send notice to the Board Office.

(c) Any meetings held between Staff and members of the public will be open to the public. Staff may provide Proper Notice prior to any such meetings and may provide notice to persons on the ISF Subscription Mailing List(s).

(d) Any Notice to Contest must be received at the Board office no later than March 31, 2010, or the first business day thereafter. All Notices of Party status and Contested Hearing Participant status must be received at the Board office no later than April 30, 2010 or the first business day thereafter.

(e) Staff will announce its Final Staff ISF Recommendation concerning contested appropriations at the September 2010 Board meeting and will send notice of the Final Staff Recommendation to all persons on the Contested Hearing Mailing List.

(f) The Board may take final action on any uncontested ISF appropriations at the May 2010 Board meeting.

Should you wish to comment on the proposed Instream Flow Recommendations, you may do so by writing Jeff Baessler of the Board’s staff at the address given above or by sending your comments by email to,, or It should be noted that while your appearance at any meeting is welcome, such an appearance is not necessary for your concerns to be recognized. Staff will take your comments into account and, if you so request, will present them to the Board in your absence. If you are not currently on the Board’s Instream Flow Subscription Mailing List and you would like to be, please contact the Board’s Office at the address given above.

CFWE President’s Award Reception

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Don’t forget to register for the Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s annual President’s Award Reception:

Who: CFWE is proud to announce that Dick Bratton (pdf) has been selected as our 2009 President’s Award recipient.

When: Friday, April 3, 2009 6-9pm

Where: Cableland Mansion, Denver

Cableland is the official residence of the Mayor of Denver. This 19,500-square-foot mansion was originally owned by cable TV mogul Bill Daniels. The home spans eight lots and is located in Denver’s hilltop neighborhood. Daniels donated it to the City and County of Denver for nonprofit organizations to use for fundraising.

Corps of Engineers may fund Roaring Fork flood mitigation study

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From the Aspen Times: “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is showing renewed interest in a flood mitigation project in Basalt five years after diverting most of its funds to the war effort in Iraq. The U.S. Senate approved an appropriations bill last week that includes $48,000 for a study by the Corps to “look at ways to stabilize the Roaring Fork River in order to prevent flooding in the middle of downtown Basalt,” according to a press release from Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. The bill awaits approval from President Obama. Basalt officials welcomed the news. Mayor Leroy Duroux said he hopes the study eventually leads to the awarding of a grant to the town.”

Eastern Colorado: Say hello to drought

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From “March is Denver’s snowiest month with about a foot of snow, but so far the city is under 2 inches. For the season, Denver has seen about 19 inches of snow. The average for this time of year is 40 inches. Next week the state might allow farmers to tap into the Platte River to fill irrigation canals. But if the state decides to conserve the water in the Platte River, farmers could have a terrible year. “This reminds me of 1954 when we had a severe drought,” farmer Bob Sakata from Brighton said…Sakata says farmers can withstand the drought for the moment if the state allows the irrigation canals to be filled as soon as possible. But that depends on the correct amount of snow from the mountains…It’s not just the lack of participation that is hurting the farmers. The heavy winds are wiping away the moisture and hurting the early season crops. The wind also clogs the clearing of irrigation canals with tumble weeds…Last month, Denver saw the least amount of snow ever in the month of February and it could end up as the driest March in Denver history.”

Arkansas River: Instream flows up with the end of winter water storage program

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

There was a big jump in flows Friday, because of tests of the river outlet at Pueblo Dam. Flows briefly reached nearly 1,100 cubic feet per second because of engineering studies related to Southern Delivery System, Roy Vaughan, the Bureau of Reclamation’s local manager, said. “We were running a test to calibrate a model of the river gate and find the maximum flow,” Vaughan explained. The river gate, located on the north side of the dam, is where Colorado Springs is proposing to build a North Outlet Works as part of SDS.

The Arkansas River quickly returned to average levels over the weekend, with about 300 cfs flowing through Pueblo and 576 cfs at the Avondale gauge, where the river is joined by flows from Fountain Creek and other tributaries…

Although the Eastern Plains are in need of rain and have entered a moderate drought, nearly everything else about the Arkansas River watershed is average. The winter water storage program stored about 145,000 acre-feet, which is slightly above the 20-year average. Lake Pueblo was storing about 245,000 acre-feet of water Monday, which is about 11,000 acre-feet shy of capacity. The Bureau of Reclamation plans to move up to 9,000 acre-feet of water into Lake Pueblo from Turquoise and Twin Lakes this month in order to free up space in the mountain reservoirs…

In the mountains, the snowpack is at average levels statewide, ranging from 90 percent in the South Platte River basin to 110 percent in the Colorado River basin. The Arkansas River basin was at 105 percent of average on Monday, while the Rio Grande was at 107 percent. Snowpack in all basins is considerably lower than at this time last year, and generally found at elevations above 9,500 feet.

Bessemer Ditch update

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Here’s a look at the Pueblo Board of Water Works plans for the Bessemer Ditch going forward, from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The Pueblo Board of Water Works will consider today an agreement with the St. Charles Mesa Water District aimed at protecting their respective interests if the water board is successful in purchasing shares of the Bessemer Ditch. The a- greement would help the Pueblo water board move proposed changes in rules that govern how Bessemer Ditch water is used, a move that is being actively opposed by some Bessemer shareholders. “The whole effort with the St. Charles agreement is part of our continuing attempt to address concerns of the shareholders along the Bessemer Ditch,” said Alan Hamel, executive director of the Pueblo water board, which is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. today…

St. Charles has acquired shares as former farmland has been converted to residential use. The agreement, approved last month by the St. Charles board, would protect the groundwater and surface water interests of the water district. If the Pueblo water board removes water, it could reduce both seepage from the ditch and return flows hat feed St. Charles wells. The agreement also would maintain flows within the ditch and flows on the Arkansas River at Moffat Street, which also are diversion points for St. Charles. The water board also would agree to make certain improvements to the ditch, including installations of three measuring stations, and would not oppose changes by the St. Charles district as to how water is delivered to the district’s reservoirs. The water board also would continue to support the proposed Arkansas Valley Conduit and a plan to fund its development that is now in Congress. In return, the St. Charles district would support the water board in its proposed changes to the articles of incorporation and bylaws. It also would support “reasonable” proposals by the water board in Division 2 Water Court or with the Bessemer Ditch to change the use of its shares in the Bessemer Ditch. The Pueblo water board would retain its own control over engineering in change cases. The agreement is based on the assumption that the Pueblo water board would be able to purchase at least 1,500 shares…

The water board is proposing three major changes in the 1894 articles of incorporation that would allow the use of the water outside the ditch, but within Pueblo County; change possible points of diversion and change language relating to how bylaws are amended. The changes in the bylaws deal with how points of diversion would be changed and how other shareholders would be protected. The provisions go beyond the protection already afforded in water court through past decrees, Hamel said.

Not all shareholders in the Bessemer Ditch are in favor of the the board converting agricultural shares to municipal use, according to this report from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The Pueblo water board’s proposed changes in Bessemer Ditch rules about how water is used are scheduled to be considered at a special meeting of Bessemer Ditch shareholders at 6 p.m. April 20 at the Pueblo Convention Center. Leonard DiTomaso, who along with Mike Klun won election to the Bessemer Ditch board in January on a platform to preserve farming, said there will be plenty of opposition to changing the 1894 articles of incorporation and subsequent bylaws. “They want to change our bylaws before they’ll buy the water and that’s wrong,” DiTomaso said Monday. “You can’t stop them from buying and selling water, but we just want to continue to farm.”

While landowners should be free to sell water rights, allowing the water to move outside traditional irrigation boundaries would open the door for selling water to growing cities in the north, DiTomaso said. If water leaves the ditch, it could make irrigating even harder for those who are left, he added…

DiTomaso estimated that the Pueblo water board would be able to buy about 5,000 shares on the ditch, combined with about 2,000 shares owned by St. Charles Mesa Water District. That would be about 35 percent of the 20,000 shares on the ditch.

“That leaves 65 percent of us who are small or average shareholders,” DiTomaso said. “I think we have them outnumbered, but you never know.”