State Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee votes unanimously to move Jim Martin’s appointment to DNR forward

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From the Grand Junction Free Press:

Gov. Bill Ritter’s pick to head the Colorado Department of Natural Resources has cleared the first hurdle to confirmation at the state Capitol. The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to back Jim Martin’s appointment. The full Senate will vote next.

Arkansas Valley Conduit: $14 million for project to be included in next year’s federal budget

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“What we hope for is that it will be part of the president’s budget on February 1,” lobbyist Christine Arbogast told the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District on Thursday. “If it’s not all there, we’ll work with the congressional delegation (to get the full amount). . . . The deadline for that process is February 26.”[…]

This year could be the first time funds for the project are included in a presidential budget request, and hopes have been bolstered after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s visit to Pueblo last August. At a public meeting, Salazar made Arkansas Valley issues, including the conduit, a high priority. Meanwhile, the Southeastern district is moving ahead on pre-project activities on an accelerated schedule using an Environmental Protection Agency grant, said project manager Phil Reynolds…

Consultants also have begun discussing issues with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Bessemer Ditch and the Pueblo Board of Water Works. The initial path of the pipeline would cross Pueblo and could follow the ditch route toward the first customer, the St. Charles Mesa Water District…

The largest users are St. Charles, 17.47 percent; Lamar, 16.66 percent; La Junta, 14.22 percent; Rocky Ford, 8.05 percent; Las Animas, 6.7 percent; and Crowley County Water Association, 6.68 percent. Another 3 percent was set aside for contingencies. Communities east of Pueblo are entitled to 12 percent of the total yield of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project under past allocation principles. That averages 9,643 acre-feet per year, but can vary widely from one year to the next. The communities are entitled to more than 37,000 acre-feet of Fryingpan-Arkansas Project storage in Lake Pueblo, however.

More Arkansas Valley Conduit coverage here and here.

Snowpack news

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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):

As of Thursday morning, the snowpack in the South Platte River Basin, which includes the Poudre River watershed, is 23 percent below normal, according to snowpack data compiled by the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s National Water and Climate Center. A year ago, the basin’s overall snowpack was only 6 percent below average. The snowpack below Cameron Pass at Joe Wright Reservoir is 79 percent of average, down from 105 percent of average a year ago.

Statewide, the snowpack is well below normal as well. The Yampa River Basin is down to 69 percent of normal. The Upper Colorado River Basin and the Laramie and North Platte river basins are both 72 percent of normal, while the Gunnison River Basin today sits at 80 percent of normal. The Gunnison’s snowpack a year ago was 110 percent of normal.

More coverage from the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):

“What it means is, we’re probably a little better than halfway to building up our total peak (in snowpack),” said Chris Pacheco, assistant snow survey supervisor at the NRCS in Lakewood. “Between now and April, we’d have to get 130 percent of average snowfall to reach the average peak.”[…]

The snow is dry, too, with its water content nearly 3 inches below average at Cameron Pass and 76 percent of average statewide. “Seventy-six percent of average is pretty low,” Pacheco said, adding that the NRCS forecasts that there is a 10 percent probability the snowpack will return to average levels by the end of the snow season.

More coverage from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):

“We’re right about halfway through the winter accumulation season right now,” [Mike Gillespie, snow survey supervisor in Colorado for the Natural Resources Conservation Service] said. “It’s not really too early, I don’t think, to be a little concerned. We’re starting off on a deficit right now.” One question is whether this year’s El Niño weather pattern will bring much relief to the state. Usually, that weather pattern benefits the southwest corner the most, he said. This week, a storm has been hitting that region hard, with the Silverton Mountain ski area reporting 17 inches of snowfall in a 24-hour period, and Wolf Creek Ski Area saying Thursday the storm had brought 29 inches, with a lot more snow still in the forecast. But Dave Merritt, a board member of the Colorado River Water Conservation District in Glenwood Springs, said he saw no new snow while driving Interstate 70 east to Denver on Thursday.

More coverage from The Aspen Times (Scott Condon):

Data collected at the Skico’s snow station near Cloud 9 Restaurant at Aspen Highlands showed there were 185 millimeters of water content in the snowpack, Burkley said Thursday morning. The median for this time of winter is 258 millimeters. The lowest season-to-date was 111 millimeters back in 2000. As of Thursday morning, this season ranked in the 20th percentile for snowfall over the past 30 years, according to Burkley. In other words, only six seasons have been drier since 1980. Three of them came between 1999 and 2001, he said.

More coverage from The Pueblo Chieftain (Matt Hildner):

A storm system that could dump up to 4 feet of snow in the eastern San Juan Mountains hit Thursday afternoon and was expected to sit over the area through late Friday…

Foothills communities such as Creede and South Fork are forecasted to get between 8 and 17 inches of snow. Between 6 inches to a foot of snow are expected to fall on the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, including Poncha and La Veta passes…

Thursday’s storm had dropped 5 inches of snow at Wolf Creek Ski Area by 2 p.m. The snowfall also led to the implementation of chain laws on Colorado 17 over Cumbres and La Managa passes. By 6 p.m., 4 inches of snow had fallen at Antonito, while an inch had fallen in Monte Vista, according to weather service spotters.

Coyote Gulch archives in danger of going missing

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I was having some trouble this morning with images that I had uploaded to the the servers at Radio Userland my old hosting service for Coyote Gulch. After checking in the the folks at Userland I found this announcement.

UserLand has decided to close the Radio UserLand and Salon Radio services as of December 31, 2009.

Update: Due to server outages in late November and early December, the Radio UserLand and Salon Radio services will remain available until January 31, 2010.

You can continue to use your Radio weblog hosted with UserLand until the end of the year.

If you plan on continuing to use Radio to publish your blog, we would recommend that you look for an alternative web host if your weblog is being published to a UserLand server. You can use the FTP option [1] in Radio to publish to your own server.

The closure of Radio will also mean that the UserLand-hosted comments, trackbacks and stats tracking will be unavailable after the shutdown date.

If you have any questions, please send them to

UserLand Software

All of Coyote Gulch’s content up until February 2009 is hosted there. Links to old articles and graphics will now be broken. ARGHHHH! (It makes me scream). There is a chance that I will be able to re-publish all the articles to another server but I have low confidence in Userland’s software. I apologize to all of you readers that still navigated to the old blog from time to time. I planned to pay my fees each year and hoped that Userland Software would at least keep everything on line in perpetuity even if they didn’t allow new posting. That doesn’t seem to be the case.