MIT: Probabilistic forecast for 21st century climate based on uncertainties in emissions (without policy) and climate parameters

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From the Journal of Climate:

The MIT Integrated Global System Model is used to make probabilistic projections of climate change from 1861 to 2100. Since the model’s first projections were published in 2003 substantial improvements have been made to the model and improved estimates of the probability distributions of uncertain input parameters have become available. The new projections are considerably warmer than the 2003 projections, e.g., the median surface warming in 2091 to 2100 is 5.2°C compared to 2.4°C in the earlier study. Many changes contribute to the stronger warming; among the more important ones are taking into account the cooling in the second half of the 20th century due to volcanic eruptions for input parameter estimation and a more sophisticated method for projecting GDP growth which eliminated many low emission scenarios. However, if recently published data, suggesting stronger 20th century ocean warming, are used to determine the input climate parameters, the median projected warning at the end of the 21st century is only 4.1°C. Nevertheless all our simulations have a much smaller probability of warming less than 2.4°C, than implied by the lower bound of the IPCC AR4 projected likely range for the A1FI scenario, which has forcing very similar to our median project

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Rio Grande Reservoir: Expansion project final design stage

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Here’s an update on the San Luis Valley Irrigation District’s plans to enlarge Rio Grande Reservoir, from Alex Rice writing for The Mineral County Miner. From the article:

The final design stage is in the fourth of five phases of the project, which would expand the large reservoir approximately 20 miles southwest of Creede by 10,000 acre-feet. The fifth stage would include the expansion of the reservoir, which is near the headwaters of the Rio Grande…

Currently in the third phase, the district is looking at its Reservoir Allocation Enhancement Model, which deals with how to operate the reservoir once the expansion project is completed, specific to the needs of the district and its water users, along with compact and direct flow storage. Smith, also the chairman of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) and its representative on the Rio Grande Roundtable, said that this third phase will cost $100,000, and is being funded through the CWCB’s water supply reserve account. The district is currently consulting with the Colorado Division of Water Resources, the District 20 Water Commissioners, the Rio Grande Water Users Association, the Nature Conservancy and Trout Unlimited on the expansion project.

“It’s a 100-year-old reservoir, and it needs a fix,” Smith said when asked why the SLVID undertook the project in the spring of 2002. “It has physical repair issues that need to be addressed so you have a reservoir to meet the needs of the next 100 years.”

San Luis Valley: State engineer approves amendments to groundwater sub-district #1 management rules

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The state engineer has approved proposed changes to the management rules for the San Luis Valley’s groundwater sub-district #1. Here’s a report from Matt Hildner writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The revisions, posted (pdf) on the conservation district’s Web site Tuesday, include a revised plan of water management and appendices for an annual replacement plan, surface water credit calculation, an index of the subdistrict’s wells, budget plan and operational timelines. The replacement plan also includes provisions for the subdistrict to deliver water downstream when senior surface water users are curtailed under the Rio Grande Compact at a rate equal to or greater than the injurious depletions caused by pumping.

During a Tuesday hearing on the course of management for the September trial, Kuenhold ordered additional information be included on how the subdistrict plans to use the Rio Grande Decision Support System, a computer modeling program, to calculate depletions. He also agreed with the plan’s supporters to limit the issues that any new interveners in the case might raise, avoiding the risk of re-trying matters the court previously covered.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

CWCB awards grants for tamarisk removal

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The largest grant, $150,000, went to the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District’s Arkansas River Invasive Plants Plan, to provide demonstration projects on 985 acres of river area in Pueblo, Otero, Bent and Prowers counties. The grant request was for $200,000, which would go toward the estimated $500,000 cost of the program. “The four projects included in this proposal were prioritized due to a high potential of flooding, to provide good demonstration sites for control, restoration and maintenance methods and to show collaboration between the states of Kansas and Colorado in order to increase future federal funding,” wrote Jean Van Pelt, Southeastern’s conservation coordinator, in the application. The project areas include Fountain Creek through Pueblo; the Arkansas River through La Junta and Las Animas, where tamarisks have clogged the channel and increased the risk for flooding; and a large area to be sprayed by air between Holly and the Kansas state line, in cooperation with Kansas.

Another grant for $100,000 was approved for the Branson-Trinchera Conservation District to treat areas near Trinidad. The district had requested $200,000 as part of a $400,000 project to control tamarisk on mostly private land in the Purgatoire River watershed. The project would aim at removing tamarisk from lightly infested areas.

The final award was $75,000 for the Sangre de Cristo Resource Conservation and Development Council for areas within Fremont and Chaffee County. The group requested $131,000 toward a $375,000 project. The project calls for demonstration projects on 400 acres.

CWCB staffer Steve Miller will work with applicants to determine if the partial funding would allow the projects to move forward and report back to the board at its July meeting.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Gunnison County: Conservation easement win for rancher

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Gunnison County rancher Nick Hughes sued the IRS over their devaluation of his conservation easement and has won, mostly. He still will have to pay an additional $437,153 since the value of his land was determined to be less than the $3 million originally determined. Here’s a report from Seth Mensing writing for the Crested Butte News. From the article:

The IRS had audited Hughes after he filed his 2000 taxes with a $3.1 million charitable contribution for 2,413 acres he had donated to Black Canyon Land Trust Inc. The land was placed in a conservation easement to protect it from future development.
The IRS countered that the donated land was worth between $0 and $238,135, and not more than $3 million as claimed by Hughes, according to expert testimony from the IRS included in the ruling. But Judge Wherry disagreed and overruled the IRS, placing a value of $2 million on the land. Hughes will now have to pay taxes on the remaining $1.1 million. Hughes’ attorney Joseph Thibodeau told the Denver Post, “It was a given that the contribution was allowable. The only issue was the amount [the land was worth].”[…]

Lucy Goehl, executive director of Gunnison Ranchland Conservation Legacy, said there have been several audits of conservation easements conducted by the IRS in Gunnison County, “but they’re all over the state and Gunnison County is not exempt from that.”
The ruling pointed out that the IRS engineers evaluating conservation easements are not certified appraisers, who are the only professionals able to place a value on property donated as a conservation easement. “I think the fact that the court gave very little weight to the matrix the IRS was using in valuing the land makes this an encouraging decision,” said Goehl. In response to that part of the ruling, the IRS asked the Colorado Division of Real Estate to grant their engineers certified appraiser status.

Ann Johnston, executive director of Crested Butte Land Trust, thinks the ruling will have an indirect affect on the trust’s efforts to preserve open space by giving legitimacy to the idea that land held in a conservation easement still has value. “What I’m hoping will happen here is that when these programs in Colorado go through cases like this, it’s showing that the programs are valuable and it could encourage people to donate land,” she said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

CWCB: Potential Division 4 Instream Flow appropriations in 2010

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

The Stream and Lake Protection Section of the Colorado Water Conservation Board is meeting with interested parties to discuss recommendations received for potential Division 4 Instream Flow appropriations in 2010 on Alpine Gulch, Big Dominguez Creek, Blue Creek (increase), Cebolla Creek, Cochetopa Creek, East Beaver Creek, Little Dominguez Creek, North Tabeguache Creek, Red Canyon Creek, San Miguel River, Spring Creek, Tabeguache Creek, and Willow Creek.

Two separate public meetings are scheduled on May 27th to discuss the proposed recommendations.

9:00 AM to Noon
Montrose County Administration Building
BOCC Board Room
161 S. Townsend Ave
Montrose, CO 81401

5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Lake City School
614 North Silver St.
Lake City, CO 81235

The Stream and Lake Protection staff will provide a brief presentation on the ISF program as a background for the discussion. For additional information on these segments, please visit the CWCB’s website at: http://cwcb.state.co.us/StreamAndLake/NewAppropriations/ISFAppropriationNotices/2010ProposedAppropriations/2010Appropriations.htm

Questions about new appropriations may be directed to Jeff Baessler at 303-866-3441 ext 3202 or Jeffrey.Baessler@state.co.us

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Alamosa: Salmonella outbreak lawsuits

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From the Valley Courier (Ruth Heide):

The Marler Clark law firm out of Seattle, Wash., is handling most of the 40-plus claims for damages ranging from $100 to $1 million that the city received last year. None of the claims have yet turned into a lawsuit but claimants have up to two years from the March 2008 incident to file a lawsuit. The claims being handled by Marler Clark, in addition to a $1 million claim from Velasquez’s widow, involve claims for 14 minor children and seek upwards of $50,000 in damages per claimant.

Five other claims were submitted from folks not represented by Marler Clark – two family claims and three business losses attributed to the water crisis…

[City Attorney Erich Schwiesow] said in talking with the lead attorney on the phone recently, the attorney told Schwiesow he hoped the city would look at the information the firm had sent the city and think about paying off some of these people. “I told him I did not believe there’s negligence on the part of the city,” Schwiesow said. He said the attorney suggested otherwise…

In a drinking water report from the City of Alamosa this week the city told citizens that the new water treatment plant put into service last year to meet new arsenic standards and an ongoing enhanced testing program of Alamosa’s municipal supply would ensure that an outbreak like salmonella will not occur again. “The source of the contamination has not been determined and the investigation continues [to] identify possible ways in which it could have occurred,” the city report stated.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

CWCB: Wetlands grant at John Martin Reservoir, Neenoshe Reservoir and Fountain Creek

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The $148,975 grant to the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District was approved after the Arkansas Basin Roundtable gave it the nod in March. It is one of the few grants which has been awarded through the Water Supply Reserve Account for a strictly nonconsumptive use…

The grant also includes wetlands on Fountain Creek already being studied by the Lower Ark district through a cooperative project with Colorado Springs. They were included primarily to fulfill a requirement for local cost-share. The grant would include in-kind contributions from the Colorado Division of Wildlife and Audubon Colorado.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Republican River Basin: Special RRWCD board meeting recap

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Here’s a recap of the special board meeting held on Monday for the Republican River Water Conservation District, from Tony Rayl writing for the Yuma Pioneer. From the article:

Mike Sullivan, who was promoted to deputy state engineer last October, was in attendance at the special meeting, held at the Church of the Nazarene. He told the board the state has revamped a settlement agreement that is hopefully agreeable to all three states. Colorado’s leaders are having a private meeting with counterparts from Kansas and Nebraska today, May 21. He said Colorado will see if the other two states will accept what’s being offered. It possibly will be decided then when to continue the Republican River Compact Administration meeting that was continued from April 28, when Kansas and Nebraska representatives both stated they would continue to vote against the compact compliance pipeline due to issues the states cannot agree on. Sullivan said he feels good about a settlement eventually being reached, because Kansas and Nebraska cannot be unreasonable in their opposition to Colorado’s plans for coming into compliance with the Republican River Compact. A sticking point in Kansas approving the pipeline is the claim Colorado does not pass the “sub-basin” test on the South Fork of the Republican, and that a pipeline sending water into the North Fork will not satisfy the South Fork issue…

The RRWCD has taken the stance it will not move forward with the pipeline if the South Fork still remains a problem. Plus, there is the fact irrigated farmers along the South Fork are paying the same assessment fee as everyone else to pay for the pipeline, but could end up having their wells curtailed because of the sub-basin issue. If the wells in the South Fork sub-basin are shut down, which account for approximately one-half of Colorado’s wells in the Republican River Basin, that means the remaining well users will have to take on an even greater burden of paying for the pipeline project…

District engineer Jim Slattery said Monday draining Bonny is the only way to come into compliance on the South Fork — if Kansas is right in its assertion that the South Fork shortfall cannot be made up by the North Fork pipeline. Even, it would take years before Colorado would be in compliance on the South Fork. Sullivan said draining Bonny would help with the sub-basin test, but not on overall compliance. Board member Jack Dowell of Yuma told Sullivan that the state could recoup the revenue it loses from Bonny from other sources in the state, but that the farmers and communities in the region would be left high and dry with no chance to recoup losses if the wells are shut down so Bonny can remain open. Sullivan noted loans and grants have been used for work done at Bonny, and the state needs to make sure it does not hinder future efforts to receive federal funds before closing down Bonny…

Board President Dennis Coryell expressed frustrations that the RRWCD’s pipeline project has been delayed by nearly one year now because of the South Fork issue. Meanwhile, all irrigators are paying the new $14.50 per acre assessment fee for a pipeline that is not being built. He also noted the people in the basin are not getting much information from the state regarding the pipeline negotiations. He urged the state be as transparent as possible in the process so the locals can be informed…

Other discussion included options besides draining Bonny Reservoir. Sullivan said the only other is the “nuclear” option — shutting down all wells. (It has been shown even doing that would not get Colorado into compliance.) Reopening the compact also was brought up. Sullivan said doing so would mean it would have to be open to all parties, meaning even more entities could step in asking for a portion of the water. RRWCD legal counsel David Robbins said Colorado getting more water out of a renegotiated compact would mean convincing Kansas and Nebraska to give up water. He said Colorado would run the fundamental risk of ending up with even less water because the upstream states already are using all they are entitled to, and could very well seek more water out of a new compact…

Coryell noted that in an ag-driven economy, issues at Bonny Reservoir do not speak loudly. “It is not going to be a pretty thing if the South Fork wells are curtailed in order to keep open a facility that has seen its better days,” he said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Bonny Reservoir: Test release of 900 acre-feet

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From the Yuma Pioneer (Tony Rayl):

[State Engineer Dick] Wolfe ordered the release on May 4, and then ordered it stopped on May 11. About 900 acre feet was released during that time into the South Fork of the Republican River. The board was told at its regular meeting in April that there was an extra 3,992 acre feet of storage in Bonny. Therefore, many were left scratching their heads last week when the release was stopped while there was 3,000 acre feet left to drain. “We wanted to see what kind of response we got out of that (initial release),” Wolfe said. He explained the state did not want to release all the extra water only to find out it was not reaching the gage at Benkelman. It turns out that it was. In fact, approximately 50 percent of the released water was reaching Benkleman, which Wolfe said was very good…

Wolfe said it takes about two weeks to fully measure the impact the release is having a the gage. He said his office will meet with the Bureau of Reclamation on June 3 to evaluate the May 4-11 release and then decide when and if to release more of the “out of priority” water in Bonny…

He said the state could, conceivably, be in compliance with the Republican River Compact if the water released from Bonny keeps getting to Benkelman. However, he said there are a lot of factors to consider, noting that if Colorado experiences a wet year, the extra storage in Bonny would not be needed, and a lot of people would be questioning why the water was released. As for the RRWCD’s call to drain Bonny, Wolfe said “There are a lot of issues on the table to decide what to do long-term with Bonny.”

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Invasive mussels: Boat launch closures Arapahoe National Recreation Area

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From the Sky-Hi Daily News:

Three boat launches in the Arapaho National Recreation Area are closed to trailered or motorized boats from May 15 through Oct. 31, 2009. The boat launches affected are: the two Willow Creek Reservoir boat launches, limiting the reservoir to hand-launched vessels such as kayaks, rafts, canoes and belly boats and the Hilltop boat launch located at the north end of Shadow Mountain Reservoir…

The Hilltop boat launch will be temporarily opened from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on two Saturdays, May 30 and June 6, to assist boaters in launching their boats for the season. All boats must be inspected prior to launching. The nearest boat inspection station to the Hilltop boat launch is located at the Town of Grand Lake’s public boat ramp on the north end of Grand Lake. Boats can also be inspected and decontaminated at the Green Ridge Boat launch located at end of Shadow Mountain Reservoir. Green Ridge boat launch will be open for boat launching and retrieval throughout the summer.

For more information about these closures, please call Sulphur Ranger District Visitor Information at 970-887-4100 or visit our website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/arnf/.

Sterling: Children’s Water Festival

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Here’s a recap of Tuesday’s Children’s Water Festival up at Northeastern Junior College, from Callie Jones writing for the Sterling Journal Advocate. From the article:

This year’s offerings included a presentation by Rebecca Swisher and Gus Cummings from Xcel Energy, who spoke about water and electricity.

There was also a marine biology class led by Jennifer Talagrad, from the University of Colorado, where students got to learn about various life forms that can be found in the ocean, including sharks, whales, octopus, star fish and corral. They also got to see different types of sand.

Another class, Weather Works, offered students a chance to learn about how water is related to weather. During this class, students got to watch Anitta Frank from CU perform several different experiments, including creating a cloud.

In the “Earth Parfaits” class, led by Bruce Bosley from the Colorado State University Logan County Extension office, the students did an experiment where they drilled for water. They used Sprite as an aquifer, ice cream as soil and sprinkles as contaminants and then used a straw to drill water.

The Water Festival committee that helped organize this year’s event included: Joe Frank, general manager of the LSPWCD; Gary Miller, Rick Fleharty and Deanna Eskew from the LSPWCD; and Steve Cramer from the Colorado State University Logan County Extension office.

Stimulus dough for Park Center Water District

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From the Cañon City Daily Record (Charlotte Burrous):

The Park Center Water District Board received good news Wednesday when it learned it was on the list for funding to drill a new well through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Located on BLM-administrated lands, the 80-year-old artesian well known as the Park Center Well developed a leak late last year. Since then, BLM and Park Center officials have been scrambling to solve the problem in order to accommodate the 4,000 water users in the Park Center Water District. “The BLM will coordinate the plugging of the old well with the drilling of the new one to minimize impacts to local water users,” said Royal Gorge field office manager Roy Masinton. “This should be possible unless the old well fails.”

More coverage from the Pueblo Chieftain (Tracy Harmon):

The artesian well is located on BLM land near Canon City and supplies water for the Park Center Water District. The district uses the water for fire suppression and for its 4,000 domestic users in North Canon…

As part of the replacement process, an environmental assessment is being conducted and should be complete by July. The drilling of the new well should be done by early 2010. Competitive bids will be sought. Exact cost of the replacement well will depend on the bids.

Yampa River Festival starts today, Paddling Life Pro Invitational Monday

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From the Steamboat Pilot & Today:

Now in its 29th year, the river festival has two purposes, Van De Carr said. The event shows locals and visitors all the recreational possibilities of the river; it also brings awareness to outside factors that can affect the water, [Peter] Van De Carr said. “I just think that there are a lot of issues with the river — the pumpback project and the discussion of user conflicts. … And everybody who loves the river, this is a time to rally and show support and see what some of the issues are,” he said. New to the festival this year are a river boarding demonstration, a presentation by paddling enthusiast Eugene Buchanan about his descent into Peru’s upper Colca Canyon, and an 18-and-younger kayak freestyle competition. Van De Carr describes river boarding as “paddling down the river on a surfboard.” A tube rodeo, scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, is back for a second year. Competitors hang on to a tube in a rough part of the river for as long as possible and are judged for ride duration and style. The tube rider with the most points wins $100. Van De Carr said he hopes the festival will propel the cause behind Respect the Yampa, a coalition of groups formed earlier this spring to advocate for the environment of the river, people who use it and private landowners who surround it.

From the Steamboat Pilot & Today (Joel Reichenberger):

Competitors first will race on Fish Creek, starting at 10 a.m. The action at Charlie’s Hole will start at 1 p.m. Each paddler will get a crack at laying out tricks in Steamboat’s signature boating feature.

This year’s competition will feature a new scoring system. Last year, a panel of judges awarded one point for a trick and allocated other points based on quality and variety. This year, the judges will follow a more widely accepted standard, wherein different amounts of points are awarded for different tricks. “It’s a better way and more accurately gives points based on what they do out there,” freestyle supervisor Dan Piano said.

Organizers hope Monday’s event fits in with what is a wild few weeks in Colorado for the kayaking world. It comes just after a big event at Buena Vista and before major competitions in Glenwood Springs and Vail.

Fryingpan-Arkansas Project: Colorado congressional reps to hold town hall meeting over Aurora’s long-term contract with Reclamation

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U.S. Representatives Betsy Markey, John Salazar and Ed Perlmutter all plan to be in the Arkansas Valley next week hosting town hall meetings to discuss potential legislation to allow Aurora to continue using the Fryingpan-Arkansas facilities to move water out of basin. Here’s a report from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

U.S. Reps. Betsy Markey and John Salazar will host a town hall meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Room 139 of the Bowman Building at Lamar Community College. Salazar and Rep. Ed Perlmutter will host a second town hall meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Gobin Community Center in Rocky Ford. All three are Democrats…

Aurora has used the Fry-Ark Project to move water out of the valley with one-year contracts since 1986. The Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District protested the practice as illegal up until 2003, when it signed an agreement with Aurora that paid the district $25 million. Southeastern unsuccessfully tried to convince federal lawmakers for the next four years to change federal law to allow Aurora to use the Fry-Ark Project and remains committed to support federal legislation allowing the contract. In March, Salazar said he was caught off-guard by the Lower Ark-Aurora agreement and wanted to hear opinions about any potential legislation from Arkansas Valley residents at town meetings. He indicated he did not support legislation at that time. Markey and Perlmutter have not publicly said where they stand. In April, the Lower Ark and Aurora sent proposed legislation to members of the Colorado congressional delegation that attached the authorization for Aurora to a proposal to study the feasibility of enlarging Lake Pueblo and Turquoise Lake as well as studying other water storage sites in the Arkansas Valley. The legislation also would allow excess-capacity storage contracts to water users in the Arkansas Valley that are not within the boundaries of the Southeastern district. Pueblo City Council voted to support the legislation at an April meeting, saying it preserves flows in Pueblo through 2004 intergovernmental agreements. The excess-capacity contracts are included in separate federal legislation, already signed by President Barack Obama, that would allow the Arkansas Valley Conduit to be built. The agreement also pledges Aurora’s cooperation in the Super Ditch, either as a buyer or seller of water through the land fallowing-lease management program. It also allows the Lower Ark district to buy into future Aurora water storage projects in the Arkansas Valley. Aurora also is committed to pay $2 million for Super Ditch and Fountain Creek studies under the March agreement.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Runoff news

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From the Aspen Times (Scott Condon):

An estimated 64,200 acre feet of water from the upper Fryingpan Valley will be pumped through the Boustead Tunnel this year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. That’s about 34 percent higher than the annual average, but significantly less than last year’s amount…

A network of 17 diversion structures and 27 miles of tunnels taps water from 11 creeks and two branches of the Fryingpan River and sends the water east, according to reclamation bureau data. It is distributed to Colorado Springs, Aurora, Pueblo as well as farmers and other water users in the Arkansas River Valley.

Despite the diversion, Ruedi Reservoir, east of Basalt, will fill to capacity by about the second week of July this summer, the same as last year, according to Carlos Lora, a hydrologist with the reclamation bureau, which manages the reservoir. The U.S. Forest Service boat ramp just past the dam is already in water. The ramps at the Aspen Yacht Club and the east end of the reservoir will be in water by early June and remain until late September, Lora told a small audience that gathered in Basalt Thursday evening to learn about Ruedi Reservoir operations this year.

From the Summit Daily News (Bob Berwyn):

Just upstream of Dillon Reservoir, the Blue River was flowing at 407 cubic feet per second recently, compared to the 51-year median average of 182 cfs. A gauge on Ten Mile Creek was reading 556 cfs Wednesday morning, compared to the historic average of 299 cfs for the date…

Denver Water recently announced it will start to release more water from Dillon Reservoir as it anticipates peak runoff. Flows below the dam in the Lower Blue reached about 500 cfs Wednesday, according to a press release from Denver Water.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

As projected, we did hit a peak release of 750 cfs from Ruedi Dam to the Fryingpan [May 20] morning. Combined with snowmelt coming down Rocky Fork Creek, approximately 800 cfs flowed down the Fryingpan River through the day.

[May 21] we began curtailing our releases and scaled back by 50 cfs. We will continue to reduce releases from the reservoir to the river in 50 cfs increments through tomorrow morning. By tomorrow (Friday, May 22), releases from Ruedi should be at about 500 cfs with resulting flow in the Fryingpan around 550 cfs, or possibly a little less, depending on the contribution of Rocky Fork. We anticipate the 500 cfs release rate will last through the weekend.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

As part of our participation in the Coordinated Reservoir Operations program (press release and explanation included in last Thursday’s e-mail), we are increasing our releases from Green Mountain to the Lower Blue by another 200 cfs. [May 19] we bumped up from 750 cfs to 850 cfs. Around 4 p.m. [May 19], we will bump up from 850 cfs to 950 cfs.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

The following is another update on releases from Ruedi Reservoir and our participation in the Coordinated Reservoir Operations program, or “CROS.” The main message is that we are still planning to hit 800 cfs in the Fryingpan, but it will not last as long as we originally thought. More explanation follows. I have numbered the points for quicker reading.

1) Please keep in mind that we closely monitor the reservoir. Because of changing weather patterns and water demands, our projection for releases from Ruedi to the Fryingpan River are subject to change. I do my best to keep you all informed via this e-mail notification.

2) We bumped up our releases from Ruedi Dam to the Fryingpan River by 50 cfs this morning, raising our release from 600 cfs to 650 cfs. This afternoon, we will bump up from 650 cfs to 700 cfs. Currently, the Rocky Fork is contributing 50 cfs in snowmelt runoff. Our release plus flows from the Rocky Fork will put a total of about 750 cfs in the Fryingpan by late afternoon.

3) Tomorrow morning (Wednesday, May 20), we will bump up 50 cfs one more time to 750 cfs. With runoff from the Rocky Fork, the total in the Fryingpan River will be 800 cfs.

4) Ruedi Reservoir will fill this year.

The release schedule that is currently in place is due to our participation in CROS. Both a press release and an explanation of this program were included in my e-mail last Thursday. Several of you commented about the current water level at Ruedi Reservoir. I understand your concern. So, to clarify:

5) We only participate in CROS in years where we have enough snowmelt to both fill the reservoir and help augment the natural peak of the Colorado River.

6) The 800 cfs flow in the Fryingpan will NOT go through Memorial Day weekend as first projected. This is due to a change in the snowpack across the Colorado River Basin. Instead, the 800 cfs in the Fryingpan will only last a day. That means by Wednesday evening, we will begin scaling releases from the reservoir back down, in 50 cfs increments.

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan:

Water levels on the Poudre River have risen from 300 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 1,500 cfs in just one week.

Update: From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

… today flows in the Fryingpan are in the 500 cfs range. They will be in the 400 cfs range for Saturday, 300 for Sunday and back to 250 cfs for Memorial Day. We will maintain a flow of 250 cfs in the Fryingpan until further notice.

Colorado Springs Utilities installing smart grid technology

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From the Colorado Springs Gazette (R. Scott Rappold):

Colorado Springs Utilities officials say they already have the equipment in place to launch a smart grid here. And there’s an 85 percent chance it’s already in your home. “There’s a lot of hype going around the country about smart grid technology,” said Gina McCurley, manager of Utilities’ Advanced Metering Infrastructure program. “What we’re doing here today is basically putting our smart grid program together.” The city-owned utility has spent $56 million since 2006 installing automated meters for gas, electric and water service in homes and businesses. They have 80,000 remaining of a total of 450,000 in the city. Officials hope to connect all residents by the end of this year and all businesses by the end of 2010. In most cases, workers can make the switch without contacting the resident, though they must gain access to the home to install some water meters, McCurley said. The switch has allowed Utilities to reduce the number of meter readers from 77 to 11, which will eventually drop to zero, a cost savings. The automated meters could also someday be tied into a tiered rate structure for electricity and natural gas, charging more for use during peak times and less during off-peak hours.