Arkansas Valley Conduit: U.S. Representative John Salazar named to conference committee for the 2010 energy and water appropriations committee

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Representative Salazar should be able to help funding for the Arkansas Valley Conduit move out of committe. Here’s a report from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

He was named to the conference committee for the 2010 energy and water appropriations committee. The committee will meet Tuesday to iron out differences between House and Senate versions of the appropriations bill. The Colorado Democrat represents many of the communities that would benefit from the $300 million project to bring fresh drinking water to the Lower Arkansas Valley, and has staunchly supported the conduit. “I’m going to keep fighting to keep the conduit funding in there,” Salazar said Friday. “If we’re successful, this will be the realization of a project that people in the Arkansas Valley have been waiting to see for the last 47 years.” Salazar, along with Rep. Betsy Markey, D-Colo., made the argument that the conduit is a project that has long been on the federal waiting list in securing $5 million in appropriations in the House version of the bill.

Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, both Colorado Democrats, supported that position. The Senate appropriations committee, however, took the stance that the conduit was a new project, so eliminated its funding.

More Arkansas Valley Conduit coverage here.

Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District votes to recommend denial of Pueblo County permit to proposed LaFarge Aggregate and Concrete gravel pit

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District voted to recommend denial of a proposal by LaFarge Aggregate and Concrete to mine gravel and operate asphalt and concrete batch plants at a site between Fountain Creek and Interstate 25 near Pikes Peak International Raceway. “I think it’s essentially a scarring of the landscape and what this group is trying to do,” said Pueblo County Commissioner Jeff Chostner, who chaired the meeting. “(The district) is trying to protect the landscape.” Because LaFarge removed two areas of the project that were in the flood plain, the district board only had the authority to recommend approval or denial of a permit to El Paso County Com- missioners. The LaFarge decision was only the second made by the board, which was formed in July by the state Legislature, and by far the most controversial. While LaFarge representatives tried to make the case that its operation would be temporary – 15 years after excavation began – environmental groups, landowners, sewer districts and one of the state lawmakers who formed the district voiced concern or opposition toward the project.

Sterling City Council talks treatment

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From the Sterling Journal Advocate (Forrest Hershberger):

Tuesday night, a public hearing was held by the Sterling City Council regarding the city’s water treatment plant. Several officials were in attendance at the city council meeting, including Jackie Whelan of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Whelan said Sterling has been in violation of water contamination levels since it completed a four-year study in 2007. Prior to 2000, she said, the state did not monitor uranium levels, so uranium contamination in public water systems was not an issue. However, the city of Sterling’s water system has become the focus because Sterling is the largest municipal water system in the state operating under a violation, according to Whelan. She said the problem is where the municipal wells are drilled, and how deep. Councilman Mark Fuller asked Whelan why the city is the focus of the upgrades when well users just across the city boundary are apparently exempt from the standards. Whelan said the health department does not monitor private water systems. “The state of Colorado has no authority over private wells,” Whelan said.

More Sterling coverage here and here.

Precipitation news: Yuma County

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From the Yuma Pioneer (Tony Rayl):

a total of 1.52 inches of rain fell on Yuma this week before the clouds cleared out. That brings September’s total rainfall to 1.68 inches, with five days left in the month. Yuma’s total precipitation now is up to 17.98 inches, tantalizingly close to that magical 20-inch mark. With three months left, 2009 already is one of the wettest in recent history. Of that year-long total, 14.99 inches of it has fallen since May 1, an average of 3-inches per month over the past five.

More Republican River Basin coverage here.

North Fork River Improvement Association watershed action plan meeting October 14

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From the Delta County Independent:

NFRIA is beginning its update to the original 2000 Watershed Action Plan for the North Fork of the Gunnison. This is a chance for citizens to take action in addressing the foremost issues concerning the river. A public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 14, at Memorial Hall in Hotchkiss from 4-6 p.m.

NFRIA would like to assess how the public perception of the watershed has changed during the last nine years. Participation in this meeting will prove valuable for NFRIA in pursuing the goals of all stakeholders in the watershed. They hope to come away with an inclusive list of public concerns allowing them to optimize their efforts. In order to better serve all stakeholders, NFRIA welcomes critique of previous projects and how well they have addressed the initial action plan.

This meeting is the first of two public meetings as the first task in updating the watershed plan. The update process will review the science, the state of the watershed, sources of water quality impairment, public concerns, and will set the goals for the next 10 years.

Colorado Water Conservation Board is funding this project. The original 2000 Watershed Action Plan can be found at Contact the NFRIA office with any questions at 872-4614.

More Gunnison Basin coverage here.

Surface Creek Valley: Orchard City scores 5 shares of Leon Lake water

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From the Delta County Indpendent (Hank Lohmeyer):

Town Trustee Jimmie Boyd presented the board with the offer he had received for the Leon Lake shares. Boyd explained, “This last week I had a lady approach me with five shares of Leon Lake water for sale. She is asking $5,000 for the five shares, which figures out to a little bit less than $2,500 per acre-foot. That’s about the going rate. “This water,” Boyd continued, “has already been converted to domestic use or as augmentation water, as well as irrigation. The town has 85 shares of Leon Lake at this point, so this purchase would bring us up to 90 shares.” Boyd went on to explain that there are about 3,600 shares total in the Leon Lake water company. “The largest owner has about 225 shares,” Boyd said. “There about 160 owners in the company, so no one individual or owner interest would be hit real hard if some kind of work had to be done on the reservoir.” Leon Lake is located on the north side of Grand Mesa in the Plateau Creek drainage. Water is transported to Surface Creek Valley by a tunnel that was constructed decades ago.

More Surface Creek coverage here.