San Miguel watershed: BLM seeking public comment on commercial use

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From the Montrose Daily Press:

The Bureau of Land Management Uncompahgre Field Office is seeking public comment on a proposal to issue new Special Recreation Permits for BLM managed lands in the San Miguel River corridor. Potential permitted activities would include whitewater boating, float-fishing, walk/wade fishing, and mountain biking.

A temporary moratorium limiting commercial recreation to existing outfitters and use levels was placed on the San Miguel several years ago, pending an environmental analysis to determine if new commercial use is appropriate. Since then, BLM has developed additional recreation facilities in the corridor improving access and environmental conditions. In addition, M59 road, which parallels the river in its upper reaches, has been closed to motorized use. Partially in response to these management changes, BLM has lifted the permit moratorium and is performing an environmental analysis on the effects of additional commercial permits.

The analysis includes BLM lands associated with the river from its upper end at Deep Creek (near Telluride) downriver to its confluence with the Dolores River. Comments must be submitted no later than Aug. 3.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Wet Mountain Valley: Vickerman family ranch to be preserved

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Tracy Harmon):

Thanks to a recently awarded $484,200 Great Outdoors Colorado grant, the San Isabel Land Protection Trust will be able to preserve the 720-acre ranch. It will stay as it always has been, a working cattle and hay ranch that also is home to wildlife on the valley floor. “We grow native hay that requires just one cutting usually in mid July to the end of July. Since my husband passed, we’ve taken in cattle for pasture,” Mrs. Vickerman said. “We have a lot of deer and antelope. They like the alfalfa and when we are haying we see where they’ve made beds to stay in the meadow then they move on when it is cut low and not as protective.”

The $1.3 million Vickerman Ranch project consists of a $400,000 contribution from the Vickerman family through the donation of development rights to the property, $450,000 in matching funds being sought through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm and Ranch Protection Program and the GOCo funds.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Nestlé Chaffee County Project: Recap of July 1 commissioners meeting

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Here’s an in-depth look at the July 1 Chaffee County Commissioners meeting from Lee Hart writing for the Salida Citizen. She writes:

Clearly, the biggest annual economic beneficiary of Nestle’s project, other than the company itself, isn’t even in this valley [or basin]. Under terms of a 10-year water lease agreement, Nestle will pay Aurora $200,000 each year for 200 acre feet of water to replace the spring water it will harvest here. The lease may be renewed for an additional 10-year period.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Aspinall Unit, Green Mountain update

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From email from Reclamation (Dan Crabtree):

Inflow to the Aspinall Unit is finally dropping off so that it is possible to begin decreasing releases from Crystal Reservoir. Beginning today, July 6th, flows from Crystal will be reduced 200 cfs each day through Monday, July 13th. Currently, flows in the Black Canyon and Gunnison Gorge are about 2,800 cfs. Following the reduction, which will occur over the next week, flows will stabilize around 1,100 to 1,200 cfs.

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

Over the weekend, we saw a slight break in the rain storms. As a result, we scaled back releases from Green Mountain Dam to the Lower Blue River several times in 100 cfs increments. As of this afternoon, we should be releasing just about 1850 cfs to the Lower Blue.

Precipitation news

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

At Pueblo Memorial Airport, the National Weather Service reported 1.34 inches, a new record for the date going back to 1925, when 0.86 inches fell…The highest precipitation total in the area was at Colorado City, south of Pueblo, where 1.5 inches fell. Beulah had 0.84 inches, Swallows 0.80 inches and Rye 0.78 inches…Sunday’s rain brought the official precipitation total for the year to 5.82 inches, which is just slightly below the historical average of 5.90 inches.