Lower Dolores Plan Working Group recommends against Wild and Scenic desigation for five reaches of the river

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From the Cortez Journal (Kimberly Benedict):

While in the process of identifying the outstanding remarkable values along the five reaches of river from McPhee Reservoir to Bedrock, members of the group zeroed-in on another priority for the river: legislation to provide an alternative to a Wild and Scenic River designation.

“The two main tasks for the group were to come up with recommendations on the nuts and bolts for management of the river,” said Dolores Public Lands Office Manager Steve Beverlin. “That is the document they just gave us. The other task was to investigate the large scale and longer term management needs of the river.”

Through looking at the long-term needs of the area, the working group determined a Wild and Scenic designation was not in the best overall interests of the river and decided to work toward an alternative.

More Dolores River watershed coverage here and here.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation: Arkansas Valley Conduit and Long-Term Excess Capacity Master Contract EIS

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From the Arkansas Valley Conduit Long-Term Excess Capacity Master Contract Environmental Impact Statement website:

erm Excess Capacity Master Contract website. This website will update regularly with new information related to the EIS. Documents and quick links will be listed in the menu on the left. Upcoming events, recent accomplishments and contact information will be posted in the box below.

Reclamation is preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) to evaluate the effects associated with the proposed construction of the Arkansas Valley Conduit (AVC), an authorized feature of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, and issuance of an Excess Capacity Master Contract to the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District.

On July 30, Reclamation published its Notice of Intent in the Federal Register. Publication of the Notice initiates the public scoping period during which the public has an opportunity to provide comments for input and direction on the EIS. The public scoping period closes on September 13, 2010.

Part of the EIS process relies heavily on public involvement and comments. Public comments help Reclamation identify: (1) issues relevant to the proposal; (2) elements of the environment that could be affected by the proposal; and (3) possible alternatives to the proposal. These items will all be evaluated and described in the Draft EIS.

Reclamation will host five public open houses the week of August 16. Each open house will consist of informational displays, a brief presentation and opportunities for providing comments.

Here’s the scoping letter (pdf) from Reclamation via Kara Lamb.

More Arkansas Valley Conduit coverage here and here.

Water treatment: The Colorado Water Quality Control Commission approves new rules for disinfection

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Patrick Malone):

The Colorado Water Quality Control Commission voted unanimously to abandon its 43-year-old policy of granting waivers that allowed some water providers to sidestep disinfectant standards…

Former Pueblo County Commissioner John Klomp serves on the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission. He said the Alamosa [Salmonella] outbreak underscored the importance of adopting up-to-date standards for drinking water. “If water is not purified and standards are not what they should be, people can be exposed to microorganisms that can cause disease and impact a whole community,” Klomp said.

The state had granted 126 disinfection-treatment waivers. It began urging that supplies be chlorinated during the 1950s and mandated it in 1967. Waivers were granted mostly when entities could prove that source water for their water systems were contamination-free. Under the rules adopted Monday, no new waivers will be granted. Holders of the 37 waivers that remain must abide by new testing standards, and purification systems using ultraviolet light must add chlorine to the mix to counter the potential for residual contamination. Among those still operating on disinfection waivers are three schools statewide, including the Centauri High School/Middle School building. Schools have until July 1, 2012, to begin disinfecting their water systems with chlorine to comply with the new rules and retain their waivers.

More water treatment coverage here.

Bailey Canyon: Bailey Fest 2010 Saturday and Sunday

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From The Denver Post (Scott Willoughby):

Legal-speak aside, the debut of a coordinated recreational water release through Bailey Canyon calls for a party. Bailey Fest 2010 will celebrate the optimal flow of 300 to 450 cubic feet per second (cfs) planned for release from Dillon Reservoir via the Roberts Tunnel into the often underserved stem of river running through Bailey Canyon and Foxton.

Kayakers are encouraged to come out and show their support of the rare summer release by paddling the classic Class IV/V run beginning at the town of Bailey on Saturday, followed by a takeout party with free food and beer from 2-6 p.m. at Pine Valley Ranch Park. Colorado Whitewater is planning a cruise down the more mellow Foxton section (Class III) on Sunday. In between, group camping is free to boaters and volunteers along Forest Road 550 near Buffalo Creek.

For more information, call Ian Foley at 303-907-1373 or Confluence Kayaks at 303-433-3676.

More whitewater coverage here.

Energy policy — hydroelectric: Aspen’s proposed Castle Creek hydroelectric power generation facility update

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From the Aspen Daily News (Curtis Wackerle):

The [Aspen City Council] did not vote on an ordinance at Monday’s meeting that would approve a new building on Power Plant Road which would house a turbine for a new hydroelectric power-generating facility. Instead, council members wanted more information on current streamflows in Castle Creek and more details on how much water would be removed from the creek and when to run the plant. That water would be discharged back into the creek below the hydro facility…

A primary issue is a study from Miller Ecological Consultants that finds that 13.3 cubic feet per second is the minimum amount of water that can be left in the creek to support a healthy environment. The maximum amount of water that the hydro power plant can use is 25 cfs. There seemed to be confusion around what duration of time the creek would be lowered to the minimum streamflow of 13.3 cfs. Council members sought clarity on this issue before they could vote.

Councilman Torre suggested that perhaps the city could develop minimum streamflows that vary by month, since in-stream flows fluctuate throughout the year. Torre said he wanted to move forward on the project, but only if he was assured that the stream would not be jeopardized. “I think we can have both,” he said. He also added that he didn’t think he fully understood the implications of the project when he voted for it…

One of the city’s main points in favor of the hydro facility is that it uses city water rights that could otherwise be claimed by other parties. If a senior water right holder does not use that right, those rights can be considered abandoned under Colorado water law…

“I don’t trust the Front Range,” [Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland] said.

More hydroelectric coverage here and here.