Custer County: Review of Upper Ark’s augmentation plan for county on tap

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From the Wet Mountain Tribune (Nora Drenner):

The county commissioners are hiring a water attorney to review the proposed water augmentation plan the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District filed in court late last month. The commissioners have also decided to file an objection to the proposal, which if approved, would bring a blanket water augmentation plan to Custer County. The attorney wasn’t identified…

All three commissioners—Lynn Attebery, Jim Austin and Carole Custer—said they did not necessarily think the proposed water augmentation plan was a bad one, however, it was in the best interest of the county to have it reviewed by an independent expert. Also, in order to stay in the loop during the water court process, said Austin, it was necessary to file a written objection to the plan. Attebery and Custer agreed.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Estes Park: Water quality report available on town website, water quality passes with flying colors

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From the Estes Park Trail (Kate Rushch):

The Water Quality Report is available on the Town’s website at Copies are also available at the following locations: Town Hall at 170 MacGregor Avenue; Town of Estes Park Water Department at 577 Elm Road; Estes Park Medical Center at 555 Prospect Avenue; Larimer County Health Department at 1601 Brodie Avenue.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Wiggins: Town council approves design and engineering funds along with update of master plan

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

[Council] approved a contract for Industrial Facilities Engineering Inc. to do an update on design work in order to have the engineering needed to apply for federal and state grants and loans; decided to hire a water lawyer; and have a contract in hand to buy a well site for the project. IFE Operations Manager Tim Holbrook said his company had done a water system master plan for Wiggins in 2006, but it will cost $17,000 to do an update to the plan for the specific Wiggins Water Project. Everyone is agreed that grants are better than loans by governmental agencies, but the town can make applications for various types of funding, he said. One route is to ask the state Department of Local Affairs for a grant from severance taxes, and the town should learn if that will happen in the next three months, Holbrook said. The town can also apply to the USDA Rural Development program, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority, he said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Carbondale: Wastewater tap fees to rise

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From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent (John Stroud):

An increase in tap fees for new development is being proposed to pay for an update of Carbondale’s 14-year-old water and wastewater master plan. The revised plan would analyze the impact of anticipated future development over the next 20 years and help determine how soon a new sewage treatment plant and water system upgrades will be needed to keep up with growth. Town trustees, at some point in the near future, will formally consider a proposed increase of $11.41 to the existing tap fee for each new single-family residence, or equivalent, to pay for the study. The estimated cost to update both the water and wastewater models included in the plan is about $23,800. In the meantime, the town is prepared to spend more than $1.7 million over the next couple of years on upgrades to the existing sewage treatment plant, designed to keep it properly functioning for the remainder of its 9- to 16-year life expectancy. Included in those upgrades will be a variety of fixes aimed at eliminating an ongoing odor problem that became particularly noticeable on the north end of Carbondale this past winter.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Nestlé Waters Chaffee County Project: Climate science and the project

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Lee Hart continues her coverage in the Salida Citizen of the Chaffee County Commissioners deliberations over Nestlé Water’s Chaffee County Project 1041 permit.

First up is a long post about the lack of discussion about climate change in the debate over Nestlé’s plans to truck 200 acre-feet or so of water out of basin to Denver for bottling. Read the whole article, here are a couple of excerpts:

Yet here in Chaffee County, conservation and climate change didn’t merit so much as a passing mention as the Board of County Commissioners began deliberations on a multi-decade commercial water harvesting proposal, even as an overwhelming majority of scientific studies anticipate a reduction of total water supply by the mid-21st century is likely to exacerbate competition for over-allocated water resources especially in the fast-growing West. The county’s own consultants, Colorado National Heritage Progam, cautioned commissioners: “In the interest of maintaining the wetland plant communities, any proposed development plan that impacts water resources should take into consideration global climate change.” Yesterday, CNHP ecologist Delia Malone, writing as a private citizen, spoke out on what she called the commissioners’ “short-sightedness” in dismissing climate change from deliberations on the water harvesting project proposed by Nestle Waters North America. Without a trace of ambiguity, a 2008 report by Western Water Assessment asserts, “Climate change will affect Colorado’s use and distribution of water.” The report notes that “changes in long-term precipitation and soil moisture can affect groundwater recharge rates; coupled with demand issues this may mean greater pressure on groundwater resources.”[…]

As inextricably as hyrdrogen is linked to oxygen at water’s most basic level, so too it seems the scientific community believes climate change must be factored into any decision-making that impacts natural resources. “Basically anybody in 2009 who is thinking about water resources, water planning, water supply . . . if they’re not thinking about climate change, they’re missing the mark,” explained scientist John Katzenberger, executive director of the Aspen Global Change Institute. Katzenberger was also a contributor to a 2008 report published by the National Resources Defense Council and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization entitled, “Hotter and Drier, The West’s Changed Climate.”

Hart and the Salida Citizen are running a letter sent to the Chaffee County Commissioners from Ecologist Delia Malone. From the article:

Regardless of all the good, hard data out there, Malone lamented the commissioners dismissing the role of climate change in their deliberations about Nestle. Indeed, countless scientific books and research papers from all corners of the globe have written about the certainty of impending water shortages due to climate change that is already measurable…“Accessible water is rare and for Chaffee County to just give it away is really short-sighted,” Malone said. “You can’t get it back and when you really need it, it will be too late.”

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Montrose: Workgroup forms to regulate streams and rivers through town

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From the Montrose Daily Press (Kati O’Hare):

The city council selected 11 Montrose residents, including property owners along waterways, realtors, developers, recreation advocates and citizens for the workgroup. The workgroup will meet about three times before coming to council with recommendations by September or October. Montrose River/Stream Workgroup: Rob Brethouwer; Ron Harthan; Diann Fulks; William Gleason; Judy Kittson; Shawn Lund; Matt Miles; Elizabeth Roscoe; Ben Tisdel; Bryan Walchle; Jason Wilson.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Montrose: Gunnison Tunnel 100th year celebration

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From the Montrose Daily Press:

Celebrating 100 years of water provided by the Gunnison Tunnel, the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association invites Montrose, Olathe, and Delta community members, and all Coloradoans, to join in activities culminating with celebrations and ceremonies in Montrose at UVWUA headquarters Saturday, Sept. 26. The water users association celebrated its own centennial in 2002. The federal legislation that established the Bureau of Reclamation in 1902 also authorized the Gunnison Tunnel Project and formation of the UVWUA. Water users association Manager Marc Catlin said the benefits of the tunnel to the Uncompahgre Valley cannot be overstated. “Opening the Gunnison Tunnel and then delivering the water to growers, made this valley green while attracting a thriving population,” Catlin said. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the populations of both Delta and Montrose counties more than doubled between 1900, when the idea was first developed, and 1910, one year after the tunnel was completed. The data show that the decade from 1900-1910 saw the most significant population growth in the valley.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Renaissance on the River at Clear Creek

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From the (Dennis Pleuss):

Welcome to the Renaissance on the River at the Clear Creek Whitewater Park, more affectionately known as the Golden Playpark by those who frequent the waters. [Jessica] Vose was just one of many people who have taken advantage of the free instruction offered by Denver-based Renaissance Adventure Guides every Wednesday evening, where everyone from beginners to regulars take to the water for a little relaxation and some thrills. The only cost is a $10 charge for those who need to rent equipment…

The Clear Creek Whitewater Park is one of the most popular places in the area, if not the state, to kayak. Dedicated in 1998, the 800-foot course is divided into sections and runs from the Clear Creek RV Park to Lions Park to Golden City Hall to Golden Feed and wraps up at Vanover Park. The City of Golden continues to make improvements to the course, and in 2002 added six more drop structures. That makes the Playpark a golden place to kayak, whether you’re interested in river running or playboating in the various drops and pools…

Renaissance Adventure Guides also offers instruction with pool sessions at the Golden Community Center, teaches weekend classes at Chatfield Reservoir and also takes kayakers on weekend trips to Glenwood Springs. The Renaissance on the River at Clear Creek is in its fourth year, and RAG does the free nights every Wednesday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. from April to September, provided the water levels are running high enough.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District: Citizen advisory group forms

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Here’s a recap of the first meeting of the citizen advisory group for the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District, from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The citizens advisory group of the Fountain Creek Flood Control and Greenway District met for the first time, and even had a test case before it. The group of 15 citizens is charged with making recommendations to the district board, which meets again in Fountain at 1 p.m. July 31.

“This is where the ideas come from,” said Ferris Frost, who was elected chairwoman of the committee. “This is where the energy comes from. I want to be near the center of it.” Frost is an El Paso County landowner along the creek and was active in the Fountain Creek Vision Task Force, which spearheaded formation of the district by the state Legislature earlier this year. Her family has preserved farmland along the creek with a conservation easement. Jay Winner, general manager of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, was elected vice-chairman…

There was some confusion over the role of the group, some of whom have been dealing with Fountain Creek issues for three years and some who met for the first time Friday. The district itself is just 11 days old, but it is building on work that began nearly a decade ago…

The district has both direct authority in the flood plain area and an advisory role throughout the watershed, explained Cole Emmons, assistant El Paso County attorney.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.