Upper Arkansas River augmentation plan update

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

A blanket augmentation plan for the Upper Arkansas River is being extended to include portions of Custer County…

“This is the augmentation plan we already have, but includes Texas Creek and Grape Creek,” said Terry Scanga, general manager of the Upper Ark district. “It saves the water rights owners the expense of $50,000-$150,000 to file their own augmentation plan.” An augmentation plan assures that water will be released to the river to make up for out-of-priority depletions. Water usually is released from storage to make up for well-pumping or surface diversions at times when the water is needed. “The benefit to the district is that it puts a plan in place to protect the senior water rights,” Scanga said. The plan touches other water operations in the Arkansas Valley and attracted the attention of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District last week, which voted to enter the case.

More Upper Ark coverage here.

Monument Lake: Restoration of fishery will start with chemical reclamation

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From The Trinidad Times Independent (Randy Woock):

Fishing at the lake will be prohibited and the lake will be blocked off during the “chemical reclamation” of the lake, which will continue until the project is completed and the lake restocked at an unspecified later date. However, the park’s restaurant, cabins, lodge and RV spaces are to open and available for the remainder of the season. Robb said during a Thursday interview that “soft side” tents would not be allowed at the park during the near future, due to the fish kill possibly attracting bears. He also stated that the fish kill process could possibly take as long as 30 days or as few as 14.

Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDW) officials informed the city in November 2007 that white suckers, a type of fish alien to the lake, comprised an overwhelming majority percent of the lake’s fish population to the detriment of the more-popular trout. It was theorized by the CDW that the white suckers may have been introduced into the lake by fishermen illegally using them as live bait. The CDW had been stocking the lake with extra trout as a temporary means of dealing with the alien fish.

In November 2007, CDW officials had suggested three more permanent options for dealing with the White Suckers. The first involved doing nothing and allowing the White Suckers to continue dominating the lake. The second option had involved introducing a natural predator of the White Suckers to the lake. The third option involved dumping large amounts of chemicals into the lake, killing all the fish and then restocking it with the desired species.

More restoration coverage here.

Nunn says no to Powertech’s proposed in situ uranium mine

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Bump and Update: Say hello to PowerTechExposed.com where you can read the full resolution passed last week by the Nunn Town Board. Coyote Gulch reader Jim sent in the link and added: “It was quite a slog, but we got ‘er done.”

The Nunn Town Board can’t stop Powertech’s project but they’re interested in making a statement. Here’s a report from Bobby Magill writing for the Fort Collins Coloradoan. From the article:

Hailed by a standing ovation Thursday night from a gymnasium full of Weld County residents distrustful of uranium mining company Powertech, a divided board of trustees approved a resolution opposing the company’s proposed Centennial Project uranium mine. Nunn joins the cities and towns of Fort Collins, Greeley, Ault, Wellington and Timnath in opposing the mine slated to be built on nearly 10,000 acres between Nunn and Interstate 25 about 15 miles northeast of Fort Collins. The resolution urges the state, Weld County and the federal government to deny Powertech its mining permits. The fate of the mine depends on both the state and county issuing it permits and on the final form of in-situ uranium mining rules state officials are now writing.

More coverage from The Greeley Tribune (Colin Lindenmayer):

The measure passed 4-2 — one trustee abstained — to accept the resolution, proposed by Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction. Though the resolution cannot prevent Denver-based Powertech Uranium Corp. from building its uranium mine, some residents hope it will affect a state decision that could prevent mining in the area…

Mayor Jeffery Pigue expressed concern during the meeting that preventing landowners from receiving financial benefits presented by the mine could result in legal action by the ranchers. “There’s several landowners out there that do plan on getting the royalties from this mining operation, and if these ranchers feel that we have caused significant damage to this operation, then they could possibly seek legal action,” Pigue said…

Public comment was dominated by residents opposed to the mine. Ault’s Charles Kindsfather compared bringing a uranium mine to Nunn to “playing Russian roulette with a loaded pistol.” “There is a loaded shell in every cylinder.” he said. “You can’t develop a filter that is large enough and fine enough to remove these microscopic, highly toxic chemicals.”[…]

Williams, who lives six miles west of Nunn, received applause after summarizing a 41-page document regarding water quality on former mining sites, saying, “To date, no remediation of an ISR (in-situ leach recovery) or ISL (in-situ leach) operation of the United States has successfully returned an aquifor to baseline conditions,” meaning the amount of heavy metals in aquifors have always been measured higher after mining operations than before.

More nuclear coverage here and here.

Flaming Gorge pipeline: Size of diversion still up in the air

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Here’s an update on Aaron Million’s plans to move water from Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the Green River to Colorado’s Front Range, from Ben Neary writing for the Associated Press via The Durango Herald. From the article:

Million said he is re-evaluating what would be a reasonable size for the pipeline project. He said he doesn’t have a figure yet of how much water he may apply to take from the river if he reduces his application. Million hasn’t modified his original applications to divert water, still pending with the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing a detailed environmental study of Million’s original proposal…

Million has said his planned pipeline would carry water more than 500 miles, east across Wyoming and then as far south as Pueblo. He has said that if the environmental review finds his project would harm the river ecosystem in ways that couldn’t be mitigated, he wouldn’t proceed…

Million said he wants to move all his planned water diversions downstream from the town of Green River. He said he’s now looking at a diversion point on the river below the town and another within Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

Brett Johnson, attorney for Sweetwater County, said Friday that county commissioners as well as city officials in Green River and Rock Springs openly oppose Million’s project. “The county is certainly concerned on the effects of taking the water out of the river and the effect that that will have on the Flaming Gorge and the uses that we have here – obviously fishing and recreation,” Johnson said. Wyoming Gov. Dave Freud-enthal also has come out against the pipeline project. He has said he opposes trans-basin diversions of water and also believes Million should disclose exactly where the water would be used. The Corps of Engineers announced recently that it will require Million to identify his potential customers in coming months. Million has said he has talked to municipalities and other possible water customers in Wyom-ing and Colorado, but has declined to name them so far…

Million said the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has determined that there’s a surplus of water in the Green River even after the needs of endangered species and other water uses are met. He said the analysis found that there’s a minimum of 165,000 acre-feet of water left over that would be available for the pipeline project.

More Flaming Gorge pipeline coverage here and here.