Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District update

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Here’s Part V, Part VI and Part VII of Bill Hudson’t series PAWSD Makes an Apology, Of Sorts which is running in the Pagosa Daily Post.

More Pagosa Springs coverage here.

2010 Colorado elections

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From the Ag Journal:

[Gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis] underscored his commitment to vital water projects – most notably the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) – that will not only provide much-needed water storage for the northern tier of Colorado, but will be a tool in preserving agricultural land.

More 2010 Colorado Elections coverage here.

Ridgway River Festival June 26

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From The Telluride Watch:

Registration for the 2010 River Festival will begin with registration in Rollins Park from 9-11 a.m. A safety briefing will follow at 11:10 a.m. with racing vessels beginning at 11:20 a.m. (LeMans-style start: run to vessels then get in). The hard shell kayaks/biathlon will start at 11:30 a.m., inflatables/biathlon at 11:40 a.m., paddle boards at 11:50 a.m. and the white water rodeo at 1:30 p.m. The popular Junk of the Unc race will begin at 2 p.m. with the awards ceremony following at 3 p.m. Put-ins for all events will be at the foot bridge in Rollins Park. Take-outs for the down river races will be at Ridgway State Park, approximately 3.5 miles downstream of Rollins Park (except for the Junk of the Unc race which takes out at an eddy just south of the railroad bridge).

Registration for each boat is $20, plus $5 for each non-ACA member competing (please bring ACA card). Discounts are available for those who would like to enter multiple events. All participants must have a coast guard–approved life jacket and helmet to participate.

This year, the festival has added two new river events, a stand up paddleboard race and a biathlon…

Also new to this year’s festival is the incorporation of a LeMans-style start to the river races. Rather than sitting in the river suited up and ready to go, competitors will begin in a footrace to the river, carrying their vessels, before launching towards the finish line.

More Uncompahre River watershed coverage here.

Energy policy — hydroelectric: Free micro-hydro workshop in Ouray June 18-20

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From The Telluride Watch:

The City of Ouray will host a free micro-hydro workshop Friday, June 18 from 1-5 p.m. at Wright Opera House in Ouray. The workshop is part of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society’s annual conference taking place June 18-20. The conference will feature seminars, workshops and tours of local renewable energy facilities…

Topics to be covered at the free workshop will include:

• Current status of micro-hydro in Colorado;

• Federal, state and local incentives available to support micro-hydro construction;

• Case studies of recently built micro-hydro projects in Colorado.

The workshop will include a tour of Ouray micro-hydro installations, including the historic Ouray power plant, one of the nation’s oldest micro-hydro generation plants. The new micro-hydro installation currently being built by the City of Ouray, with grant support from the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office, will also be featured.

Workshop speakers will include the following: Colorado State Senator Bruce Whitehead; Joani Matranga (Colorado Governor’s Energy Office); Jim Heneghan (Delta-Montrose Electric Association); Kurt Johnson (Telluride Energy); Eric Jacobson (Hydrowest); Bob Risch (City of Ouray); Jack Nickerson (City of Cortez): Ruthie Brown (Humphreys Hydro); Trevor LaBorde (Coal Creek Hydro); Beverly Rich (San Juan County Historical Society); and Phil Overeynder (City of Aspen).

More hydroelectric coverage here and here.

Colorado-Big Thompson Project update

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From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

The recent rain is adding inflow to Lake Estes, so we have begun to increase our releases from Olympus Dam to the lower Big Thompson River again. Earlier this morning, June 12, we bumped up releases to around 600 cfs. Around 9 a.m. this morning we went up another 100 cfs to 700 cfs. We will make another increase at 10:00 a.m. to 800 cfs. As the rain continues, additional increases in releases to the Big Thompson Canyon are possible.

More Colorado-Big Thompson coverage here.

Northern Integrated Supply Project: Would Glade have had a flood control effect this year?

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From The Greeley Tribune:

With NISP online, some of the recent regional flooding concerns would have been alleviated and the floodwaters would have been stored for future use, according to Northern Water. The proposed project includes two reservoirs, the Glade Reservoir off the Poudre River north of Fort Collins and the Galeton Reservoir east of Ault. The two would provide storage for 215,000 acre-feet of water…

Diversions off the Poudre to fill the two reservoirs would mostly be available during high runoff years, according to Carl Brouwer, manager of the proposed project at the district. Galeton would have filled during the past fall and winter and remained full with the huge spring runoff this year, Brouwer said in a news release. “More than 50,000 acre-feet of water from this spring could have been stored in Glade Reservoir were it built, in addition to water during 2009,” Brouwer said.

Glade and Galeton reservoirs are the key components to NISP, which is proposed by 15 northern Front Range cities, towns and water districts. The project is under review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. When full, Glade would store 170,000 acre-feet of water and Galeton would hold 45,000 acre-feet.

“This is one of those years when you wish we had these projects in place so the water could be saved for the citizens of northern Colorado,” Eric Wilkinson said. He is Northern Water’s general manager.

More Northern Integrated Supply Project coverage here and here.

Runoff news: Colorado’s Surface Water Conditions from the CDWR

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I’ve been watching the Colorado Division of Water Resources South Platte River at Denver (PLADENCO) station this morning. Clear Creek at Golden is up there as well.

From the Colorado Daily:

High-water advisories and closures on Boulder Creek and the North and South St. Vrain Creeks will remain in effect through the weekend, with cooler temperatures and widespread rain forecast for the area, according to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office.

From the Telluride Daily Planet (Matthew Beaudin):

Over the weekend here, Ingram Falls thickened as wide as some had seen it run, and water from the high country poured into the San Miguel River. “It’s been crankin,” said Erik Dalton, a boater who owns Jagged Edge. “It’s a conveyor belt all the way to Naturita.”

That conveyor belt peaked at nearly 2,000 cubic feet per second near Placerville toward the end of the weekend — absolutely ripping when contrasted with the fact that just days before it was moving at less than 1,000 cfs. By yesterday afternoon, the flows were down to about 1,150 cfs in Placerville, though they rose toward Uravan as the river collected more of its tributaries. The Dolores River just outside of Dolores was flushing along at 1,520 cfs yesterday afternoon. On Sunday, that river peaked at more than 2,200 cfs, 800 cfs larger than just two days prior.

Boaters have a love/hate relationship with the high runoff; it makes for stellar conditions but the enormous flows mean an abbreviated season. Faster runoffs also spell trouble for the watertables — too much water leaves too fast — and fire season.

From email from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (Kevin Houck):

As many of you are aware, snowmelt flooding has been ongoing throughout Colorado for the past several days in response to warm temperatures and rapid snowmelt. For most areas, but not all, high runoff as a function of elevated temperatures has abated for the time being. However, high base flows still exist in many areas with some streams still reporting at or above flood stage.

A number of reliable collaborators and weather forecasters have indicated that a Pacific storm stalling over portions of the state could produce the next credible flooding threat. For the next two or three days, widespread areas of rainfall should develop in the state, especially in the South Platte River basin and to some extent the Arkansas River basin. Although the intensity of this rain is not anticipated to be heavy over large areas, smaller pockets of high intensity rainfall and severe weather could occur. Although this rainfall may create its own flooding problems, CWCB staff’s primary concern is for widespread, long-duration rainfall to add runoff to the already high streamflows caused by snowmelt. This is a very real possibility this weekend. The National Weather Service has already issued a flood advisory for portions of the South Platte basin as of this morning.

The good news is that temperatures have dropped noticeably, especially into this weekend, so the rate of snowmelt runoff has slowed for now. However, temperatures will be cold enough that additional snowfall could fall in the mountains, especially above 9,500 feet. This could lead to another round of high runoff when temperatures begin to increase again next week.

All persons with interests near rivers that are currently running high should carefully monitor stream levels this weekend. It is possible that stream levels could be higher this weekend than already observed, although this is not a certainty. The rain itself could create localized problems in eastern Colorado as well.

The CWCB creates a daily Flood Threat Bulletin (FTB), issued each morning around 11AM. This bulletin can be accessed at:

The FTB outlines and graphically displays the anticipated flood threat each day on a county-by-county basis. Long-range outlooks are also issued on Monday and Friday mornings, and it is suggested that interested persons pay close attention to today’s outlook.

It is also suggested that interested persons monitor the advisory and warning products issued by the National Weather Service at:

CWCB staff will be monitoring the situation carefully. Please contact Kevin Houck by email at or by phone at 303-866-3441 to report any known flooding problems or damages.

Pueblo: City Fountain Creek greenway project tour recap

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“We want everyone to know what’s happening on Fountain Creek,” Montoya told about 30 people who showed up to see for themselves. “This is not just for the East Side, but for all of Pueblo. . . . You need to get out and see it. Touch it. You have to walk the talk.” What planners have in mind are improvements along the creek from Eighth Street to Fountain Creek’s confluence with the Arkansas River. On Friday, people walked, biked or rode in carts along the trail, getting a glimpse of possibilities and problems that for many have just been spots on a map up until now. “The question we’re trying to answer is ‘What can we do to provide better connectivity?’ ” said Scott Hobson, assistant city manager.

Several projects are in the works along Fountain Creek, including the trail improvements, an urban redevelopment project and a sediment removal demonstration project. There are also some nearly 20-year-old plans to improve Runyon Lake that could be woven into the other projects. A trail through the area could incorporate ideas from each, while building on existing areas along Fountain Creek and adding new features like a skate park, water play parks and fields, Hobson said. “We have to look at what improvements will occur and in what sequence,” Hobson said.

The city task force will attempt to settle on an alternative for the first phase of the project in July, under a Great Outdoors Colorado planning grant. Possibilities include closing some streets, creating new recreation areas or simply building on fixtures already in place like Plaza Verde Park and El Centro del Quinto Sol. There could be a new bike and pedestrian bridge at First Street and even riverfront housing, Hobson said. At one point along the trail, Hobson explained how sediment removed from the river could be used on the banks to provide a more inviting slope as people approach the creek.

More Fountain Creek coverage here and here.