Happy Fathers Day

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Happy Fathers Day to all you fathers out there — you know who you are.

Things are shaping up well so far. I spent an hour on the phone with Hellchild. I get a bike ride downtown later. Beaver and Goober should be over later — just in time to smother everything in sight with Mrs. Gulch’s renowned green chile.

Update: There’s cherry pie also!

Energy policy — oil and gas: New Castle town council taking hard look at Antero Resources produced water injection well

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From the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:

Acting at the direction of the Town Council, council member Art Riddile raised the issue with the Denver-based energy company at a recent meeting of the Garfield County Energy Advisory Board. “Our immediate concerns were the possibility of truck traffic going through our town, plus the possibility of hazardous spills and then watershed issues,” Riddile said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Great Lakes: US and Canada to ‘update’ the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement?

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Circle of Blue:

The United States and Canada decided Saturday to update a key agreement that protects the Great Lakes from invasive species, climate change and other threats to the fresh water system, Associated Press reported. In a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, together with Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, said the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, which was last amended in 1987, was no longer adequate. “[The treaty] is a living instrument of our cooperation and partnership,” Clinton said during a press conference. “It has provided an effective framework for the last 100 years, but now we have to take stock of where we are and how we’re going to be proceeding with confidence and effectiveness into the future.” The agreement pledges the United States and Canada to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem. Since its signing in 1972, levels of pollutants have dropped, and species like the bald eagle have made a comeback.

Circle of Blue: Google Brings Water Data to Life

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Circle of Blue:

With all the power of 21st century collaboration technology, nothing to date has tamed the massive amounts of disparate water information locked away in diverse database systems. But that may have changed last week when Google Labs launched Fusion Tables, a powerful new online research and data organizing tool that makes it much easier to share and navigate the world’s digital science and technical archives.

Fusion Tables, which was developed by Google engineers using sample research data about the global fresh water crisis provided by the Pacific Institute and Circle of Blue, is specifically designed to unlock a treasure trove of facts, trends, and scientific findings that until now have been sequestered in databases and spreadsheets not easily shared.

The new Google technology provides users a rare opportunity to share critical data, probe them, organize pertinent information and generate design elements — charts and graphs — that translate complex information into much more digestible trends. The intent is to enable online collaborators to study and understand in new dimensions the world’s complex problems — the fresh water crisis among them — discern the salient details and organize those scientifically confirmed facts. They can be used to tell stories, offer insights, and propose solutions that heretofore were largely the purview of scholars and scientific experts.

Thanks to Loretta Lohman for the link.

Aspen to collect pharmaceuticals

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From the Aspen Times:

The city is organizing its first Pharmaceutical Take-Back, offering an environmentally conscious way for residents to dispose of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications. The event will take place Thursday, June 25 at Connor Park, behind Aspen City Hall, from 3 to 7 p.m. It’s free and open to Aspen residents.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

S. 787: Clean Water Restoration Act

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Here’s a release from Trout Unlimited:

For immediate release
June 18, 2009

For more information:

Melinda Kassen, (303) 440-2937, x 100, mkassen@tu.org

Bruce Farling, (406) 543-0054, bruce@montanatu.org

Steve Moyer, (703) 284-9406, smoyer@tu.org

Clean Water Restoration Act moves forward

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Thursday approved the Clean Water Restoration Act, a move hailed by conservation and sportsmen groups.

“This is a great step forward in restoring common sense protection to our nation’s waterways and wildlife habitat,” said Trout Unlimited Chief Operating Officer Chris Wood.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

CWRA would restore the original intent of the Clean Water Act, which in recent years has been weakened by Supreme Court rulings that distorted the language of the law and drastically reduced its scope. The resulting legal confusion has stripped Clean Water Act protections from some 20 million acres of wetlands and millions of miles of streams.

A number of the bill’s critics claim that it overreaches and vastly expands federal jurisdiction. Ranking Committee Member Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK, declared that rural America should “watch out” for the Clean Water Restoration Act, and called it “the biggest bureaucratic power grab in a generation.”

Critics’ sensationalist claims bear little relation to reality. When given the facts about CWRA, farmers, ranchers, sportsmen and others who care about stewardship of rural America’s land and water are supporting this responsible legislation.

Fact: Senate Environment and Public Works committee members, including Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Chairwoman Barbara Boxer of California, have worked hard in recent weeks to meet the concerns of rural stakeholders about the CWRA. The resulting compromise language has cleared up confusion about the CWRA’s impact on rural areas.

As a statement by the Montana Grain Growers Association puts it, “Senator Baucus’ substitute amendment addresses several concerns of production agriculture and makes it explicitly clear that this bill will not expand the scope of jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act beyond the original intent of Congress.”

Fact: Critics portray CWRA as a federal power grab, but the bill merely restores the protections that our nation’s waterways enjoyed for more than a quarter century, before recent misguided Supreme Court rulings stripped protections from millions of miles of streams. A key clarification at the heart of the bill—changing the phrase “navigable waters” to “waters of the United States”—follows the interpretation long used by the Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency for decades.

Fact: The Clean Water Restoration Act would not apply to any water body that was not historically covered under the Clean Water Act for more than 25 years, prior to the 2001 Supreme Court SWAANC decision. The Clean Water Act did not apply to gutters, puddles or other insignificant accumulations of water—and neither would the Clean Water Restoration Act.

Moreover, the Clean Water Restoration Act preserves all existing agricultural exemptions under the law, such as for return flows and construction and maintenance of irrigation ditches and farm ponds.

“Rural America can live with the Clean Water Restoration Act – because rural America already has lived with and benefited from these protections for decades,” said Melinda Kassen, director of TU’s Western Water Project.

Fact: About 60 percent of America’s streams are intermittent and could lose protection without the CWRA—these same streams are a drinking water source for more than 110 million Americans, in rural and urban areas alike.

Hunters, anglers and other outdoors enthusiasts have lined up to support CWRA. Field and Stream magazine recently called CWRA passage a top legislative priority for sportsmen, citing its protection of “temporary and isolated wetlands, among the most important habitats for waterfowl and a host of other wildlife.”

“The CWRA compromise bill approved Thursday is pragmatic, balanced legislation that protects America’s rivers and streams while preserving existing farm and ranch operations,” said Steve Moyer, vice president of government affairs at Trout Unlimited. “This is a bill that rural America can support.”

A majority of Americans surveyed in a recent Gallup poll indicated that they worry “a great deal” about the water quality of our nation’s streams and rivers. They don’t want to go back to a past when our country’s rivers and streams were dumping grounds for pollution.

The CWRA will help ensure that our nation’s rivers and streams remain clean, swimmable and fishable.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Tom Tidwell named to lead U.S. Forest Service

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From the Denver Post:

Montana forester Tom Tidwell is the new head of the U.S. Forest Service. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday that Tidwell will replace Gail Kimbell, who had led the Forest Service since 2007. Tidwell is a 32-year Forest Service employee and now supervises national forests through northern Idaho, Montana and the Dakotas.

Montezuma County: Goodman point residents approve new water district

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Some Colorado residents still have to haul water. Here’s a report on efforts to end the need down in Montezuma County from Kristen Plank writing for the Cortez Journal. From the article:

An election was held Tuesday at the Montezuma County Courthouse. Property owners and residents of the Goodman Point area voted whether or not to form their own district. People who live in the Goodman Point area have to haul water from a water filling station beside Cortez City Park and back home again, a distance that can reach 15 miles one way. Residents hope to have their own water system installed. Roughly 70 percent of the area’s residents showed up for the special election. Every single resident voted “yes” to forming their own water district, Goodman Point Water Association President J.R. Berry said. “It was fantastic,” he said. “It was the next big step for us. We’re 90 percent of the way there.”

Voters also elected the water district’s board of directors, which includes Berry, Rodney L. Evans, Wanda Shorelene Oliver, Linda Carter and Teri Chappell.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be $1.1 million, but approximately $300,000 of that has already been funded through grants, Berry said. The next step is to get a bond written and find a purchaser to fund the construction. The bond issue or mill levy, which will generate the rest of the construction money, will come up in front of the Goodman Point residents in the November election. Montezuma Water Co. is beginning to look into construction plans for the project. Plans include connecting 11 miles of water line, with hydrants, to Montezuma Water Co.’s 4-inch pipeline on the eastern portion of Goodman Point. A 50,000-gallon water storage tank and a pump station also would be installed. Water would be pumped to 35 residences, and the system could service up to 200 homes, but additional residences would have to go through a separate permitting process…

Should the process move along without any kinks, construction will begin in spring 2010, Berry said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Northern Colorado Integrated Supply Project: New Colorado reservoir storage

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Here’s a look at the need for new storage to capture runoff in years like 2009, from Rebecca Boyle writing in the Greeley Tribune. From the article:

While NISP is not nearly as complex as the [Colorado-Big Thompson], it, too, involves two rivers, multiple pipelines and new reservoirs located along the Great Hogback and on the Great Plains.

In the NISP version of this story, our drops of water fall as snow at Cameron Pass, later melting into a tributary of the main Poudre River. Along the way, they would avoid being caught in Long Draw, Halligan and Seaman reservoirs, and they would help buoy kayakers and trout making their way through the Poudre River Canyon. The drops of water would travel along the state’s only federally designated Wild and Scenic river, all the way to the canyon mouth. There, they would enter the North Poudre Supply Canal, an existing structure that would be augmented to fill a brand-new reservoir north of Ted’s Place, near the intersection of U.S. 287 and Colo. 14 northwest of Fort Collins. The new reservoir, called Glade, would require the relocation of U.S. 287 and would be slightly bigger than Horsetooth Reservoir to the south. Only when the Poudre carries extra water — like it is right now — could our drops make their way into Glade Reservoir.

Glade’s companion, Galeton Reservoir, built near the town that shares its name, would allow that to happen. The Larimer & Weld Canal and the New Cache Canal both take water off the Poudre near Fort Collins — the latter south of the town, close to Windsor, and the former north of the city, near Laporte. But Glade would take about one-fourth of that water before the canals’ headgates, so the canal owners would have to be reimbursed somehow. Galeton would fill with extra South Platte River water, to which the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District owns a very junior water right. It would fill in the winter, perhaps, or during very wet years. Two pipelines, called the South Platte Water Conservation Project, would be built to bring water from Galeton back to those two canals. The pipeline would meet the Larimer & Weld Canal near Ault, and the New Cache Canal would fill up in an area between Greeley and Eaton. “We will deliver the remaining one-fourth back to (the canal owners) from Galeton,” said Brian Werner, spokesman for Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District. “Everybody else has to get satisfied before we take the water.”

He noted that during a wet spring like this past one, everybody is already satisfied and there’s plenty of extra water in the Poudre. “None of the ditch companies are taking water right now. It’s going past us; no farmers are taking it,” Werner said. Last week, 3,000 cubic feet of water per second crossed the Colorado-Nebraska state line in the South Platte River. The state is only required to send over 200 cubic feet per second. “This is water that we’re losing to Nebraska right now that the state has rights to,” Werner said. “There is nowhere else to put it. This is a good year to illustrate why we want to have the storage.”

More coverage from the Greeley Tribune (Rebecca Boyle):

Without the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, “Big Tom,” debates about the proposed Glade Reservoir project northwest of Fort Collins would be moot — there probably wouldn’t be anyone demanding that extra water, because there would never have been enough to stay here in the first place. The C-BT cost $164 million in the 1950s, when a new home cost less than $4,000. The water it carries would be worth more than $3 billion on today’s market, according to one estimate from the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District. “It wouldn’t be built today,” said Neil Grigg, a longtime water resources professor at Colorado State University and the rivermaster of the Pecos River. The sheer magnitude would render it nearly impossible, both financially and politically, he said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

New reservoirs east of Pueblo?

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Here’s a look at new proposed water storage east of Pueblo, from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

John Sliman, owner of Southwest Farms, and Bob Beltramo, who operates the Blue Grass gravel pits just going in on the property, want to develop 13,000 acre-feet of storage on the property, located near 39th Lane and U.S. 50…

The proposed reservoirs are in the same area as Stonewall Springs, a project by Colorado Springs developers Mark and Jim Morley that would also provide storage. Both projects are similar in concept because they could be gravity-fed from the Excelsior Ditch and would involve storage of water from rights owned by third parties, rather than direct purchase of water rights. The Arkansas Valley Groundwater Users Association, a well-augmentation group, owns about 54 percent of the ditch, while the Morleys have 46 percent.

The area has long been eyed by the partners in the Recovery of Yield program set up under the 2004 intergovernmental agreement among Pueblo, the Pueblo Board of Water Works, Colorado Springs, Fountain, Aurora and the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District. The group needs storage downstream of Pueblo Reservoir to capture flows that are released from Pueblo Dam to maintain flows in the Arkansas River through Pueblo. Currently water is recaptured at Lake Meredith, largely owned by Colorado Springs and Aurora, and Holbrook Lake in Otero County. In 2005, the ROY partners considered buying the Stonewall Springs site near the Pueblo Chemical Depot from Dick Evans, but pulled out of the deal after an appraisal showed the asking price was too high. The Morleys bought it soon afterward. Others who would be interested in water storage in the area include the Arkansas Valley Super Ditch and some electric power generation start-up companies, Sliman and Beltramo said. They have had preliminary discussions with some of those who might be interested in using the site.

The Blue Grass sites – two 180-acre gravel licenses just south of U.S. 50 near 39th Lane – could begin their transformation into water storage reservoirs immediately if needed, Sliman said. “We have the ability to fast-track the project and for cell sizing,” Sliman said. Eventually, there is the possibility of developing up to 20,000 acre-feet of storage on the site, and Sliman thinks there would be enough demand to move forward with both the Blue Grass and Stonewall proposals.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Runoff news (snowpack news)

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The Boustead Tunnel, which brings Fry-Ark water into the valley, was still flowing heavily Thursday but starting to slow down. The melting snowpack was augmented by a week of rain showers in the mountains, [Roy Vaughan, Bureau of Reclamation manager for the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project] said. That means the rivers on the Western Slope are flowing at levels high enough to satisfy local demands and diversions into the Arkansas River basin can continue.

To date, more than 56,000 acre-feet of water have come into the tunnel through Boustead into Turquoise Lake. Storage in all three project reservoirs – Pueblo, Turquoise and Twin Lakes – is well above normal, but there is still room for nearly 20,000 acre-feet in the upper reservoirs. The imports are about 4,000 acre-feet higher than average and nearly to the level projected in early May. Projections have shifted after alternating wet and dry stretches this winter and spring, an early spring runoff and heavy late spring precipitation.

Wary of running into another shortfall like the one that occurred in 2008, the Southeastern district last month trimmed allocations of project water to about 29,500 acre-feet. The district had to repay the Pueblo Board of Water Works 5,000 acre-feet loaned last year to meet the district’s obligations.

From The Fairplay Flume (Debra Orecchio):

Five locations within [Park] county posted snowfalls last winter that ranged from 16 percent below average in Fairplay to 36 percent below average in Lake George. Lake George, in southeastern Park County, was also the only location of the five to have below-average snowfall in the winter of 2007-2008…

According to data on the National Weather Service Web site, the Bailey snowfall for this past winter of 2008-2009 year was 62.5 inches, which is 14.12 inches, or about 19 percent below average…

Snowfall in Antero, near Antero Reservoir in southwest Park County, was also below average. Only 38.5 inches of snow fell this past winter, which was 8.3 inches, or about 18 percent, below the 48-winter average of 46.83…

The Flume obtained data for Fairplay, in northwest Park County, that goes back only 21 winters. This past winter’s snowfall of 75.8 inches was 14 inches, or about 16 percent, below the 89.83-inch average over 21 winters…

The snowfall in Grant, which is 10 miles northwest of Bailey in northeast Park County, was 79.8 inches in the winter of 2008-2009, which was 15.5 inches, or 16 percent, below the 46-winter average of 95.3 inches per winter…

The Lake George area fared the worst this past winter for snowfall, getting 36 inches of snow. That was 36 percent below the 49-winter average of 56.28 inches.

FIBArk festival: Hooligan Race recap

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Tom Purfield):

The Hooligan Race, which features any type non-boating craft that daredevils attempt to float through the Salida Whitewater Park, is one of the premier events of the festival that’s in its 61st year. It’s popularity was surely evident, as an estimated 10,000 people lined the banks of the Arkansas River and the F Street Bridge on Saturday to witness the carnage and comedy that the Hooligan offers. “It’s really cool. The whole day is a fun time. I can’t think of anything I would have rather done with my Saturday,” Scott Taylor said. “All your fellow boaters, everybody who’s down here is wonderful people. It’s a great, positive experience and it makes me glad to be alive.”[…]

Jackson Kayak sponsored the Foam Boat World Championships on Saturday, and J.P. Griffith took the title. Kids crafted their own mini boats and kayakers out of foam and floated them down a creek that led to the Arkansas. There were downriver, freestyle and best of show categories. “It feels cool, I guess,” Griffith said. “I formed my foamie after the Jackson kayak, so that did well. I just got really big air.”

Southern Delivery System: Pueblo County D.A. opposes Corps permit over Fountain Creek concerns

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“Instead of prioritizing maintenance and repair of its existing infrastructure, Colorado Springs Utilities now wants to build a similar pipeline and infrastructure that will be vulnerable to the same problems that exist with its current infrastructure,” Thiebaut wrote in comments submitted to the Corps on Friday. “CSU should not be able to expand its water system until it has eliminated spills from its current system.”[…]

Thiebaut also is concerned about the additional volume of water that SDS would contribute to Fountain Creek, saying it would exacerbate existing water quality problems both for potential wastewater spills and through increased stormwater runoff. Along with the Sierra Club, Thiebaut sued Colorado Springs over sewer spills into Fountain Creek in 2005. Although a federal judge removed him from the case in 2007, Thiebaut has continued to challenge Colorado Springs during the Bureau of Reclamation’s environmental review and Pueblo County’s 1041 permit hearings…

In his statement to the Corps, Thiebaut contends Colorado Springs has not addressed concerns raised by environmental groups, the Colorado Water Quality Control Division and the Environmental Protection Agency during Reclamation’s review.

Meanwhile the Colorado Springs Stormwater Utility, Gold Hill Mesa and Department of Transportation are kicking off a $2.7 million effort along Fountain Creek, according to Danielle Leigh writing for the Colorado Connection. From the article:

They hope to reduce flooding and erosion, improve water quality by reducing pollution, and stabilize the overall condition of the creek and surrounding area. Through the mud, water, and plants, these volunteers fished out all the trash they could find during Saturday’s groundbreaking event…

In addition to picking up the junk, the storm water enterprise will be stabilizing the river bank. “There is so much damage through there. There is a lot of flooding and they are trying to minimize that,” Besse said. “We’re using some concrete rubble so we can bury it underneath, and put dirt above it so we can actually grow vegetation on top of it, and stabilize the bank,” Sampley said. The end goal is to give back to the environment…

There are actually 56 drainage basins and waterways you can sign up to adopt. To get involved you can call Jeff Besse at (719) 385-5566, or visit http://www.springsgov.com/stormwater.

Meanwhile, the Pueblo West Metro Board has decided to oppose the Corps permit unless Pueblo County drops the requirement for Pueblo West to join the Pueblo flow program, according to Mike Spence writing for the Pueblo West View. From the article:

Metro board members voted on June 9 to send a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opposing the wetlands permit (known as a 404 permit) needed to build the Southern Delivery System pipeline from Pueblo Dam to Colorado Springs…

In the letter, the metro district says the permit should not be issued until Pueblo County withdraws its flow management program requirements on Pueblo West. The letter outlines why the county’s requirements for Pueblo West’s participation in the flow management program are not in the public interest for several reasons:

– It does not protect, and in fact removes the utility of, Pueblo West’s water rights.
– It destroys the balance between the costs and benefits of SDS for Pueblo West.
– The portion of the project intended for use by Pueblo West is entirely on federal property over which Pueblo County has no authority to impose an exaction of water rights.
– The flow management program discourages investment in water efficiency and reuse. Pueblo West’s reuse and pump-back project are harmed by the county’s open-ended flow requirements in the county’s 1041 permit.
– Pueblo County’s claims that the final environmental impact statement requires Pueblo West to be a part of the flow management program is inaccurate, based on pages 65 and 618 of the report.
– If Pueblo West is unable to participate in the project because of the flow management program, it will still need to construct pipelines of its won to move its water from the foot of Pueblo Reservoir to its water treatment plant causing environmental impacts in addition those of the SDS.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Lower Arkansas Water Conservancy District meeting recap

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Here’s a recap of last week’s meeting of the Lower Ark, from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

“Our research shows some major downstream impacts relative to the Fountain Creek drainage and the Lower Arkansas River,” Colorado State University-Pueblo biology professor Scott Herrmann told the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District last week. Herrmann thanked the Lower Ark board for its support of the studies over the last three years in purchasing equipment and supporting research on Fountain Creek. The board has provided $375,000 for the Fountain Creek studies. The Lower Ark board helped to purchase an inductively coupled mass spectrometer for the university. The equipment is critical to timely measurement of trace metals in water, plants, animals, insects and other life on the creek…

“They came back for $100,000 this year, and we’re hoping they can find more funding,” said Jay Winner, Lower Ark general manager. “We just don’t have the money.”

The work includes five projects on Fountain Creek that look at levels of metals, bacteria and other contaminants both in the water and in aquatic life along the creek. During the studies, a sewer line leak was found and corrected in Manitou Springs. Most recently, traces of mercury were found in Fountain Creek water where none had been previously been detected. The CSU-Pueblo team plans to begin a sixth project to analyze municipal, industrial and agricultural releases of organic compounds in Fountain Creek and downstream.

More coverage from The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Earlier this month, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta decided that the Environmental Protection Agency’s interpretation of the Clean Water Act is correct and no permit is required to transfer water from one area to another. The decision, which is likely to face appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, overturned a Miami federal judge’s ruling in a case where environmental groups Miccosukee Indian tribe had sued the South Florida Water Management District for its practice of pumping contaminated farm water into Lake Okeechobee. Nichols and other lawyers in the case were surprised that all three judges supported the decision in the case, which has already moved to the Supreme Court and back on some points. “This is important to the Western United States, but it’s not over yet,” [Water attorney Peter] Nichols said.

Subjecting transfers of water, including transmountain diversions, to water quality permits could end up costing Colorado water suppliers millions of dollars. Water providers could be required to build treatment plants if the Miami ruling were upheld. “The Colorado-Big Thompson Project has 17 diversions and plants would cost $3 million each,” Nichols said. “Colorado has 105,000 miles of mountain streams and not one foot is affected by this issue.” Nichols said the issues in the Eastern United States are different than in Colorado and other Western States. “In the Eastern states, they are concerned about flooding, while the West moves water to where it is needed,” Nichols said. “There is no evidence that transfers cause the same sorts of problems in the Western United States.”

More coverage from The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

This spring, the city of Pueblo removed about 30 acres of tamarisk and Russian olive trees that were blocking access to the lake, said Scott Hobson, city planner. “The lake has nice shoreline areas that were being blocked by about 16 acres of tamarisk and 17 acres of Russian olive,” Hobson told the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District board at its monthly meeting this week. “A year ago you could not see the lake. The lake area has opened up.”

City crews cut out the trees – invasive species which use large amounts of water – at a cost of about $90,000, Hobson said. The city has followed up with the release of beetles last week in an effort to knock back tamarisks, or salt cedars, not only at Lake Minnequa, but along the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek. The $5.2 million park project is being funded by a combination of Great Outdoors Colorado and federal grants, as well as from collections of the stormwater utility fee. Bids were opened Thursday for the next phase of projects to improve wetlands, extend a road into the park, build basketball courts, create a playground area and build a trail around the lake. Council is expected to act on the bids at its meeting Monday. The next phase will cost $3.5 million, mostly for earth-moving and restoration projects, and must be completed by the end of the year to meet the conditions of the state grant, Hobson said…

The city already has spent $1.5 million for land acquisition and water piping needed to channel stormwater into the lake and connect it with existing stormwater lines. The 100-acre lake will have a base pool of about 600 acre-feet, which will be supplied by the Lower Ark and supplemented by the Pueblo Board of Water Works under an agreement reached last year. It also will have the capacity to detain up to a 100-year flood and release that volume of water back into the Arkansas River over a 96-hour period, Hobson said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.