Upper Arkansas Valley: FIBArk recap

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From The Denver Post (Scott Willoughby):

Nearly 100 competitors — from ages younger than 10 to older than 50 — signed up to race the whitewater slalom Saturday through a course of “gates” strung above the Arkansas River at FIBArk Festival, telling veterans of the Olympic paddling discipline that the sport some have written off as dead on the vine remains ripe for a new generation…

As part of the 62-year-old FIBArk Festival, slalom racing was introduced to “America’s oldest and boldest whitewater festival” in the 1950s, joining the 26-mile downriver kayak race as the technical test for the title of “First in Boating on the Arkansas River.” More than 50 years later, it is still attracting top competitors from around the world, including a half- dozen Olympic athletes and world champions from five nations.

In slalom racing, paddlers negotiate a course similar to that of the namesake skiing discipline, the difference being a two-second penalty for touching any of the 20 gates they paddle past. The skill is evident as kayaks and canoes no shorter than 3.5 meters (about 11 1/2 feet) negotiate tricky river currents in order to pass through the gates in both downstream and upstream directions. Miss the move — or pass through upside down — and the penalty is an insurmountable 50 seconds.

More Arkansas Basin coverage here.

Steamboat Springs: Yampa innertube season is starting — glass, littering, styrofoam coolers, dogs, nudity, alcohol and standing in the riverbed are off limits

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From Steamboat Today (Zach Fridell):

This afternoon, the river was running at about 1,000 cubic feet per second, only half the flow measured a week earlier. By Sunday, forecasters say, the river could hit the ideal “safe” flow for tubing of 700 cfs.

National Weather Service forecaster Bryon Lawrence said there is not expected to be much precipitation in the river valley and the river should continue dropping this week.

Peter Van De Carr, president of Backdoor Sports, said even at 700 cfs, tubing the Yampa River in Steamboat can be dangerous. “We’ll evaluate daily, but even 700 cfs is pretty darn ripping for a big, strong guy,” he said.

More Yampa River Basin coverage here and here.

Aurora Water wins a ‘Best of the best’ award at AWWA taste test competition

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Here’s the release the AWWA via Earth Times:

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) today announced that Wisconsin’s Stevens Point Water Department won the annual “Best of the Best” Water Taste Test. The event, composed of regional winners from water-tasting competitions across North America, was held at AWWA’s Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE10) in Chicago.

Stevens Point Water Department, now known throughout North America for its tasty water, has reliably provided Stevens Point residents with groundwater since 1922.

Second place in the competition was awarded to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection while Lincoln Water System of Nebraska and Silverdale Water District of Washington tied for third place.

Other “Best of the Best” participants in today’s competition included: City of Allegan, MI; City of Blythe, GA; Aurora (CO) Water [ed. emphasis mine]; Ave Maria (FL) Utility Company; Massachusetts Water Resources Authority; Village of Canajoharie (NY) Water Works; Guaraguao Treatment Plant, Ponce, PR; City of Hamilton, OH; Hardin County (KY) Water District No. 2; Kearns (UT) Improvement District; Marshalltown (IA) Water Works; Moorhead (MN) Public Service; San Patricio (TX) Municipal Water District; St. Charles (LA) Water District No. 1; City of Stratford, ON; Valley City (ND) Public Works; and the Village of Park Forest, IL.

An esteemed judging panel rated each water system on its flavor characteristics. Judges included Dr. Stephen Booth of Kennedy/Jenks, who is also chair of AWWA’s Taste and Odor Committee; Monique Durand, engineer at Hazen and Sawyer, P.C and member of the Taste and Odor Committee; Dr. Pinar Omur-Ozbek, research assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University; and Matt Rodewald, reporter for Chicago’s NBC affiliate.

This is the sixth year AWWA has held the national competition. Previous winners are Macon (GA) Water Authority (2009), the Louisville (KY) Water Company (2008), Oklahoma City Water and Wastewater Utility (2007) and Illinois American Water, Champaign District (2006 and 2005).

ACE10 gives its more than 12,000 attending water professionals a chance to network and stay abreast of innovative technology and best practices for providing safe water. To facilitate professional development, AWWA offers two exhibit hall education sessions, six in-depth Sunday workshops and 92 professional sessions.

AWWA is the authoritative resource for knowledge, information, and advocacy to improve the quality and supply of water in North America and beyond. AWWA is the largest organization of water professionals in the world. AWWA advances public health, safety and welfare by uniting the efforts of the full spectrum of the entire water community. Through our collective strength we become better stewards of water for the greatest good of the people and the environment.

More Aurora coverage here and here.

Southwestern willow flycatcher boots tamarisk leaf beetles from 13 states

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From The Aspen Times (Mead Gruver):

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service last week formally ended its program of releasing saltcedar leaf beetles to eat saltcedar, also known as tamarisk, in 13 states: Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Montana, Washington and Wyoming.

The reason for the program’s demise is the southwestern willow flycatcher, an endangered species found in scattered pockets around the Southwest. The bird nests in saltcedar, as well as in native willows and cottonwoods.

Concern that beetles could destroy much of the bird’s nesting habitat was why the USDA excluded New Mexico, Arizona and California from the beetle-release program, which began in 2005.

Now, scientists think the beetles are likely to spread from the states where they were introduced. They say it could be just a matter of time before the insects chew through saltcedar all the way down the Colorado River drainage in Arizona and eastern California.

More tamarisk control coverage here and here.

Jeff Crane (Colorado Watershed Assembly) named ‘National River Hero’ by the River Network

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From the Summit Daily News:

River Network, along with Tom’s of Maine, presented the River Heroes Awards, which celebrate rivers and those who protect them. The National River Heroes are nominated and selected by peers.

Crane is a hydrologist specializing in stream restoration, irrigation diversion and habitat-enhancement projects with a major emphasis in water resource engineering and hydrology. In 1996, Crane helped establish the North Fork River Improvement Association to help rally support for the restoration of the North Fork of the Gunnison River.

Crane’s experience building coalitions to address river issues in the North Fork watershed lead him to partner with other watershed leaders to form the Colorado Watershed Assembly in 1999. The Colorado Watershed Assembly is an advocate and support network for a statewide coalition of over 70 local citizen groups working to protect the health of their unique watersheds. The assembly provides a statewide voice to increase public awareness of watershed issues and plays a variety of roles in supporting grassroots organizations.

More restoration coverage here and here.

Fort Collins: Free sprinkler system audits available

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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan:

Fort Collins Utilities is offering free sprinkler system assessments to help residents learn how to water their yards more efficiently, saving water and money. The audits take approximately two hours and are scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis June through August. To qualify, you must live in a single-family home or apply as a homeowner’s association. You also must be a Utilities customer. This includes those served water by Fort Collins Loveland Water District. East Larimer County Water District customers may request an audit by calling (970) 493-2044. To signup or for more information, visit http://www.fcgov.com/ sprinkler-audit, send e-mail to utilities@fcgov.com or leave a message with name, address and phone numbers at (970) 416-2666.

More conservation coverage here.