Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program: Memorial Day weekend coordinated water releases

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Here’s some background on the coordinated release from six dams in the Upper Colorado River Basin designed to provide an approximation of historical spring streamflows to improve habitat for the endangered natives in the river system, from Mark Jaffe writing for the Denver Post. From the article:

The releases from Granby, Ruedi, Windy Gap, Williams Wolford Mountain, Dillon and Green Mountain reservoirs are designed to replicate spring peak flows on the Colorado before the dams were built. “This is a valuable step in in helping to restore these endangered species,” said Angela Kantula, assistant director of the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program.

The extra water will flush sediment and build sandbars to improve the mating habitat for four endangered fish species — the Colorado pikeminnow, the bonytail, razorback sucker and the humpback chub — along a 15-mile stretch of the river near Grand Junction. The releases raised the flow of the river about 15 percent, to a peak of 20,000 cubic feet per second, according to the recovery program. Although the reservoir release program was developed in 1995, there has only been enough water in the reservoirs for the releases in five years, Kantula said…

The releases, which began in mid- May, sent a cue to fish that it was mating season, along with cleaning the riverbed cobbles, where the eggs are laid, and creating sandbars, behind which pockets of calm water offer habitat for the fry, Kantula said…

Between 1989 and 2008, $187 million has been spent on the recovery program, with about 80 percent coming from the federal government and funds from hydropower generators. Colorado has contributed $16 million.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Pueblo West Metropolitan District: Sessions on proposed Southern Delivery System

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (James Amos):

Pueblo West Metropolitan District board members will discuss several items in open session before going behind closed doors Tuesday to talk with lawyers about negotiations over Colorado Springs’ water pipeline. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the district’s headquarters, 109 E. Industrial Blvd.

Pueblo West, which wants water from the pipeline, has sued Pueblo County over whether it should have to contribute water to a separate program that allows water to run through Pueblo’s kayak course in the Arkansas River. Other pipeline participants have pledged to supply water, but Pueblo West did not and argues that it can’t be forced to now.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District: Conservation plan public showing

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From the Steamboat Pilot & Today (Blythe Terrell):

They’re sharing a wide-ranging water conservation plan with the public this week. Their first goal is to slash peak water use in the Steamboat Springs area by 10 percent by 2015. Lyn Halliday, principal of Environmental Solutions Un limited, has worked with city officials and the Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District to create a plan to hit that goal. The team will show the plan to the public and seek feedback Wednesday at Centennial Hall…

The 63-page plan serves a couple of purposes, said Jay Gallagher, general manager of Mount Werner Water. Water officials want to be able to respond to water emergencies such as droughts or wildfires. Also, the Colorado Water Conservation Act requires entities that supply at least 2,000 acre-feet of water a year to have a conservation plan…

The plan includes asking people not to water outside between the hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and to use landscaping that doesn’t require much water. It includes stages with more severe conservation measures to be put in place during water emergencies. Gallagher; Halliday; Public Works Director Philo Shelton; Joe Zimmerman, water and sewer systems supervisor; and Senior City Planner Bob Keenan put together the plan, which they presented to the Steamboat Springs City Council in April. Wednesday’s event will include an open house that starts at 4 p.m. The plan creators will do a presentation at 5 p.m.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.