Custer County: Round Mountain board elections

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From The Wet Mountain Tribune (Nora Drenner):

The special district election will be held Tuesday, May 4, with the polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the county courthouse on that day. Those wishing to receive a ballot in the mail have until April 28 to submit a request, if the ballot is to be mailed. The cut-off date to request a mail-in ballot that the voter is going to pick-up at the courthouse is April 30.

Click through to read Ms. Drenner’s candidate profiles.

More Custer County coverage here.

Reclamation accepting applications for ‘Catch a special thrill’ fishing event at Horsetooth Reservoir for families with disabled children

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From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

I am now accepting registration for families of disabled children interested in our annual CAST (Catch a Special Thrill) event at Horsetooth Reservoir. If you, or someone you know, has a child with disabilities between the ages of 5-18 who might be interested in a day of fishing and fun up at the reservoir, please contact me either by phone or e-mail for more information…

Just a quick update on Horsetooth Reservoir: we are still filling the reservoir at a rate of about half a foot per day. We are currently at an elevation of just under 5412. We anticipate this rate of fill will last through the month.

More Colorado-Big Thompson coverage here.

Republican River Basin: The Republican River Water Conservation District asks the CWCB for one year extension use compliance pipeline loan

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From The Yuma Pioneer (Tony Rayl):

The $60 million loan from the Colorado Water Conservation Board initially was finalized on November 3, 2008, with the completion date set for November 3, 2010. RRWCD authorized spending $45 million last June to purchase the water rights to more than 50 wells north of Laird, to be used for the proposed pipeline that would deliver water to the North Fork of the Republican River at Colorado-Nebraska state line. The board made the move at that time as concerns arose the loan money might be taken away if not used due to Colorado’s financial crisis. The remaining $15 million is to be used toward the actual construction of the pipeline.

However, getting to the construction phase has proved difficult. Kansas and Nebraska, who along with Colorado comprise the Republican River Compact Administration, have voted against the pipeline, as each has raised several concerns both states would like to see addressed to their satisfaction before granting approval. After the RRCA rejected Colorado’s revised proposal last August, Colorado invoked the matter go to fast track arbitration, as allowed by the final stipulation agreed to by the three states. Even that has gone slowly, with an arbitration schedule finally settled just two weeks ago. Due to all those circumstances, it has become obvious the pipeline would not be completed by the initial deadline. Attorney David Robbins recommended during the RRWCD Board’s regular quarterly meeting, last Thursday in Yuma, that the district request the completion date be extended for one year…

Peter Ampe of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office met briefly with the RRWCD Board, last Thursday. He said Colorado’s stance will be that all the objections raised by Kansas and Nebraska are purely arbitrary and really have nothing to do with the pipeline itself. If [Arbiter Martha Pagel] agrees, during the motions phase of the process, then the trial itself simply will be about how the pipeline plan meets compact guidelines. The arbitrator’s decision is non-binding, but Ampe said it is admissible if the case ends up going to the U.S. Supreme Court.

More Republican River Basin coverage here and here.

SB 10-027 (Fine illegal surface water diversions): Governor Ritter signs the bill just in time for irrigation season

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Here’s the release from the Governor’s office:

GOV. RITTER SIGNS SEVERAL BILLS INTO LAW TODAY

Gov. Ritter signed the following bills into law today:

HB10-1044 Neighborhood youth org requirements
HB10-1107 Urban Renewal Area Ag Lands
HB10-1135 Define domestic violence child custody
HB10-1233 Relocation of stalking statute
SB10-27 Fine illegal surface water diversions

More SB 10-027 coverage here. More 2010 Colorado legislation coverage here.

Denver Water Board of Commissioners names James Lochhead to replace Chips Barry

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From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):

Denver Water has reached across the Continental Divide to select Glenwood Springs attorney Jim Lochhead as its next manager and chief executive officer. He replaces Chips Barry, who will be retiring at the end of May after 20 years on the job. Lochhead’s hiring is another signal of increasing cooperation between Denver and the Western Slope over water issues, and it is being well-received by the Colorado River Water Conservation District. “It’s a tremendous selection on the part of the Denver Water board,” district spokesman Jim Pokrandt said…

Lochhead said, “I’m looking forward to kind of bringing that broader perspective to Denver Water and not only advocating for Denver Water but also hopefully bringing an understanding of the Western Slope and the state and the West and some of the issues and challenges that we face,” he said. He said today’s world is more interdependent, and it’s important to find ways for entities to work through a lot of common challenges. “Denver Water holds the key to a lot of that as the premier water utility in Colorado,” he said…

Gov. Bill Ritter praised Lochhead’s hiring in a news release. “In the West, water issues touch every part of our life and having a leader like Jim will benefit the whole state. Jim’s leadership and experience dealing with water issues makes him a perfect fit for this position,” Ritter said.

More coverage from the Vail Daily (Julie Sutor):

Lochhead is currently a lead shareholder at law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, where he has negotiated many complex transactions regarding water and other natural resources in the Rocky Mountain West. He has a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology and a law degree from the University of Colorado…

Denver Water obtains much of its water supply by pumping the precious resource from the Colorado River Basin across the Continental Divide to growing Front Range cities and suburbs. Those transbasin water diversions have often been a source of tension between West Slope and Front Range communities…

“By selecting a current West Slope resident to head its agency, Denver Water chose a leader who understands the statewide repercussions of Denver Water’s decisions. [Western Resource Advocates] looks forward to working with Mr. Lochhead as Denver Water continues to improve its conservation programs, water supply planning, and role as a leader to help resolve water issues statewide,” [Western Resource Advocates water program director Bart Miller] added.

More Denver Water coverage here.

Leadville to celebrate 150 years of mining

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Tracy Harmon):

The April 1860 discovery of gold in California Gulch by Leadvillite Abe Lee set this town on its mining path filled with plenty of colorful characters and their rags-to-riches stories. The 150th anniversary celebration of mining in Leadville is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. April 24 at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, 120 W. Ninth St. The event will begin with tours of the museum and a wine tasting. A three-course gourmet dinner will follow at 7 p.m…A silent auction and Victorian dance featuring the music of the Shadow Mountain Sting Band will follow starting at 9 p.m. Victorian or miners’ attire is encouraged. Cost is $80 per person or $150 per couple or $20 per person for dance-only tickets. Reservations for the event are requested by Monday by calling 1-719-486-1229.

Garnet Mesa Dam spillway poses threat to dam State Engineer warns

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From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:

A hydrology study found the existing spillway is inadequate and could pose a threat to the safety of the dam, so the state is limiting water in the lake to a level not to exceed 1-foot below the crest of the spillway. Lowering the lake level a vertical foot has decreased the length of the boat ramp to 17.5 feet and launching is not recommended for vessels over 18 feet long. A concrete curb at the end of the ramp marks a water depth of 3 feet. Beyond this curb, there is a 4-foot to 5-foot drop off. If boaters back their trailers beyond this curb, it could result in trailer and/or vessel damage. The storage restriction will remain in effect until a state-registered engineer proposes a solution to increase the capacity of the spillway.

More infrastructure coverage here.

Ridgway State Park open for boating

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From The Grand Junction Daily Press (Dave Buchanan):

To prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species, all trailered vessels entering and leaving the park are required to be inspected. The inspection station is open from 8 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. seven days a week through May 3. After then to May 15, hours will be 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. After May 15, the summer inspection hours will go into effect: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through Labor Day.

More Uncompahgre River watershed coverage here.

Montrose County Commissioners support the Lower Dolores River Working Group’s proposals

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From the Montrose Daily Press (Katharhynn Heidelberg):

Those supporting alternate plans to protect the Lower Dolores River can count Montrose County in. Montrose commissioners are supporting the Lower Dolores River Working Group’s efforts to develop protections for the river that also protect private property and water rights, the commission decided in a resolution last week. Parts of the Lower Dolores, which flows through Montrose County’s West End, are listed as “suitable” for federal Wild and Scenic River designation.

More Dolores River watershed coverage here.