Avon: Town Council approves water rate hike

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From the Vail Daily (Sarah Mausolf):

The Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority had asked for permission for a $3.91 increase to the monthly water bill for homes 3,000 square feet or smaller, and more for larger homes…

The water bill increase applies to the base fee for water use, and would equate to $3.91 per month per single family equivalent. The proposal also includes the Arrowhead, Eagle-Vail, Edwards, Berry Creek and Beaver Creek metropolitan districts.

More infrastructure here.

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area update

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The recreation area stretches 148 miles along the Arkansas River from Lake County to Lake Pueblo and now includes a couple of dozen launch sites along the way. There are restrooms, improved access from U.S. 50 and a lot less hurt feelings. Rafters, kayakers, fishermen, rock climbers, photographers and wildlife watchers have learned to share the canyon. “The most important thing we’ve done is the partnerships we’ve formed,” said Rose Bayless, who has worked for the recreation area since it was created in 1989 in an agreement that allowed the BLM to maintain ownership, but put management in the hands of Colorado State Parks. “In this way, we can preserve the natural resources and invite people to use the river.”

More Arkansas Basin coverage here.

Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program: New Clifton wastewater plant should meet water quality effluent standards

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From the Grand Junction Free Press (Sharon Sullivan):

The three huge lagoons used by the former wastewater treatment plant serving Clifton no longer exist. Instead the Clifton Sanitation District, 3217 D Road, has a new system which treats wastewater in a more controlled environment, using less space, less energy, and with fewer odors. Clifton Sanitation Districts I and II consolidated to create a new wastewater treatment plant that complies with water quality standards mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Colorado. A federal mandate to protect four endangered fish species is what drove the project, said manager Brain Woods.

More endangered species coverage here.

Nevada: Judge blocks the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s groundwater pipeline project project

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From the Las Vegas Review Journal (Henry Brean):

For the moment at least, the Southern Nevada Water Authority has lost the water it hoped to pump to Las Vegas in the first phase of its proposed pipeline across eastern Nevada.

In a strongly worded order issued last week, a district judge overturned a 2008 state ruling that granted the authority permission to tap groundwater from three valleys in central Lincoln County. Judge Norman Robison ruled that State Engineer Tracy Taylor “abused his discretion” and “acted arbitrarily, capriciously and oppressively” when he cleared the authority to pump more than 6 billion gallons of groundwater a year from Cave, Delamar and Dry Lake valleys.

The senior judge from Gardnerville wrote that the state’s chief water regulator traditionally requires “specific empirical data” before allowing groundwater to be transferred out of a basin. This time, though, the state engineer is “simply hoping for the best while committing to undo his decision if the worst occurs,” Robison wrote.

Elkhead Valley: 617 acres put into conservation easement

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From the Steamboat Pilot & Today (Brandon Gee):

The Routt County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved spending $250,000 to help conserve more than 600 acres in West Routt County’s Elkhead Valley. The money comes from the county’s Purchase of Develop ment Rights program. The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricul tural Land Trust will hold the conservation easement on 617 acres of the Howe Ranch on Routt County Road 56 north of Hayden…

The Howe Ranch includes irrigated hay meadows, riparian areas along Calf Creek and sage-dominated rangelands, according to a news release, which states that the ranch also provides important habitat for species including elk, deer, pronghorn, black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, fox, sandhill cranes, greater sage grouse and Columbian sharp-tail grouse…

The PDR program is funded by a 1.5-mill property tax approved in 2006, nine years after the program first was approved for a 10-year period. The 2006 renewal is good for 20 years…

To date, the PDR program has completed 24 projects protecting 14,670 acres at a cost of more than $6 million. Six more projects totaling 3,219 acres are under negotiation.

More conservation easement coverage here and here.