Coyote Gulch outage

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I’m heading down the two lane blacktop with Mrs. Gulch, Hellchild and Beaver. We’re hoping to try out the rod, reel, fryingpan and corn meal method of non-native trout control

I’ll be back in a few days.

Republican River Compact: Timeline for arbitration in dispute between Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska

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From the Yuma Pioneer (Tony Rayl):

he time frame shows Wednesday, September 16, as the last date for the states to meet and agree on an arbitrator (or arbitrators). Dick Wolfe, state engineer for Colorado, reported late last week that an arbitrator had not been selected yet, meaning the states likely will take it to the deadline. While the arbitration is classified as “fast track” it still will be more than five months before an arbitrator issues a decision, which, on the time frame supplied by Wolfe, is March 1, 2010. The fall and early winter will be the “discovery period,” such as submitting bries and responses to those briefs on legal issues, as well as disclosing experts, witness lists, expert reports and exhibits. The trial itself is set for February 1-5, 2010. A location has not been set yet. However, in his notice to his counterparts in Kansas (David Barfield) and Nebraska (Brian Dunnigan) that Colorado was invoking arbitration in regards to the pipeline issue, Wolfe again reiterated his desire to keep working with the other states to reach a mutually acceptable resolution.

More Republican River Basin coverage here and here.

Arkansas Valley Conduit: Will congress fork over the dough to get it built?

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“We’re working with the whole delegation, and they understand how important this is to Southern Colorado,” lobbyist Ray Kogovsek told the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District Thursday. “I think we will be successful coming out of conference committee.”[…]

The district will attempt to get up to $14 million in the 2011 budget, as it attempts to make progress on the $300 million conduit after finally winning authorization. Federal contributions to the conduit and other parts of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project would be repaid using excess-capacity revenues under the legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama earlier this year. Meanwhile, the Colorado Water Conservation Board still has funds available – about half of the $60.6 million loan approved three years ago – for its loan to cover local up-front spending for the conduit, said CWCB board member Reed Dils. At its meeting this week in Steamboat Springs, the board struggled with financial issues including a reduction in mineral lease revenues and the absence of new mineral severance taxes to support CWCB loans, he said…

The board also approved a contract of up to $118,000 with CDM Engineers for a water resource study related to the conduit. The money comes through local contributions and an EPA grant.

More Arkansas Valley Conduit coverage here and here.

Horsetooth Reservoir update

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From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

[September 17], we are sitting at an elevation of about 5391. At this time, all boat ramps are still in the water. We have about 85 cfs going out of the reservoir. This means it has slowed the drop of the reservoir’s elevation. Earlier this week, the water level was going down about 2/3 of a foot a day. By this afternoon, it is dropping only very slightly.

Because we do not have any water coming into Horsetooth at this time, the water elevation is being determined by what is going out. Currently, the Horsetooth Feeder Canal (the canal that brings water in) is undergoing some regular fall maintenance. That work will be done the last weekend of September. We will be able to start bringing a little bit of water to Horestooth at that time, but not very much because there are still water demands downstream on the Big Thompson River.

Earlier this week, we projected that the reservoir will hit an elevation of 5385 by the last weekend of this month. If water demands return to around 400 cfs coming out of the reservoir, that will likely be the case. At 5385, the Satanka boat ramp and the southern-most ramp in South Bay are out of the water. The large six-lane boat ramp in South Bay, however, should be useable well into October.

More Colorado-Big Thompson coverage here and here.

Colorado River: Reclamation implements basin study program

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Here’s a release from Reclamation (Kip White):

Reclamation Identifies Three Western River Basins for Implementation of Basin Study Program Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor today announced the implementation of a new Basin Study Program that will better define options for future water management of Western river basins where climate change, record drought, population increases and environmental needs have heightened competition for scarce water supplies. Each study will include state of the art projections of future water supply and demand on a basin-wide scale, including an assessment of the impacts of climate change on water resources; analysis of how the basin’s existing water and power operations and infrastructure will perform in the face of changing water realities; and recommendations on how to optimize operations and infrastructure to supply adequate water and power in the future while accounting for environmental values. Reclamation will provide a 50% cost share contribution to state, local and tribal partners to implement the studies.

The first three basin studies announced by Connor today include:

The Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study ($1 million Reclamation, $1 million matching) covering portions of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming;

Yakima River Basin Study and Associated Basin Restoration Implementation Plan, covering south central Washington ($1.3 million Reclamation, $1.3 million matching); and
Modeling for the Future of the Milk and St. Mary River Systems in north central and southern Montana ($350,000 Reclamation, $350,000 matching).

“Given today’s challenges in the area of water resources, it is imperative that the federal government be a strong and reliable partner in working with state, tribal and local water managers,” Connor said today. “The Bureau of Reclamation is addressing this need by partnering with key stakeholders to conduct comprehensive studies and create basin-specific plans recommending collaborative solutions that will meet water demands and foster sustainable development.”

The Basin Study Program will incorporate the latest science, engineering technology, climate models and innovative approaches to water management. Options that will be evaluated in the studies include changes to the operation of water supply systems, modifications to existing facilities, development of new facilities, and non-structural strategies. The basin studies will generally be two years in duration.

The Program announcement follows Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s signing of a Secretarial Order earlier this week which details Interior’s coordinated strategy to address the current and future impacts of climate change on America’s diverse natural resources, including water. The Program is part of the Water Conservation Initiative (WCI) and a key element of Reclamation’s implementation of the SECURE Water Act, which was enacted into law as part of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009. Components of the WCI include providing competitive financial assistance for water conservation, efficiency and marketing projects and other activities that enhance water management; conducting basin-wide planning studies that will address the impacts of climate change; and continued funding of water reuse and recycling projects.

Hat tip to Peter Soeth.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here and here.