Wet Mountain Valley: Westcliffe and Silver Cliff stormwater project gets Westcliffe Board of Trustees approval

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From the Wet Mountain Tribune (Nora Drenner):

Following the public hearing, by a six to one vote, the Westcliffe trustees voted to move forward with the proposed project. Cascarelli was the lone no vote. [Westcliffe trustee Joe Cascarelli] was also the lone no vote to approve resolution 6-2010 appointing Squire as the certifying official for an environmental assessment as required by DOLA for the proposed stormwater drainage project.

More Custer County coverage here.

Montrose: Uncompahgre River Corridor Master plan ‘vision workshop’ Monday

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From the Montrose Daily Press (Kati O’Hare):

At a “vision workshop” from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Montrose Pavilion, citizens can help direct the future of 10 miles of river corridor through the city of Montrose. Options include boat ramps, a water park, a dog park, trails, fishing access and commercial development.

The team has recorded everything from habitat and bank conditions to land use and water quality. They also have sketched possible public amenities, identified potential land acquisitions and trail connectivity, and have outlined a public process to move forward. But the community’s wants and needs are a critical part of the process, said Ann Abel Christensen of DHM Design…

The consulting team has broken the 10-mile corridor into 18 sections, each of which will be addressed separately. Maps and details of each section will be displayed at Monday’s meeting, as will conceptual drawings for community input.

More Uncompahgre River watershed coverage here.

South Platte Basin: $18.3 million Cheesman Dam rehab to kick off next week

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From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

The divers’ environment — 200 feet beneath the surface of Denver’s mainstay reservoir and under 70 pounds per square inch of pressure — resembles “a space shuttle in reverse,” said Spencer Dell, 36, a member of Seattle-based contractor Global Diving & Salvage Inc.’s underwater team. A phone-booth-size diving bell will carry two team members out from a six-bunk main chamber, connected by hoses and wires, for 12-hour construction shifts. They’ll wear rubber suits heated with warm water and hard yellow helmets fitted with earpieces and microphones. Because the helium-oxygen mix they will breathe distorts voices, their words must be unscrambled by a support crew listening from a floating steel barge. The overhaul of rusty, leaking cast- iron fixtures — scheduled to begin Monday at dawn — marks Denver’s first major effort to upgrade the dam, a 221-foot-high granite-brick structure that, when the reservoir opened in 1905, was the tallest in the world…

Tunnels blasted and chiseled through granite a century ago, but currently closed off and never inspected, eventually must be cleaned to prevent clogging. The overhaul also includes major electrical upgrades. If all goes well, Denver will be set for another century…

After blasting, cutting and prying out corroded iron fixtures, the divers must bolt in three rectangular stainless-steel sleeves designed to carry reservoir water into tunnels — each gate worth $500,000 — and then inject grout and seal them in place. They also must install a grate with 2-inch holes — coated with enamel designed to prevent invasive mussels from attaching — to keep debris from clogging Denver’s supply system. Project engineers, who planned this overhaul for five years, relied on century-old blueprints. They’re bracing for surprises divers probably will encounter.

Here’s the Cheesman Dam history page from Denver Water. From the website:

Cheesman Dam, which was named for Walter Scott Cheesman, was the world’s tallest at 221 feet when it was completed in 1905. Cheesman was the first reservoir of Denver’s mountain storage facilities – a small, but visionary, beginning that helped expand Denver Water’s system. In 1973, the dam was designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. It remains, after more than 100 years, the workhorse of the storage system and jewel among the system’s dams, a monument to thoughtful planning and wise water use.

More Denver Water coverage here.

CWCB: The draft State Drought Mitigation & Response Plan is ready for public comment

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Here are the Public Review Draft 2010 Drought Hazard Mitigation Plan, Annex A, Annex B and the Appendices.

From email from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (Ben Wade):

The State of Colorado’s DRAFT Drought Mitigation and Response Plan is now available on the CWCB website for public comment. The Plan was comprehensively revised to comply with the FEMA’s 3-year planning cycle. The revision process has resulted in a State Drought Plan that uses state of the art planning techniques to prepare Colorado for drought. The mitigation plan, the response annex as well as the associated appendices will be available online until August 20th.

The plan also includes a groundbreaking vulnerability assessment of state assets as well as various sectors affected by drought. The methodologies, as well as the state asset section, are available for your review now. Please check back early next week for the individual sector specific chapters.

Please direct all comments to Jeff Brislawn at jeff.brislawn@amec.com by close of business on August 20th, 2010. Should you have any questions regarding the plan or public comment period please contact Taryn Hutchins-Cabibi at the CWCB’s Office of Water Conservation and Drought Planning at 303.866.3441 ext. 3231.

More CWCB coverage here.

Northern Integrated Supply Project: Second annual support rally recap

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From the Fort Lupton Press (Kevin Drake):

Armed with a clever, new retort to familiar pleas of “Save the Poudre,” proponents of the Northern Integrated Supply Project rallied support for the divisive regional reservoir project Thursday in a Weld County barn…

The second-annual rally at Anderson Farms in Erie, emceed by Weld County Commissioner Doug Rademacher and former state Ag Commissioner Don Ament, was billed as an opportunity for farmers to voice their support for the project. But a lengthy line of state legislators and representatives, as well as county and municipal officials, took to the podium atop a wooden farm trailer to tout the benefits of the project.

“I’m proud to stand before you and support NISP,” said State Sen. Mary Hodge (D-Brighton). Hodge said she is concerned about the continued disappearance of rural agriculture due to what she called “buy and dry” practices and the area’s dwindling water supply. “The West Slope seems to think they don’t need to send us any more water, so we need to effectively use what we have,” Hodge said. “This project takes us in that direction. It’s our water. We’re saving it for a not-so-rainy day.”[…]

“It is not one or the other,” [Frederick Mayor Eric Doering] said. “Those agricultural needs continue to need to be met. They can’t be met without the kind of project that this fits. It’s not only farmers for this, it’s municipalities for this, to protect the agricultural interests of this state, especially this region as we move forward.”

More Northern Integrated Supply Project coverage here and here.

Bayfield: Watering restrictions are now in place

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From the Pine River Times:

The Town of Bayfield is imposing restrictions on the use of municipal water for landscaping. Watering with municipal water will not be allowed between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily. Additionally, residents and businesses will be restricted from watering certain days. Odd numbered addresses will be allowed to water on odd numbered calendar days and even numbered addresses will be allowed to water on even numbered calendar days. The restrictions are imposed due the unusually dry and hot summer. The Pine River has gone “on call,” which means many of the Town’s water rights will not be available for water treatment. The town purchases storage water from the Pine River Irrigation District to ensure there is adequate water during dry spells. However, the town needs to protect against excessive use, which could require the town to purchase more water, which in turn can affect water rates.

More conservation coverage here.

Paonia scores $285,880 towards the costs of a new water treatment facility

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From the Delta County Independent:

Federal stimulus dollars are being distributed from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority (CWRPDA). The CWRPDA and the Water Quality Control Division reviewed the Town of Paonia’s original request for funding from the Drinking Water Revolving Fund. Town clerk Barbara Peterson received a letter dated July 2 from Nick Walter, CWRPDA senior financial analyst, stating the town had qualified for the loan which does not have to be repaid. In effect, the loan has become a grant.

More water treatment coverage here.

Rubber bladder dam breaks at Tempe, Arizona

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Here’s some video from MyFoxPhoenix.com. Thanks to Loretta Lohman for the link.

Here’s a report from the Associated Press via The Durango Herald. From the article:

The 16-foot-high section of the dam on Tempe Town Lake near Arizona State University’s campus broke open at about 10 p.m. Tuesday. There were no immediate reports of any injuries and authorities said no structures were in immediate danger…

Witnesses said the dry Salt River filled as far as the eye could see within seconds, and small animals could seen scrambling away from the floodwaters. Warning sirens began wailing within minutes, and officers rushed along the riverbed to warn anyone – particularly transients known to camp on the river bottom during the summer – of the approaching water. Water was flowing at 15,000 cubic feet per second, equivalent to the amount released during heavy storm flows, Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman said…

Tempe spokeswoman Kris Baxter-Ging said its unclear how the rubber dam burst, but she said workers were speeding up an already under way effort to replace the dam’s bladders…

The lake has four inflatable dams on both ends and the dam sections were supposed to last for 25 to 30 years.

Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District resignations

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From the Pagosa Sun (Chuck McGuire):

As previously reported, Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District Manager Carrie Weiss tearfully announced three staff resignations during last week’s monthly board meeting, including her own. Understandably, following nearly 28 years of devoted district service, it was a particularly poignant moment for her. At the virtual end of a lengthy public session, an emotional Weiss began by first asserting that, “I have some resignations to report.” While clearly struggling to maintain composure, she added, “Um, Lisa Dermody is leaving the district, and Nancy Stahl has, um, agreed to fill her position. It was opened up to the rest of the staff and Nancy was interested and she gladly accepted that. But, it (Dermody’s departure) is a huge loss to the district.” With somber hesitation, Weiss tentatively continued, “… Sheila Berger is leaving … and … it’s time for me to leave the district.”

More Pagosa Springs coverage here.

Conservation webinar sponsored by the Centennial Water and Sanitation District July 29

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From the Highlands Ranch Herald:

Centennial Water & Sanitation District is offering a free online “webinar” entitled “A Healthy Landscape with Less Water” from noon to 1 p.m. July 29. The session will provide information about budgeting water consumption, programming irrigation controllers, making seasonal adjustments and monitoring water usage.

Click here to download the flyer.

More conservation coverage here.

2010 Colorado elections: Cory Gardner makes a stop in Sterling

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From the Sterling Journal Advocate (Callie Jones):

He also talked about why he ran for state legislator, because he felt rural Colorado and agriculture didn’t have a strong enough voice in the legislature. “The people weren’t represented in Denver the way they should be,” he said. “I can see the same thing happening in Washington, D.C.,” Gardner said. “We’ve got to let people understand what it takes to run a business, to live in rural Colorado, to operate a farm or ranch, to have that water that we need that is truly the life blood of this state.”[…]

He also talked about water issues, saying more water needs to be stored on the South Platte River.
“We have got to store more water up and down the South Platte River, so places like Sterling and Logan County can continue in viable farming and agriculture for generations to come,” Gardner said.
He also said NISP (Northern Integrated Supply Project), up near Fort Collins and Greeley, needs to be built “to make sure that we have the water storage necessary to keep the buy up and dry up of farms from destroying agriculture as we know it.” He noted that at one point last year more than 4,000 CFS of water was flowing out of the South Platte River and into Nebraska that legally and rightfully belonged to the people of this state, to put toward a beneficial use. “If we can put that water here, think what we can do in places like Morgan County, Weld County, Adams County,” Gardner said. “Where we can once again allow people to start using their water, to turn on their wells, and make sure that we have those opportunities to keep places like Sterling, Colorado, vibrant for generations to come.”[…]

“I am an ‘all of the above’ energy supporter,” he said “If we are going to grow our economy, if we are going to make sure that families continue to live affordably in the United States and Colorado, we have got to adopt an all of the above energy policy, and that means that we take a look at exploring for new avenues of traditional resources like natural gas, like oil, like coal.”

More 2010 Colorado elections coverage here.

Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District board meeting recap

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District met with FEMA officials and consultants Friday to review FEMA’s plans to release new flood plain maps for El Paso and Pueblo counties. Pueblo County maps are expected in September 2011 and El Paso County maps to follow in October 2011. “The purpose of today’s meeting is to begin to educate the board on the work the Technical Advisory Committee will be doing,” said Gary Barber, executive director of the district.

The work is significant to the district because the FEMA maps will define the area of primary authority the district has — the 100-year flood plain between Fountain and Pueblo. Perhaps more importantly, the maps will allow the district to develop policies and recommendations for future development along Fountain Creek, Barber said.

Colorado Springs is developing guidelines for development that the technical committee would like to apply throughout the watershed…

FEMA undertook its own study, after looking at old maps that estimated peak flows for a 1 percent annual chance, or the 100-year flood, at 93,000 cubic feet per second in El Paso County and 64,000 cfs right across the county line in Pueblo County, Jula said. There are often differences between counties, but FEMA and the Colorado Water Conservation Board, which oversees flood plain mapping in Colorado, wanted to bridge the unusually large gap on Fountain Creek, Jula said. The new study shows much lower numbers for a 100-year flood, roughly 39,000 cfs at both Fountain and at the confluence with the Arkansas River. “The gauges do not have consistent and concurrent data,” Jula said, pointing out that data sets from seven stream gauges were used. Not all of the gauges have functioned properly throughout the years. Particularly missing are two of the largest floods on Fountain Creek, in 1921 and 1935. The 1965 flood also is estimated, with a range of 47,000-60,000 cfs at Pinon. Under some estimates, at least on some points on Fountain Creek, the 1921 and 1935 floods were probably larger.

More Fountain Creek coverage here and here.