Southern Delivery System: Colorado Springs Utilities submits application to Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“We’re very proud that we have reduced the wetlands impacts to one-quarter acre, and that we will add 12 new acres of wetlands on Clear Springs Ranch,” said Keith Riley, SDS planning and permit manager. “This is an environmentally responsible project. The citizens advisory committee of the district reviewed the proposal Friday. Last week, the technical advisory committee looked at the same presentation. The district board will consider it in January…

The Fountain Creek district has authority over part of the pipeline’s path where it crosses Fountain Creek and will make recommendations to El Paso County commissioners…

There have been discussions, however, that other El Paso County water users might use it to move water uphill from the Arkansas River. “Do you see it as a regional opportunity?” asked Jay Winner, general manager of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District and a representative from the Arkansas Basin Roundtable to the Interbasin Compact Committee. “Not beyond Monument Hill,” Riley quickly replied…

Ross Vincent of the Sierra Club asked about the adaptive management plan, which is mentioned in Reclamation’s environmental impact statement as a way to mitigate potential impacts on Fountain Creek. “That will be wrapped up in the contract negotiations,” Riley said. “It would be helpful to have that in hand,” Vincent said.

More coverage of Friday’s meeting from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Water quality and standards for development on Fountain Creek are important issues that cannot be abandoned, a committee dedicated to improvement of the creek told Southern Delivery System officials Friday. “The discussions have focused on water volume, but no one’s talking about water quality,” said Ross Vincent of the Sierra Club. “The demise of the stormwater enterprise re-raises the question.”[…]

Vincent also was concerned about the opportunity for public comment on Colorado Springs plans to dredge Fountain Creek through Pueblo. “Is there a public process for review?” Vincent asked Keith Riley, SDS planning and permit manager. Riley said SDS officials will be meeting with Dennis Maroney, Pueblo stormwater director, next week to review the dredging program. “We’ll be identifying high spots to determine where dredging will occur,” Riley said. “We want to be sure we’re doing the right project.” Pueblo has partnered with Colorado Springs, the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District and various state and federal agencies to use a continuous flow dredging collector to remove bedload sediment from the channel through Pueblo. The project also will analyze the material being removed and consider alternative means of dredging the channel, Riley said.

Maroney had his own questions about whether the city would complete the drainage criteria manual now that the stormwater enterprise is ending. The manual would provide standards for new development in terms of impacts to Fountain Creek and its tributaries. Holding developers to those standards is part of Pueblo County conditions for SDS. “You need the drainage criteria manual,” Maroney said. “If you don’t have it, it’s like going bear hunting with a 30.06 and only having the ammunition for a .22.” Colorado Springs developer Kevin Walker, another member of the committee, said developers have a keen interest in seeing the manual developed and noted that Fountain already has bought into the concept of using it as a regional tool. “The development community and the building industry know that the manual has to be completed,” Walker said. “The political and business interests (of Colorado Springs) are obliged to get to the finish line.”[…]

…another $500,000 grant to develop a mini-dam, wetlands and detention pond near Pueblo’s North Side Kmart is part of this year’s Natural Resources Conservation Service budget, Jay Winner, general manager of the Lower Ark District, reported at the meeting. The project was first envisioned by Maroney following a flood of a nearby area and a breach of an old railroad berm as a way to siphon off flows in small floods. It was approved in the same package of federal legislation that will grant the Arkansas Valley Conduit $5 million this year.

More Fountain Creek coverage here and here.

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