Republican River Water Conservation District board meeting May 18

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From the Yuma Pioneer (Tony Rayl):

The Republican River Water Conservation District Board of Directors will hold a special meeting in Yuma, Monday, May 18. Discussion will include the status of the compact compliance pipeline, approval of the augmentation plan and related accounting procedures for the pipeline by the Republican River Compact Administration. Also on the list are the South Fork accounting issues and the sub-basin nonimpairment requirement, as well as the possibility of changing the use of surface water purchased by the RRWCD Water Activity Enterprise to assist the state of Colorado with compact compliance. There also will be an executive session to develop a strategy for negotiations for the purchase, acquisition, or lease of water rights. The meeting will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Church of the Nazarene, 505 E. Beatty Ave. Public comment is scheduled for 1 p.m.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Brush: Stormwater rate increase?

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From the Brush News Tribune:

It is possible that storm water rates will be increasing in the near future. If done, the increase will help fund the current five storm water projects. These include improvements and fixes on basins located in the downtown area, Williams Street, Ray and Mill Streets, Sunset Park and Cambridge and Emerson Streets. To assist in the projects, the city is proposing to increase rates by three cents per linear foot and will prepare a resolution to adopt the increase at the next regular meeting, rescheduled to Tuesday, May 26, due to Memorial Day on May 25.

Montrose: Shavano Conservation District 17th annual fourth-grade water festival

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From the Montrose Daily Press (Matt Lindberg):

The 17th annual fourth-grade water festival was held by Shavano Conservation District, with the goal of educating Montrose and Olathe classes about water. “We do this because we want kids to be aware of the importance in having clean water and conserving it,” Cyndee Feske, Shavano Conservation District representative said. “Hopefully when they grow up, the knowledge will be second nature.” Fourth-graders from Pomona Elementary School make bubbles from soap and water to represent water surface tension during water festival activities at Baldridge Park Tuesday afternoon. Various businesses had representatives on hand giving 16-minute presentations at each site and Feske said they were happy to help.

Runoff news: Glenwood Canyon High water closed back path

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From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent: “According to the Colorado Department of Transportation the bike path is closed between the Shoshone Power Plant and the Hanging Lake Rest Area.”

The Crystal Dam is spilling again this year and you can be there. From the Montrose Daily Press:

Limited access [May 15 and 16] to the spring releases is available between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. both days; a $15 fee per car will be necessary to access the dam through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. On Friday, May 15, about 2,500 cubic feet per second, or 1,122,000 gallons per minute, of unregulated runoff will be cascading from the dam’s spillway, with an additional 4,000 cfs of water being released through the dam to the Gunnison River. Parking will be outside of the project gates and viewers will have to walk about half a mile to view the spill.

The road providing access to Crystal Dam and Power Plant is accessed by turning onto Highway 347, 8 miles east of Montrose. The beginning elevation on Highway 347 is 6,572 feet and at the point where one turns onto the East Portal Road to the power plant, the elevation will have increased to 8,266 feet.

The East Portal Road is 6 miles long. Once drivers begin to drop into the canyon, the elevation decreases by more than 1,800 feet within 3 miles. This section of road is one of the steepest in the state, with a 16-percent grade, and is one switchback after another; careful driving is recommended.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

Today, Lake Estes is sitting at a water level elevation of 7472 feet–just a couple of feet below full. Snowmelt is coming down the Big Thompson River into Lake Estes. Because of river travel times, snow that melts during the day does not show up in downstream rivers until evening or night. That is why, this time of year, fluctuation in the Big T river can be daily. At night, inflows to Estes are currently jumping up into the 200 cfs area. During the day, they drop down to around 170 cfs. We are controlling that incoming water a little, using some for hydropower generation. As a result, we are maintaining a steady release of around 100 cfs from Olympus Dam to the Big Thompson River through the canyon.

Pinewood Reservoir has been sitting fairly consistently at an elevation of 6566. We are moving water through for power generation at the Flatiron Plant below.

Carter Lake is still sitting at an elevation of 5756–just three feet below full.

And, we are currently running just under 300 cfs to Horsetooth Reservoir. Earlier today, power generation at the Big Thompson Powerplant (near the Dam Store) came on, reducing the flow north by about 50 cfs. We saw a similar pattern last weekend, as well. Today, Horsetooth is at an elevation of 5415–a foot higher than it was this time last year. The water level at Horsetooth should continue to rise through the weekend.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

What this means for Green Mountain Reservoir is that we will be bypassing the inflowing snowmelt to the reservoir on through the dam and down the Lower Blue. Because more is coming in than we are currently releasing, we will be bumping up releases in 100 cfs increments over the next several days, hitting a cfs of around 600 by Monday, May 18. After Monday, the CROS group will reconvene. But, there is a strong likelihood the 600 cfs will continue through Memorial Day. I’ll keep you posted on what changes are made. This afternoon, we bumped releases up from around 100 cfs to about 200 cfs. The change was made between 1 and 3 p.m. I’m anticipating the daily 100 cfs increase will be made in this same time frame through the weekend, hitting the 600 cfs mark Monday afternoon. For those keeping tabs on the reservoir, it is currently at a water elevation of 7913 feet–that’s still quite a bit down from full, but we’re anticipating enough water down the Blue this year to participate in this program and fill the reservoir.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

What this means for Ruedi Reservoir is that we will be bypassing the inflowing snowmelt to the reservoir on through the dam and down the Fryingpan. Because more is coming in than we are currently releasing, we will be bumping up releases in 50 cfs increments, twice a day, over the next several days, hitting a cfs of around 650 by Monday, May 18. After Monday, the CROS group will reconvene. But, there is a strong likelihood the 650 cfs could continue through Memorial Day. I’ll keep you posted on what changes are made. Around 6:30 this evening, we will bump releases up the first 50 cfs, raising the cfs in the Fryingpan from 197 cfs to 247 cfs. Tomorrow morning, we will increase another 50 cfs, then again in the afternoon by another 50, with a resulting flow of 347. We will follow this same pattern until Monday afternoon when we will hit the 647 cfs. For those keeping tabs on the reservoir, it is currently at a water elevation of 7737 feet–that’s still quite a bit down from full, but we’re anticipating enough water down the ‘Pan this year to participate in this program and fill the reservoir.

From email from Reclamation (Dan Crabtree):

Yesterday, a combination of Morrow Point Releases and high side-inflows caused Crystal Reservoir to spill and flows in the Black Canyon and Gunnison Gorge to reach over 7,000 cfs by this morning. Flows at Delta are currently in the 12,000 cfs range. The May 1st forecast for the April through July runoff into Blue Mesa Reservoir is 690,000 ac-ft. consequently, the Black Canyon Water Right calls for a 24 hr peak flow of almost 6,000 cfs (5,864 cfs according to the decree). This flow was achieved starting at about 16:45 May 12th. To insure a 24 hour peak is obtained and to make efficient use of water, Reclamation will start to slowly ramp down releases today. As a result, the spill at Crystal will start to subside and probably be complete by Sunday May 17th. A more detailed schedule is being developed and additional information will be distributed as it becomes available.

CWCB: Meeting schedule May 18-20

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From the Sterling Journal Advocate:

The CWCB will hold a water strategies workshop from 1 to 3 p.m. and a finance workshop from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at the Pueblo Convention Center on Monday, May 18.

The CWCB will also hold a Colorado River workshop from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Tuesday, May 19, at the Pueblo Convention Center.

A meeting of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) will commence on May 19 at 10:15 a.m. and continue through Wednesday, May 20. This meeting will be held at the Pueblo Convention Center, 320 Central Main St., Pueblo, CO 81003. To view the agenda, visit

The CWCB Board and the Agriculture Commission Board will hold a joint meeting from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 20, at the Pueblo Convention Center.

The CWCB posts notices of its meetings 30-days from the next regular meeting. Notices of special meetings are posted on the Web site within five business days and not less than 24-hours of such a meeting. Notices of regular and special meetings may also be received by e-mail. To receive notices by e-mail visit:

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Ruedi Reservoir: Invasive mussels regulations

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From the Aspen Times (Janet Urquhart):

Ruedi, located east of Basalt, will see periodic inspections via one of several roving inspection and decontamination stations the Colorado Division of Wildlife will employ this summer. When the station is not operating at the Ruedi Creek boat ramp, on the west end of the reservoir, boaters will be on the honor system to make sure they’re complying with new state regulations aimed at halting the spread of zebra and quagga mussels…

In addition, gates and barriers will be installed in the ramp area to funnel traffic when the inspection station is present, he said. “We’re kind of just promoting the theme that boaters should expect to be inspected this year,” said Jerry Neal, public information officer for the Division of Wildlife. How frequently the roving station will be at Ruedi is difficult to say, but busy weekends are likely to be targeted, Kenealy predicted. “They’re basically going to be moving to different locations almost daily, Neal said. “It kind of depends on where we see the need.” A reservoir experiencing heavy boater activity may see the station remain in place for several days, he said.

New regulations this year require all out-of-state boaters to have their boat and trailer inspected before launching into any lake or waterway in Colorado, Neal said. In-state boaters who leave Colorado and return must also seek out an inspection. Also, any boat that has been in any Colorado reservoir where mussels have been detected must be inspected before launching at a new location. The new regulations are aimed at trailored watercraft. Hand-launched crafts such as canoes and kayaks are not considered a high risk for spreading mussels and may launch without an inspection…

Mandatory inspections and limited launch hours will also be in place for the first time at Turquoise Lake near Leadville and at Twin Lakes, located east of Aspen over Independence Pass. The inspections will take place from Memorial Day to Labor Day, said Jon Morrissey, Forest Service district ranger in Leadville. In addition, one of two ramps at each of those reservoirs will be closed, he said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

New Erie pipeline construction catching blame for flooding in Boulder County

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From the Boulder Daily Camera:

Last summer, as the snow began to melt and ditches began to flow with irrigation water, the people living along Valmont Road east of 75th Street noticed something strange. A large pool of standing water formed to the south of the road, where it stayed — an unwelcome mosquito breeding ground — until winter. At the same time, on the north side of the road, where groundwater had been plentiful, one neighbor’s well went dry and another’s pond evaporated, leaving a mess of dead fish. Now, Valmont’s “new swamp” has returned. Since no one can remember any of these things happening before, neighbors agree something has changed, and the obvious villain is the new Erie Pipeline, laid to the south of the road last spring…

Erie built the $15 million pipeline to bring a reliable supply of Colorado River water to town via the Boulder Reservoir, and town officials aren’t yet ready to take responsibility for the collage of groundwater problems on Valmont Road. Erie spokesman Fred Diehl said the town has met with Boulder County, which has jurisdiction over that area of Valmont Road, and both agree on four points: the water table in that area is quite high; the elevation is quite low; water comes to the surface when the nearby ditch begins to run in the spring; and the ditch is leaky. But as to whether the pipeline exasperated the already-high water table by creating an impermeable barrier — backing up the water on one side and drying out the soils on the other — Diehl would say only that “the town and our engineers are continuing to look into this matter.

Boulder County, while not actually saying Erie is at fault, points to a report on the standing water prepared by Centennial Engineering in Fort Collins, which concludes that “the installation of the water line altered the groundwater flow paths sufficiently that all the water leaking from Green Ditch could not pass the recently installed pipeline.”

Vail: Teva Mountain Games June 4-7

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From the Vail Insider:

The Teva Mountain Games, the nations largest mountain sporting event, returns to Vail June 4-7, 2009 for another four days of high-adrenline action and celebration of the outdoor lifestyle. The Games, acquired by the fine folks at the Vail Valley Foundation this winter, looks to be gearing up for its biggest year yet with a host of new cultural events and musical acts as well as the tried & true Teva traditions we’ve come to know and love. The event, arguably the biggest of the summer in Vail, can be a little daunting for the uninitiated, so here is Plum’s Teva Mountain Games 101 for making the most of the mountain sports events during your Teva experience…


The 2009 Teva Mountain Games will feature four kayaking events testing speed and agility, and competitors will need a healthy dose of both to secure a spot on the podium. The Steep Creek Championship will feature kayakers flying down a locals’ favorite, Homestake Creek, dropping 480 feet per mile while attempting to secure the fastest time. The 8 Ball Kayak Sprint is bumper cars meets Bullrun as kayakers power their way down Gore Creek and through fellow competitors. In addition to fellow sprinters, competitors will have to face 8 Ballers, fully-armored kayakers whose sole purpose in life is to impede the progress of the racers. If Teva Mountain Games has a full contact sport, this is it (read: American Gladiators). The Pro Kayak Freestyle is exactly what it sounds like – competitors will invade Vail Whitewater Park and throw their best and wildest tricks in an attempt to impress the judges, and crowd, and secure the most points possible. The Down River Sprint* will test competitors speed as they drop in (on practically anything that floats) in East Vail and race four miles to the International Bridge, with the top time taking the crown. The Pro Kayak Rodeo is far and away the most popular kayaking event, that routinely draws such kayaking luminaries as Eric Jackson as competitors. The crowds for this event will be thick, and if you want to view some of the best freestyle tricks make sure you show up to the Vail Whitewater Park early. The Steep Creek Championships are beyond thrilling, but are located outside of Vail at Homestake Creek, near Red Cliff. Trust us. They are well worth the short (and scenic!) trip up to Red Cliff. The 8 Ball Kayak Sprint and Down River Sprint are just downright entertaining. If you’re schedule is not too full up, you should make every attempt to view these events. As you may have been able to glean from this section, the kayaking events at Teva Mountain Games are fairly dominant. Be prepared for big excitement, and big crowds.


Did you know that Mark Thatcher, the inventor of the Teva sandal, was a former rafting guide AND that the inspiration for the sandal came from the lack of quality amphibious footwear at the time? Whether intentional or not, each year the Teva Mountain Games does their inventor proud with a classic rafting event. The 2009 Teva Mountain Games will feature the Teva Raft Paddlecross, a two-person raft race down Gore Creek through Vail Village where competitors will face Class II & III whitewater conditions as well as fellow racers. In Teva Raft Paddlecross, ramming is allowed and, in fact, probably encouraged. Think 8 Ball Kayak Sprint…but with battleships on stormy waters.

Click through for descriptions of other featured sports and video from last year’s events.

Runoff news

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The runoff is expected to peak in a couple of weeks or so, according to a report from David Frey writing for the Aspen Daily News. What a difference a year makes. Click on the thumbnail to the right to see a photo of last year’s spill at Crystal Reservoir (a rare occurence this century). Reclamation was releasing water in anticipation of a monster runoff in the Gunnison Basin. From the article:

This spring’s heavy runoff is due in part to late snows that pushed snowpack levels up above average in the Colorado River drainage and much of the state. It’s peaking early, said Dave Kanzer, senior water resources engineer for the Colorado River District, due partly to the dust storms that have coated the snow on area mountains, causing the snow to melt faster than usual. Officials have counted 12 different storms that have left area white-capped peaks with a distinctly reddish hue.

The Colorado River below Glenwood Springs was running at 10,700 cubic feet per second Wednesday afternoon, nearly double a week ago. The Roaring Fork River at Glenwood Springs was running at 3,940 cfs Wednesday afternoon, up from 2,000 cfs a week ago. Near Aspen it was running at 325 cfs.