The Cañon City Council awarded a bid to Avalanche Excavating to install a 20-inch water main between Fourth and Ninth streets on College Avenue during its regularly scheduled meeting Monday. “As indicated in the city engineer’s memo to City Council, we did do this with alternate materials, PVC or ductile pipe,” said City Administrator Steve Rabe. “In this instance, Avalanche’s estimate (of $297,749.70) came in the lowest over almost all bidders, but with a better product, ductile pipe.”
The sustainability of one of Colorado’s most sensitive natural resources, our waterways, is being pitted against the demand for recreation and commerce. Floating, while it may seem to be non-consumptive, has impacts on the habitats where it occurs. There is bank damage at put in/take outs, toilets next to rivers, bank side parking lots, trails along rivers, overfishing and trash to name just a few. These impacts add up, resulting in real biological consequences. The impact is not limited to fish; fish-eating bald eagles, water dependent river otters, migratory waterfowl and other riparian dependent species will also be affected if constant boat traffic is present.
The unregulated floating of Colorado rivers is proposed for one of the most precious wildlife habitats in our state; the thin vegetated line along waterways known as riparian habitat. Our riparian habitat represents just 3 percent of the land area but it is essential to sustain 75 percent of our wildlife species. If we were to consider such a major change within one of our National Forests or other federal lands we would be required by law to evaluate the environmental consequences through professional assessments and impact statements. Why would we want less for Colorado’s rivers?
Full reservoirs can mainly be attributed to good snow and reservoir accumulations the previous two years, according to the NRCS. Snow accounts for most of the state’s year-round water supply for drinking and household use, agriculture and recreation. Officials were concerned by the warm, dry weather of early April, but recent mountain storms improved the situation. “These late-season improvements in the snowpack will have positive impacts on this summer’s runoff and water supplies in these basins,” according to a statement today from the federal agency, which measures the state’s snowpack.
Voters approved Issue A by a 734-616 vote Monday in a mail-in election. More than 31 percent of eligible voters cast a vote, high for a special election, where turnout generally is in the 10 percent range, said Amy Kraft, a consulting engineer with Harris Water Engineering, who was the designated election official. “Ballots were coming in heavier in the morning than the afternoon, but it was steady all afternoon,” she said. The issue includes a 5 mill levy, which would cost the owner of a $200,000 house about $7 a month, and allows the district to lift the district’s revenue limit, which now is held in check by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR. The district was approved by voters in November 2008, but it was not funded until this election. “This is the big one,” said Dick Lunceford, president of the water district’s board. “Now we have the district formed and the money in place. While we still have a lot of hurdles and challenges to face, with this step on the ladder, this whole phase is over.”
From the Associated Press via the Casper Star Tribune (Mike Stark):
In some years, wildlife officials have come up empty when looking for young, torpedo-shaped Colorado pikeminnow on a 120-mile stretch of the Green below Dinosaur National Monument. Last year, though, they found 325, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said. “It’s the first year in a long time that we’ve seen a number this high,” said Tom Chart, a fish recovery program director with the agency offices in Denver. The tally was a bright spot in the long road toward recovery for the endangered pikeminnow, which has been federally protected since 1973. The fish occurs naturally in the Green and Colorado river basins and has struggled for decades primarily because of a nonnative fish and a loss of water for human development. There have been encouraging signs in recent years along the Green River. That’s due to several factors, Chart said, including increased water flows from Flaming Gorge dam and efforts to drive down populations of predatory smallmouth bass. Wildlife officials gauge success by looking at trends in the number of adults and young pikeminnows…
Crews also spend five days each September looking for young Colorado pikeminnow on the Green River in northeastern Utah. On average, they’ve found perhaps 50 each time, but sometimes none and sometimes fewer than 10, Chart said. That’s why the most recent count was such a surprise.
Two incumbents, John Dorsch and William Coughlin, were re-elected to the St. Charles Mesa Water District board in balloting Tuesday. Newcomer Bob Pritikel was also elected. All will serve four-year terms. According to the informal tally provided by the Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, Dorsch received 63 votes; Pritikel 54 votes; Coughlin 43 votes; and Larry Giltner 35 votes. The top three vote-getters won seats on the board.
The top three vote-getters [Penrose Water District] were Gail Wacholtz with 355 votes, Lance Tyler with 348 votes and Larvetta Carlos with 320 votes. Candidates who did not make the board were incumbent Roland Smith with 151 votes and Les Wilson with 144 votes.
Roy Vega and Allan Bunch were elected to the board with 628 and 558 votes, respectively. Sue Walan pulled in 199 votes, Ray Finney won 177 votes, and Ron Decker tallied 92.
More coverage from the Pagosa Daily Post (Bill Hudson):
Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board candidates Roy Vega and Allan Bunch sat at a large table at Pagosa Pub Works, with their campaign manager Lee Vorhies and four of their loyal supporters — Allan’s wife Marilyn Bunch; Steve Van Horn, the owner of Great Divide Title; Glenn Walsh, the editor of the Pagosa Post magazine; and myself. Roy and Allan were quietly celebrating. Marilyn had arrived a few minutes ago from the EMS offices next door, where she’d been serving as a “poll watcher” — and she’d brought us the unofficial results of the PAWSD election. Approximately 764 voters had cast their ballots in the Tuesday election — about twice the number that have typically showed up to vote in PAWSD elections in the past, I was told — and Roy had pulled in 628 votes, Allan 558.
More Arkansas Basin coverage here. More San Juan Basin coverage here.
This year’s snow season, which runs from the beginning of September through the end of April, saw 84.6 inches of snow fall at the weather station on CSU’s main campus. More snow fell in 1988 and 1980, when 114 inches fell on the city. Most of the snow this winter fell early in the season, when October turned out to be an unusually cold and snowy month, said Don Day of DayWeather in Cheyenne. Once the snow season entered the new year, however, Fort Collins experienced a dry spell for most of January and February before seeing more snow in March and April, he said. The snowy winter was generally unique to the plains of the Front Range urban corridor, while the mountains received much less snow. “The best snow years in the plains do not equal good snow in the high country,” Day said.
By April 29, the quality of Larimer County’s snowpack was spotty; with the water content of the snow at Chambers Lake north of Colorado Highway 14 a tepid 55 percent of normal, according to Natural Resources Conservation Service data. Not far away at Cameron Pass, the snowpack was 72 percent of normal, while Deadman Hill west of Red Feather Lakes saw a snowpack 139 percent of normal…
This year’s snow season ended on a wet note. Last month was the 19th wettest but 39th least snowy April on record at CSU. Fort Collins received 1.9 inches of snow last month – 5.2 inches below normal for April.