Norwood: CWCB instream flow meeting recap

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From The Norwood Post (Ellen Metrick):

Currently, the stream segments being considered for instream flow protection are Red Canyon Creek, North Fork Tabeguache Creek, San Miguel River, and Tabeguache Creek, as well as Alpine Gulch, Big Dominguez Creek, Blue Creek, Cebolla Creek, Cochetopa Creek, East Beaver Creek, Little Dominguez Creek, Spring Creek, and Willow Creek. “This segment of the San Miguel River has been identified as being an outstanding population of three fish that are species of concern,” said Mark Uppendahl of the State DOW office. According to the draft stakeholder recommendations (available online at http://www.cwcb.state.co.us, 2010 instream flow appropriations (proposed)), “The lower San Miguel River is known to provide habitat for globally imperiled riparian communities and other important riparian communities, because of the free-flowing hydrology of the river.” These communities include New Mexico Privet riparian shrubland and Skunkbrush riparian shrubland, Narrowleaf Cottonwood Communities and Fremont Cottonwood communities.

One thing that is certain, “A lot of water is lost in spring run-off,” said Goodtimes. “We need storage.” It is also true that in a dry year, there’s no water for anyone. Biologists say the fish can survive a year or two before they need water in order to repopulate and get strong again. Most of the flow in the San Miguel River (240,000 acre-feet per year, according to CWCB Web site) does come from snowmelt. Because of its relatively low, human population density and lack of large, water storage impoundments, the San Miguel Basin is considered to be one of the few ecologically and hydrologically intact river basins in Colorado. Goodtimes proposed to the Lone Cone and Gurley ditch users that they and the County band together. “Maybe we can get a grant from Southwest Water Commission to quantify and identify selected off-stem small sites for storage,” he said. “I wanna see if we can get our groups together and try and figure out a way to ask jointly.”[…]

CWCB had planned to file an application for these instream flows in January 2010, but Goodtimes said, “There was discussion about delaying that date of filing / appropriation to December 2010 to let people have a year to really look into it.” The streams mentioned in the proposed appropriations were presented by the recommending entities at the annual Instream Flow Workshop on Feb. 24, 2009.

More instream flow coverage here.

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