Nelson Tunnel/Commodore Waste Rock Pile superfund update

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From The Mineral County Miner:

Hays Griswold, overseeing the stabilization of the pile for the EPA, said the original plan to build a ramp up the channel for West Willow Creek that would serve as the stream bed was abandoned after this year’s runoff threatened to wash away part of the two-acre pile…

The new design for the project, once the channel is established in bedrock, would line grouted boulders four-to-six feet up the side of the bed. From there, the pile would be benched and pushed back further…

While the end of work is near on the rock pile, the EPA is still doing testing inside the Nelson Tunnel to determine the type and number of water sources entering the 8,000-foot adit that drains five mines before dumping into West Willow Creek.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Vallecito Reservoir: New fees in the offing

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From the Pine River Times (Carole McWilliams):

User fees are in the works at Vallecito for things like vehicle and boat trailer parking as part of Pine River Irrigation District’s new contract to manage recreation for the Bureau of Reclamation on the lake and bureau land around it.
But the details of where and when fees will be charged are a work in progress…

[Business owners and residents] most immediate concern was parking for the fireworks over the lake on July 4, as well as the Vallecito Service League’s annual arts and crafts fair that weekend.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Orchard City: Trustee Water Committee workshop

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From the Delta County Independent:

The second, monthly Trustee Water Committee workshop meeting will be held in the Orchard City Community Room on July 7 beginning at 4 p.m. The committee’s monthly meetings are being conducted now in an open workshop format due to the high interest in the subject of water shown by the public and other trustees.

Nolan Doesken: ‘If we had somebody every two blocks, that wouldn’t be too many’

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Click through and sign up for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Ntwork.

Here’s a report from the Denver Post. From the article:

A real-time rain, hail and snow-gauge network, masterminded by Colorado State University, took in more than 800 instant reports one wet day this month. So far, no floods, so good, but the network — the awkwardly named Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network — stands by, and in the meantime provides climatologists with priceless data on actual weather patterns. The grid has spread to 46 states and will take on three more this year, with 14,500 volunteer reporters nationwide.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Good year for lynx in Colorado

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Raise a glass today to the lynx restoration program and the ten lynx kittens the CDOW has counted this year. Here’s a report from the Associated Press via From the article:

The tuft-eared cats with big, padded feet were native to Colorado, but were wiped out by the early 1970s by logging, trapping, poisoning and development. They are listed as threatened on the endangered species list.

Be sure to click through for the photo of one of the brood. Here’s the link to CDOW’s lynx website.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

H.B. 09-1185, Water Rights Applications Documents

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House Bill 09-1185 (pdf) will become state law on Wednesday. The bill allow electronic filing of documents for water rights applications. From the Durango Herald:

House Bill 1185 allows people filing paperwork for water rights to e-mail the application instead of mailing four paper copies to state regulators. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, and Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, were the sponsors.

•SB 80 allows homeowners with a well permit to collect rain and snow from their rooftops for use in the house, to water a garden and for stock watering. Isgar and Rep. Marsha Looper, R-Calhan, were the sponsors.

Here’s the link to the new streamlined water court rules also slated for their debut on Wednesday.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Ruedi, Green Mountain and Colorado-Big Thompson update

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From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

[Saturday] As the snowmelt continues to runoff, we are matching our releases from the dam to the Fryingpan with the rising inflows. Now that Ruedi Reservoir is full, we are just bypassing the snowmelt as it comes down. Our increases will be in 50 cfs intervals. Today at one p.m. we increased from 531 cfs to 581 cfs. Today at 5 pm. we will increase again from 581 cfs to 631 cfs. Tomorrow, Sunday, we will increase releases another time from 631 to about 681 cfs. The 681 cfs in the Fryingpan will continue until further notice.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

[Saturday] As the temperatures warm up, we are seeing more snowmelt runoff come down the Blue River system. With Green Mountain Reservoir about full, we continue to match our releases to the Lower Blue to what we see coming into the reservoir. In other words, we are bypassing the inflow to Green Mountain on downstream. The snowmelt runoff did increase over night and during the night we bumped up over 3000 cfs. We are releasing both through the hydro-electric power generation plant and the spillway. Releases to the dam today and tomorrow could be as high as 3300 cfs. If you plan on recreating in the area, please be sure to check the gage before you head up. Also be aware that changes in flow, up or down, could occur while you are in the river.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

[Saturday] With the warming weather, we are seeing snowmelt come down the river system, some of which we are bypassing through the C-BT system. But this year, there is just enough for us to capture a little of it. This weekend, the little we are capturing, we are sending to Horsetooth. Horsetooth should hit an elevation of 5420 this weekend. Pinewood is also up, compared to where it has been the past couple months. The rise in water level will last through this weekend, but will begin dropping again on Monday as we start moving some water up to Carter Lake. And snowmelt runoff into Lake Estes has enabled us to bump up releases from Olympus Dam to the lower Big Thompson River. Last night, we bumped up releases to about 450 cfs. Tonight, we anticipate we will scale that back slightly to around 400 cfs.

Taming the land: See how we grew

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Here’s the link to number 8 in Chris Woodka’s series Taming the Land titled “See how we Grew,” running in The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The Arkansas Valley was a fertile source of food for the miners in the mountains and the people in the towns that served them. The farmers markets that opened in Pueblo last week are a reminder of an era when the local farmers market was the market for nearly everyone in the area. Sure, there were foodstuffs imported into the area after the arrival of railroads in the valley, and the valley’s farmers exported cash crops as well. Locally grown fruits and vegetables were part of the local diet as well as money-makers for many more farmers than remain in the business today. As the region grew, there were canneries, flour mills, slaughterhouses, cheese factories, alfalfa pellet plants, sugar beet mills, broom factories and other food or fiber processing businesses that expanded the reach of the local farmer.

Meanwhile, here’s a look at farming in the Arkansas Valley today from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.