Here’s a recap of yesterday’s riverboarding demo at the Yampa River Festival, from Joel Reichenberger writing for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. From the article:
On Saturday, as [Danny Tebbenkamp] demonstrated the boards at the Yampa River Festival, it led to a seemingly endless line of questions from perplexed onlookers. Tebbenkamp first refers to a riverboard as a “boogie board that helps an adventure-minded soul ride the river.” Put away that first thought, though — these boards bear nothing in common with the thin panel of Styrofoam available for $2 on beaches across the world. The devices look more like a kneeboard meant to be dragged behind a boat than a traditional boogie board. A plethora of handles offer enough places to grab hold, and the boards are plenty light enough to haul around and buoyant enough to survive the rushing water of the Yampa.
In a week, the river level at the Poudre Canyon has jumped from about 300 cubic feet per second to a peak of about 1,600 cfs, driven by fast-melting snow and recent rains. Based on 127 years of historical data from the Colorado Division of Water Resources, the river averages about 1,200 cfs this time of year.
From the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dave Buchanan):
Water flow data from the U.S. Geological Service shows the Gunnison dropping faster than the Rockies’ playoff hopes. Flows that climbed as high as 5,400 cfs a week ago from Crystal Dam have fallen to 1,890 cfs by mid-afternoon Friday, with more reductions on the way.
The water in the Big Thompson in Loveland was flowing at an average of 373 cubic feet per second, said Kevin Johnston with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management team. Normally this time of the year, the average is close to 100 cfs, Johnston said. Kara Lamb with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said water levels on the river below Olympus Dam east of Estes Park were as high as 250 cubic feet per second, but they will drop to about 175 this weekend…
Carter Lake is about full and will remain so over the weekend, according to numbers provided by Lamb. The water at Horsetooth Reservoir is a foot higher than it was at this time a year ago, and it will continue to climb this weekend, Lamb said.
Ginn Development, which plans to build Battle Mountain Ski Resort near Minturn, bid $30.48 million for the ditch in February. The bid was accepted by the water board. Ginn indicated in its bid that it would pay the full amount as soon as a contract is finalized. The city of Aurora bid less for the ditch, but will have 60 days to match the offer in the final contract under an earlier agreement signed with the Pueblo water board. Ginn and the water board have agreed on terms for the purchase and barring any unforeseen changes in the next week should be able to sign a contract, said Alan Hamel, executive director of the water board…
The Columbine Ditch was constructed 13 miles north of Leadville on Fremont Pass in 1931 to bring agricultural water into the Arkansas Valley from the Eagle River basin. The Pueblo water board purchased it in 1953. The ditch would yield about 1,300 acre-feet annually under limits in water court decrees, although its average yield to date has been 1,700 acre-feet per year. The amount of water that can be brought over is limited by 20- and 60-year caps. The water also comes mainly during the spring, and must be stored in order to be used by Pueblo. Ginn would be able to use the water rights within the Eagle River basin.
The state is proposing the rules to ensure that irrigation improvements using surface supplies – sprinklers, ditch lining or pipes – don’t increase consumptive use. If they do, supplies to downstream users within the state and across the Kansas border could be reduced, raising the specter of more legal action over the Arkansas River Compact. The rules would cover improvements made in the Arkansas Valley since 1999, when Kansas and Arkansas reached agreement on historic consumptive use – the amount of water crops consume. The last committee meeting will be at 1 p.m. June 22 at the Pueblo Board of Water Works conference room, [State Engineer Dick Wolfe] said. By then, Kansas will have reviewed the rules a second time, and the state can consider those comments along with the concerns of in-state irrigators…
The state is not relying on the data from 40-50 years ago that was used in the Kansas v. Colorado lawsuit to build the new computer model for changes in consumptive use for surface irrigation improvements, Wolfe said. The state is using data from a lysimeter – a mechanical means of measuring how much water is used to grow a crop – and studying weather patterns to fine-tune the model accepted by both states in the Kansas v. Colorado lawsuit. Wolfe bristled at the notion that the problem is a small one. “Yes, it’s only 1,000 acre-feet now, but we want these rules in place as we move forward so people have certainty,” Wolfe said. “We’re trying to avoid another compact violation, as we have continued to point out.”
The state has proposed two basic ways to account for how water use changes when improvements are added. The first would require farmers to show how they have reduced acreage or are bypassing flows to account for higher consumptive use because of increased efficiency. The second are blanket plans that cover wider areas using models to account for impacts over entire ditch systems or laterals.
Here’s an update on the recall petition for Parker Water and Sanitation board members, from Chris Michlewicz writing for the Parker Chronicle. From the article:
Transparency Advocates for Parker Water and Sanitation filed an appeal earlier this month to have a Douglas County District Court judge review whether there was a legal basis for throwing out the petition, which contained more than 500 signatures. Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Jack Arrowsmith ruled that false or misleading information was used when the group was circulating the petition. Now the Transparency Advocates are challenging the grounds for the dismissal because they say county officials misinterpreted the scope of their duties. “It pains me to point the finger at Jack Arrowsmith because I think he relied on faulty legal advice,” said Merlin Klotz, a member of the recall group.
In one claim, TAPWS did not accuse the water board members of legal wrongdoing, but rather suggested that they violated the public trust by circumventing Colorado’s open meetings law. The law requires public notice when three or more board members meet to discuss business. Some board members have admitted to speaking individually with one another about rescinding a water rate increase that was approved in December. The group says Arrowsmith should not have reviewed the allegation and dismissed the petition because his ruling stated that the evidence was insufficient to prove that the law was broken.
Arrowsmith could have scheduled a recall election that enables the public to decide whether four out of the five Parker Water and Sanitation District board members should be unseated…
The petitioners said Arrowsmith also failed to notify the recall petition targets on the day the petition was approved. The letters to the board members about the approval were dated March 11, four weeks later than required by law.
In its appeal to Douglas County District Court Judge Vincent White, TAPWS outlined several other examples of what it calls improper interpretations of the law when deciding to throw out the petition, which was submitted in February. Klotz said the clerk and county attorneys might have used the dismissal to cover up possible legal errors. County officials declined to address any specific allegations in the pending case. Arrowsmith dismissed the petition April 23 after finding that information on the opposition group’s Web site could have unfairly swayed the opinions of those who signed it. TAPWS maintains that the information was accurate.