Eagle River Water and Sanitation hosting water supply workshop Thursday

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From the Vail Daily:

Officials from Colorado’s Western Slope will gather in Eagle in Colorado’s Vail Valley on Thursday to discuss some of the state’s water supply.

The workshop will start at 9 a.m., Thursday and run until 12:30 p.m. The day will include presentations from officials that deal with problems involving water in the county and region and an overview of basic laws related to water.

Groups that will be at the workshop include the Colorado River Water Conservation District, Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority, Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, Northwest Colorado Council of Governments and the Office of the State Engineer.

The workshop is open to the public and the full agenda for the meeting is available at http://www.eaglecounty.us. For more information about the meeting, contact County Attorney Bryan Treu at 970-328-8685 or bryan.treu@eaglecounty.us

S.B. 09-165, Drinking Water Wastewater Small Grants

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S.B. 09-165 passed the Colorado House on second reading last Thursday, according to a report from the Fort Morgan Times. From the article:

[State Senator Cory Gardner] was joined on the bill by Rep. Cathleen Curry (D-Gunnison), Sen. Isgar (D-Hesperus), and Sen. Penry (R-Fruita). The bill creates the “Small Communities Drinking Water and Wastewater Grant Fund” and directs up to $10 million a year to small communities across Colorado. The bill does not raise taxes or fees but instead utilizes existing severance tax dollars.

“The passage of SB 165 is a great victory for the people of rural Colorado,” Gardner said. “The funding of these water projects can be very difficult for a small community to bear on their own, and this grant fund will provide the assistance they need to provide clean water for their citizens.” Gardner’s bill will help offset the cost of unfunded federal and state mandates on drinking water and water treatment systems.

The House is expected to take up SB 165 on third reading this week, and if the bill passes it will be sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed.

More coverage from the Greeley Tribune:

Senate Bill 165, co-sponsored by Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, and Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, and sponsored in the House by Reps. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, and Cathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, creates the Small Communities Drinking Water and Wastewater Grant Fund and directs up to $10 million a year to small communities across Colorado. It passed on second reading in the House last week. The bill does not raise taxes or fees but instead uses existing severance tax dollars. Gardner said the funding would help offset the cost of unfunded federal and state mandates on drinking water and water treatment systems.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

President Obama signs public lands bill

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Colorado Independent (David O. Williams): “Politicians and environmentalists alike were quick to sing the praises of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, which President Obama signed into law Monday afternoon at a White House ceremony.”

Colorado Trout Unlimited Annual Dinner & Gala Friday night

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Colorado Trout Unlimited:

Join Colorado’s “Angler in Chief” Governor Bill Ritter at the CTU Dinner & Gala for an evening of camaraderie, great food, live music (including Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet), lively auction bidding and a fantastic view of the mountains from the Grand Hyatt’s Pinnacle Club – 17th and Welton in Denver. Admission ($100) includes dinner and complimentary beer and wine. Click here for an auction item preview.

The auction is CTU’s most important fund raiser. You can play a key role in helping us Protect, Preserve and Restore Colorado’s Coldwater Fisheries and Their Watersheds.

Click here to purchase tickets

La Plata-Archuleta Water District: Looking for funding sources

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From the Durango Herald (Garrett Andrews): “Members of the board of the La Plata-Archuleta Water District looked to see if residents were willing to pay for rural water needs in the face of countywide growth Thursday night at a public meeting put on by the newly formed water district. The meeting was the first in a series of public meetings intended to gauge support for a project board members feel has been needed for some time. Amy Kraft, a consulting engineer with Harris Water Engineering in Durango, discussed the district’s options with attendees. She said growth in the county is contributing to an increasing shortage of domestic water. Isolated agricultural consumers not currently part of other local water grids make up a large part of the district’s constituents. Attendees at the meeting were mainly rural county residents who currently truck water from pumping locations across the county or operate private wells.”

The Water Conservation Yardstick: Measuring success

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Colorado Waterwise’s inaugural event — The Water Conservation Yardstick: Measuring Success — is on tap this week in Denver on Wednesday and Thursday.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Arkansas River Basin Water Forum starts tomorrow

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Don’t forget the Arkansas River Basin Water Forum: Water to fuel our future starting tomorrow in Pueblo. It should be a hoot.

Fort Collins: Frog species survey

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Amphibian species are a great indicator of environmental health and they’re fun to watch and catalogue. Here’s an invitation from the city of Fort Collins Natural Areas Program, from the Fort Collins Coloradoan:

The city of Fort Collins Natural Areas Program is seeking volunteers to help with its frog species survey. The survey will take place in natural areas April through July. Training will be provided 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St. Participants will learn how to identify calls and record and report your findings. For more information or to register, visit www fcgov.com/naturalareas or you can call Susan Schafer at 416-2480 or send e-mail to sschafer@fcgov.com.

Snowpack news

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It’s snowing pretty hard this morning at Gulch Manor. There’s a couple of inches on the lawn. Muddy Waters — official Coyote Gulch chocolate lab — came in looking like a sheep from her early morning romp in the yard.

From the Pueblo Chieftain (Nick Bonham): “In terms of moisture, Pueblo County received as much as 0.4 of an inch of precipitation, according to the Colorado Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. Otero County received 1 inch of precipitation; Bent and Prowers counties received as much as 0.9 of an inch; Las Animas, Huerfano, Chaffee and Fremont counties received as much as 0.75 of an inch of precipitation. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the mountain snowpack decreased in February and January as a result of below normal snowfall. This spring storm dropped between 6 inches and a foot of snow in the mountains. ‘While (the snow) helped the fields, the snow they got n the mountains helps shore up our snowpack that will supply our irrigation water,’ [Chuck Hanagan, a Swink resident and executive director of the Farm Service Agency for Otero, Crowley, Huerfano and Las Animas counties] said.”

Update:

From the Summit Daily News:

“Snowpack today is 99 percent of average in Colorado,” said Scott Hummer, water commissioner at the Colorado Division of Water Resources. “Even though we’ve had these storms — last week and continuing this week — we haven’t quite gotten back to normal.”

According to Hummer, it’s just barely above the 30-year historic average for snow levels in the Blue River Basin. The pendulum can swing either way through the month of April, so snowpack numbers that really count are the ones that come in on May 1. The Dillon Reservoir is one-fifth of Denver’s water supply. Snowpack above the Dillon Reservoir is above 100 percent.