CWCB: Live Water Supply Briefing — 2009 Water Year Review and 2010 Look Ahead, November 10

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From email from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (Ben Wade):

In lieu of a Water Availability Task Force meeting this month CWCB will be partnering with The Colorado Basin River Forecast Center (CBRFC) for a Live Water Supply Briefing: 2009 Water Year Review and 2010 Look Ahead. Following the basin wide discussion there will be a Colorado specific presentation which will examine the current situation in Western Colorado, soil moisture conditions and a seasonal outlook. The entire webinar will last about two hours.

This first hour will take a basin wide look and will have two foci: (1) a review of the 2009 water year and an evaluation of the 2009 water supply forecasts and (2) a look ahead to 2010 including plans for future webinars and forecast services. The second hour, immediately following, will be led by Colorado Climate Center and the National Integrated Drought Information Service (NIDIS) and will focus on Western Colorado conditions as well as the NIDIS Upper Colorado River pilot project underway.

The briefing is composed of two parts, a telephone conference call and a web-based presentation. The conference call can be accessed by dialing 1-877-929-0660 a few minutes prior to the start of the call and entering the access code of 1706374. To view the web-based presentation, you will need to sign up prior to the briefing by clicking on REGISTER to sign up. A confirmation email will be sent to you and you can follow instructions from there to join the webinar.

For those unable to view the web-based presentation, you can follow the presentation by clicking web links that will be posted on the CBRFC site prior to the call.

Please contact Ben Wade 303-866-3441 ext. 3238 with any questions.

Here’s the link to the Interbasin Compact Committee Annual Report (pdf) published October 30. Here’s the link to the Water Supply Reserve Account Annual Report (pdf) also published on October 30.

More CWCB coverage here.

Energy policy — geothermal: U.S. Bureau of Land Management to lease 799.2 acres near Mt. Princeton hot springs for geothermal exploration on November 12

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Update: From the Associated Press via The Aspen Times:

The Bureau of Land Management had planned to offer 800 acres of public property for geothermal during its auction this month, but will postpone action on the proposed lease until its February auction. Federal officials want more time to study the potential effects of geothermal development on water and property rights.

From The Chaffee County Times (Danny Bay):

According to the SRHA, anyone has the right to enter these federally owned sub-surface lands, prospect, and file a mining claim and plan of operation. Since the geothermal resource sits underground, it is sub-surface land. This is the basis for the sale on Nov. 12, the first geothermal lease to be auctioned by the BLM in the state of Colorado. It is open to anyone who chooses to register. Henderson said that the new owner of the federal lease will only have up to one year to create what will lead to the development of the resource. “They can’t sit on it indefinitely,” Henderson said.

But what [Buena Vista resident Steve] Glover said horrifies him is that if a developer does begin commercial production of electricity, the lease becomes open permanently. “They can ramp it up from a small project and no one could do a blessed thing about it,” he said, adding that it has the potential to expand vastly and turn one of the most aesthetically beautiful parts of Colorado into a semi-permanent industrial area…

Bill Bennett, energy use adviser for Sangre De Cristo Electric Association, said he thinks a plant could be hidden very well by building it inside, like something similar to a greenhouse or by putting bunkers around it to shield the noise. “Geothermal can run 24 hours with no down capacity. A 10-megawatt plant could supply 84 percent of all the electricity we supply all year. There are people who understand that it has no consumption, no combustion and no pollution, but they just don’t want to look at it,” Bennett said.

In response to this, Glover referenced a Salt Lake Tribune article about a 10-megawatt geothermal plant in Utah that, after six months of generating power, produces only one megawatt of net energy and buys almost as much electricity to keep the plant running as the plant produces. “There seems to be a real rush to do this. There’s a lot of ego involved in being the first to do it and I understand this. But it could come at a great cost and it should be carefully considered,” Glover said. “It would be a shame to so easily allow this to go forward.”

More geothermal coverage here and here.

Leadville residents want everyone to have a voice in California Gulch superfund operations

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From the Leadville Herald Democrat (Ann E. Wibbenmeyer):

Members of the Citizens’ Advisory Group, appointed by the Lake County commissioners to advise the county on Superfund issues, were vocal in their demand for a non-appointed board for an as-yet-unformed Community Advisory Group during another formation meeting on Oct. 27. The guidelines for forming the latter group were given to Mayor Bud Elliott and Commissioner Mike Bordogna by Jennifer Lane, community involvement coordinator for the Environmental Protection Agency. Bordogna and Elliott wanted to make sure that the community had a say in pending decisions about the California Gulch Superfund Site. A Community Advisory Group, or CAG, is the EPA’s structure for ensuring community participation in EPA decisions, according to Lane. The first formation meeting was held in August, with renewed community interest in the issues. The group agreed to hire a facilitator to help structure the process of creating the group that would advise the EPA of the Lake County input on Superfund issues.

At the Oct. 27 meeting, with about 40 people in attendance, the people from the county-appointed group argued that anyone who showed up to any future meeting should be able to vote on the decisions, as opposed to just having certain people appointed to the committee. According to Bill Klauber, who is with the county-appointed group, this is the only way to ensure that every voice is heard. If a person doesn’t have a vote at the table, then that person’s voice is not being heard, he said.

More California Gulch coverage here and here.

Colorado State Parks to close most reservoirs to boating this winter to aid in the fight against invasive mussels

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From the Northern Colorado Business Report:

Parks that have already closed ramps include: Barr Lake, Bonny Lake, Crawford, Elkhead Reservoir, Harvey Gap, Highline Lake, Lathrop, Mancos, John Martin Reservoir, North Sterling, Paonia, Pearl Lake, Ridgway, Rifle Gap, San Luis, Stagecoach, Sweitzer and Vega. Steamboat Lake State Park closed its ramps Friday. State parks with ramps closing Dec. 1 include Boyd Lake, Chatfield, Cherry Creek, Eleven Mile, Jackson Lake, Navajo, Spinney Mountain and Trinidad Lake. However, those ramps could close earlier if the lakes freeze.

More invasive species coverage here and here.

Uncompahgre River: Montrose River Corridor Work Group reaches consensus on recommendations for the riparian environmnent

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

Thursday — after five, two-hour meetings spanning over the past few months – the work group presented their recommendations to Montrose City Council during its work session. “It was a balance between property rights and protecting the river,” said group member Shawn Lund, a local boater and teacher. The group was able to reach a major agreement, being that a river buffer was needed in Montrose to preserve the river and riparian environment, protect water quality and wildlife habitat, preserve the view shed and to provide clarity and guidance to future development, said group member Ben Tisdel, local developer and member of Friends of the River Uncompahgre (FORU)…

The group agreed that there should be an overall buffer of 100 feet from the average yearly high water mark (HWM), and within that 100-foot buffer, there’s to be two different zones, a “no-go zone” and “slow-go zone.” (Disagreements arose on the width of the no-go zone.) The no-go zone would be 40 feet from the HWM. Within this area, there would be no buildings, linear trials or disturbance of native riparian vegetation allowed. However, short-distance, soft surface trails and usual, customary uses, such as a boat ramp, would be allowed. The slow-go zone would be the area between 40 feet and 100 feet. To develop within this zone, a person would need to obtain city permission, such as a special use permit. The method would be decided by city staff, Tisdel said, and could be processed through the planning commission similar to other permits. Any development within the slow-go zone must enhance the river corridor, such as a business that faces the river with a patio. Those that to not enhance the river corridor, such as a warehouse, would need to be screened. The group recommended that there be stricter “performance standard” as one gets closer to the 40-foot zone and that city staff work out such details, like requiring a building to sit as far back on the lot as possible. Residential single-family homes are exempt from the screening requirement.

More Uncompahgre River watershed coverage here and here.