Boxelder Basin Stormwater Authority: Some within district boundaries water to opt out of fees

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From the North Forty News (Cherry Sokoloski):

The group of about 30 property owners, calling themselves the Boxelder Coalition, include residents of the Waverly and Wellington areas, as well as some who live east of Interstate 25. “We’re not anti-growth or anti-development,” said spokesman Larry Newman, “but we think the whole project has been pushed to favor developers.”

The Boxelder Authority was formed last year by Wellington, Larimer County and Fort Collins to construct stormwater facilities in the Boxelder Basin. The basin is large, extending from southern Wyoming to south of Timnath. When complete, the project will change the Boxelder Creek’s 100-year floodplain so that 642 properties are no longer included. Newman said the group has four major complaints. They claim that all properties west of County Road 11 should be out of the fee area, contending that floodwaters west of there would be contained by Reservoir 8. They also question why the fee area’s northern boundary is County Road 70, instead of extending all the way to the state line. In addition, Newman said, the authority partners should have allowed property owners to vote on the plan, instead of imposing fees without a vote. And finally, the group believes that property owners and developers along I-25 are the main beneficiaries of the Boxelder stormwater plan.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Ruedi and Horsetooth reservoirs update

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Update From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

You probably noticed in my message last night regarding our Annual Ruedi Operations public meeting, the day and date did not match up. My apologies. I’ll try again: Our Annual Ruedi Operations public meeting will be Thursday, May 21, in the Basalt Town Hall. It will start at 7 p.m. I hope to see you then!

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

Tomorrow, we will be reducing the release from Ruedi Dam to the Fryingpan River by 50 cfs. This will put around 172 cfs in the ‘Pan by the afternoon. Also, we are getting ready for our annual Ruedi Operations Public Meeting. We will hold it on Thursday, May 22 at the Basalt Town Hall. The meeting will start at 7 p.m.

From email from Reclamtion (Kara Lamb):

…we are continuing to send about 480 cfs to Horsetooth Reservoir. That will continue for a while. Today, the reservoir is at a water elevation of 5412 and climbing steadily.

West Denver Trout Unlimited: Golden Mile stream restoration project

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Here’s a release from Colorado Trout Unlimited:

West Denver Trout Unlimited will dedicate its Golden Mile stream restoration project on Friday, May 15, at 11:00 a.m. The ceremony will be held along Clear Creek, a short walk upstream of Golden’s Lions Park, on W. 10th street. Keynote speaker will be Dr. Tom Remington, Director of the Colorado Division of Wildlife. He will be accompanied by Brad Coors, Chair of the Colorado Wildlife Commission. Also speaking will be representatives from the Jefferson County Commission, Mayor of the City of Golden, and various other persons involved with the project.

The restoration project, a seven year effort completed in March, involved stream-bed reconstruction and other restoration of about 2200 linear feet of stream, beginning just above the City’s kayak course, and extending to the Jefferson County Open Space Park foot bridge 3300 feet upstream…

West Denver Trout Unlimited: Contact: Miles D. Williams, WDTU Director, Clear Creek Initiatives, 303 980-1322

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

San Luis Valley: Trial for first groundwater sub-district moved to September 28

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (Matt Hildner):

District Judge O. John Kuenhold scrapped an Aug. 3 trial date Tuesday so that objectors in the case would have sufficient time to analyze forthcoming changes to the proposed management plan and the court could give sufficient public notice. Attorneys for 16 objectors in the case also had argued that more time was needed to evaluate the Rio Grande Decision Support System, a computer model which the court ordered should serve as the basis for calculating the depletions caused by groundwater pumping.

The new time frame puts the squeeze on the plan’s supporters. Should the court approve the plan, the plan’s backers would have to get the subdistrict’s tax information to Alamosa, Rio Grande and Saguache county assessors by Dec. 1. Failure to do so would mean the subdistrict would be without local tax revenue in 2010. The subdistrict, which would take in nearly 3,000 irrigation wells and 174,000 acres of irrigated farmland, hopes to use a combination of local assessments and federal conservation funding to pay farmers to fallow up to 40,000 acres and thereby reduce groundwater pumping.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District: One applicant so far for board vacancy

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Tom Rusler, a board member of the Bessemer Irrigating Ditch Co., filed his application about one week after [John] Singletary resigned…

The official notice of the vacancy was published Sunday in The Pueblo Chieftain. The appointment will be for the remainder of Singletary’s term, which ends Jan. 1, 2010. Applicants must have lived in Pueblo County for at least one year, own property and be knowledgable in water matters. Deadline for applications is June 2. Applications should be sent to Chief District Judge Dennis Maes…

The district was formed in 2002 by voters in five counties to protect water in the Lower Arkansas Valley.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Fountain Creek: New board to get its feet wet overseeing gravel pit operation

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The shiny new Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District is looking at an application by LaFarge to run a gravel mining operation along the creek. Here’s a report from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Up until now, the La Farge request would have been handled solely by El Paso County, but the new district has land-use authority within the 100-year flood plain of Fountain Creek between Fountain and Pueblo. That means at least part of the gravel pit decision will be up to the district. The district will have a nine-member board, made up of four representatives each from El Paso and Pueblo counties and a final member selected from a citizens’ advisory group. A “supermajority” of seven votes is needed to make any decisions. The governing board was set up earlier this year as a stop-gap measure between a Vision Task Force, which suggested the new district, and the district, which was signed into law by Gov. Bill Ritter last week. The La Farge proposal was, in fact, one of the major concerns of the Vision Task Force in the past. Two years ago, the group heard about the proposal, along with two wastewater treatment plants and a gas-fired power plant, and wondered whether the projects on the ground were outpacing the group’s ability to shape Fountain Creek…

The La Farge proposal is upsetting to neighbors who object to the noise and dust that could be generated by up to 780 trucks per day at the new gravel pit. “It’s across the creek from our conservation easement, and we’ve written several letters to El Paso County Planning Commission,” said Ferris Frost, whose family ranches and farms along the creek. Besides those land-use issues, she worries about the impact on water quality and the flow of Fountain Creek from the proposed operation. The asphalt and batch plant would create a new “hard point” along the creek that could send waters from the near flood across the farm’s fields. Landowners along Fountain Creek know all too well the propensity of the creek to eat away farmland…

Two committees of the governing board will meet Thursday on the La Farge proposal. A technical advisory committee, which is building on the work done for an Army Corps of Engineers study, and a citizens advisory group, which is continuing the Vision Task Force effort, will have separate meetings to discuss it. The governing board is expected to transition into the appointed board after July 1, but legally the two are separate entities, [Pueblo County Commissioner Jeff Chostner] explained.

The district has no money, and the governing board is living on resources donated by the two counties or cities within the county. The district, which includes all of El Paso and Pueblo counties, has the power to charge fees and levy taxes with a vote of the people. So far, there is only one source of funding in sight, however. If the Southern Delivery System comes through Pueblo County, and after it is built, the district would receive $50 million over a five-year period. The money is part of conditions applied by Pueblo County commissioners required for a 1041 land-use permit granted to SDS last month.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Kremmling: Moving street budget to supply infrastructure

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From the Sky-Hi Daily News (Drew Munro):

“The good news is we got some money” for the town’s water-line replacement project, Mayor Tom Clark said. “The bad news is, we only got half of it.” At the behest of Town Manager Ted Soltis, trustees directed staff to examine making the most the $750,000 Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant money by using it and the town’s $250,000 in matching funds to complete all of this year’s water line replacement project. The catch: Streets dug up in the process will remain unpaved for a year. Project costs generally are split evenly between replacing the lines and repaving the streets…

Nearly 20,000 feet of water lines still need to be replaced, with about 10,000 slated for this year. The projects are prioritized based on where the worst leaks are. Trustee Jason Bock said it’s critically important to replace the lines in the 2009 project, particularly on the south side of town, because the leaky system does not provide adequate flow for fire protection. Trustee Grant Burger III also pointed out that the town’s water treatment plant is running at about 120 percent of capacity to compensate for leaks in the system. In the long run, Soltis said that means the plant will have to replaced sooner unless demands on it can be reduced. Town officials in the past have estimated the antiquated steel pipe system is leaking about 50 percent of the treated water into the ground, which is down from an estimated 67 percent since last year’s projects were completed.

Colorado River: State of the river meeting May 13 in Frisco

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From the Summit Daily News:

The annual meeting is held to give water users and other interested citizens some insight into how local, regional and state water supplies are managed. In addition to [Nolan] Doesken’s keynote talk, the Bureau of Reclamation will discuss operations at Green Mountain Reservoir, including details on when the reservoir is expected to fill. Denver Water will talk about Dillon Reservoir and Roberts Tunnel operations, and water commissioner Scott Hummer will outline the prospects for local run-off and irrigation. Officials will also give updates on wild and scenic river talks and water quality in Peru Creek and the Snake River Basin.

For more information, call Jim Pokrandt at (970) 945-8522, ext. 236, or e-mail To learn more about the Colorado River District, celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2007, visit

Snowpack (runoff) news

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From the Aspen Daily News:

Snow levels in the mountains above the Roaring Fork Valley are holding their own, hovering just shy of average while the snowpack across the state isn’t fairing quite as well, according to data collected May 1…

Measurements by the Natural Resources Conservation Service found snowpack in the Colorado River watershed, which includes the Roaring Fork Valley, to be 99 percent of normal on May 1. That’s better than the statewide figures, which were 90 percent of average, and the second-highest of any basin in the state. Many basins were well below average, particularly in southwestern Colorado, which missed most of the early April storms that blanketed the rest of Colorado. Gauges on Tuesday found snow on Independence Pass at 100 percent of average. The season peaked at 117 percent of average in April in the Colorado River drainage, the highest percentage of anywhere in Colorado. Maximum snowpack totals were reached on April 19 across most of the state, about a week later than usual…

In the Colorado drainage, though, the runoff on May 1 was just 81 percent of last year’s torrent. Statewide, the runoff was just 78 percent of last year, when a cool spring spared the Roaring Fork Valley from heavy flooding caused by an unusually high snowpack…

The healthy snowpack bodes well for water for the summer. Reservoirs are at near average levels across much of the state, including the Colorado basin, which is at 99 percent of average.

From the Associated Press via the Vail Daily:

Snowpack on Vail Mountain remains above average for this time of year, the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District said. There were 25.2 inches of “snow-water equivalent” on Vail Mountain as of Tuesday, the district said. That compares to a historical average since 1979 of about 23.5 inches for this time of year.