San Miguel County Commissioners met in Norwood last week to decide what kind of letter to send to the Colorado Water Conservation Board, asking for a delay in filing for instream flow appropriations on the San Miguel River. The water would be set aside to meet habitat requirements for threatened native fish species — flannelmouth sucker, bluehead sucker, and roundtail chub — and to preserve a section of the San Miguel River ecosystem…
Originally, San Miguel County commissioners had been looking at two potential actions: To support CWCB’s declaration go to water court in January 2010, but have December as the actual appropriation date; or, to ask CWCB to wait until March to declare, which would mean the hearing process would begin in July, giving public the first half of 2010 to assess needs and file for appropriations. The January 2011 appropriation filing date was added to the options after the meeting began. Mark Uppendahl, DOW In-Stream Flow Program coordinator, stated that the “DOW is in a conservation management plan to prevent these species from federal listing … 11cfs provides minimal depths and the fish may not migrate or survive.”[…]
Uppendahl said that if the threatened species are not protected, there could be federal intervention. He said, “It would be hard to say what would happen then.” Uppendahl listed possibilities that ranged from water curtailment to preservation of the entire hydrology system, and possible curtailment of future diversion projects.
Approximately 70 people attended the meeting, including Montrose County Commissioners David White and Ron Henderson, State Senator Bruce Whitehead (D-Hesperus), Southwest Water Conservation Board members, Sheep Mountain Alliance representatives, and TelSki CEO Dave Riley. In the end, SMC commissioners voted two to one to ask CWCB to hold off until December 2011. Commissioner Joan May wanted to ask them to file mid-year 2010. After voting, Commissioner Fischer said, “But, we have to see progress, not just lip service to a process that never really happens.”
Here’s the link to the webpage with all the dope on the symposium:
The 2010 Tamarisk Symposium will be held at Two Rivers Convention Center, 159 Main Street, Grand Junction, CO. The committee has finalized the agenda and the schedule is now available. If you would like to be considered, please contact Meredith B. Swett via email email@example.com.
From the Associated Press (Kevin Freking) via The Durango Herald:
As part of the new approach, EPA officials said the agency would pay particular attention to chronic violators and said in some cases they would ask small water systems to restructure or merge to improve their safety records. The hearing came after an Associated Press investigation showing that about one in five schools with their own wells violated the Safe Drinking Water Act in the last decade, a problem that until now has gone largely unmonitored by the federal government…
Cynthia Giles, an assistant administrator for enforcement at EPA, said the agency will focus on regulating the most important violations, but did not elaborate on how that would apply to schools. She acknowledged that some smaller water systems have had historical problems complying with the law, and that the agency’s main database of these violations contained errors.
“We share the frustration of trying to work with some of these smaller systems to get them into compliance,” Giles said in an interview after the hearing.
…recent storms have brought the [Rio Grande Basin] snowpack up to 110-115 percent of average, Division of Water Resources Division 3 Division Engineer Craig Cotten said on Tuesday. Reporting to a well rules advisory committee in Alamosa, Cotten said this type of pattern is similar to what has occurred in the past two years. “Going into December we were quite a bit below average and in December we shot up pretty good. That’s kind of the pattern we are seeing this year. Hopefully it will be like the last couple of years and it will continue to go on up.” Cotten added that although the basin is over 100 percent of average, the basin only has 39 percent of the total snowpack over the season.
Cotten added that although the basin is over 100 percent of average, the basin only has 39 percent of the total snowpack over the season. He added that the snowpack is widely varied throughout the basin with the highest reported snowpack at the Cumbres Trestle Snotel gauge at 160 percent and Beartown sitting only at 81 percent. At year end, it appears Colorado is in good shape with its obligations to downstream states through the Rio Grande Compact, Cotten said. Of the approximately 595,000 acre feet indexed on the Rio Grande this year, the state was obligated to send 160,000 acre feet downstream…
He said Colorado will be slightly over on its deliveries this year on both the Rio Grande and Conejos Rivers. At the beginning of December, the over-delivery was anticipated to be about 1,700 acre feet on the Rio Grande and about 700 acre feet on the Conejos. Cotten said those numbers could vary when the final water accounting is completed…
One of the main storage reservoirs for Rio Grande Compact water is Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico. Cotten said that as of Monday, Elephant Butte had 360,000 acre feet of usable compact water in it. That is up from last week and will continue to rise short term. However, at the beginning of the year the usable amount of compact water will decrease significantly because portions of that water will be calculated for over deliveries from Colorado and New Mexico, Cotten explained. New Mexico will particularly have a fair amount of over delivery this year. As long as that usable compact water is less than 400,000 acre feet in Elephant Butte, storage is restricted in post-compact reservoirs such as Platoro Reservoir, Cotten added. He did not anticipate the 400,000-acre-foot number to be reached until the run-off season next spring.
FromThe Douglas County News Press (Ashley Dieterle):
Board president Mary Spencer had 1,976 votes to retain her in office, edging out the 1,946 votes to recall her by only 30. Mike Casey earned 1,983 votes to keep him in office versus the 1,925 votes to recall him. Sheppard Root had the narrowest lead Tuesday night with the 1,962 votes to retain his seat beating the recall tally of 1,955 by only seven votes. The one vacant position will be filled by Randall Huls wining 1,415 votes over Darcy Beard (1,217) and Tracy Hutchins (753).
The board of the Pueblo West Metropolitan District approved next year’s $24.3 million budget on Monday. The budget included a 7.9-percent raise in water fees and a 3.2-percent raise in sewer fees. Steve Harrison, the district’s director of utilities, said the raises sound large but only amount to a few dollars a month for modest-sized homes.