Morgan County: $2.5 million available to farmers for improving water quality, increasing the water supply, decreasing soil erosion and improvement of fish and wildlife habitat

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

This funding will pay 65 percent of the cost to install pipelines, ditch linings, ag waste systems, grass seeding, tree plantings and wetlands creation or restoration. It will also pay 50 percent of the cost to install pumps and 40 percent of the cost of installing sprinklers and underground drip irrigation systems, said Allen Green, Natural Resources Conserva-tion Service state conservationist…

Research shows that an underground drip irrigation system can nurture the same number of crops with 25 percent less water, giving the same yield, said Ross Roberts of Colorado State Irri-gation, who was asked to explain the system. This is critical for growers who do not have enough water to go around, he said. That extra 25 percent means they can raise more crops…

Larry Palmer, a dealer for CSI in Wiggins, said he uses drip irrigation on 150 acres and gets a phenomenal yield — far more than he used to get with other kinds of irrigation. As a general rule of thumb, growers can expect a 20 percent increase in yields with the same amount of water, Roberts said…

Growers located in the Beaver Creek Watershed portion of the Morgan Conservation District are eligible to take part in the stimulus program, Green said. There are no ranking system requirements. They have this opportunity because the watershed had made a proposal to NRCS earlier, al-though there was no funding for any programs at the time, he said…

Overall, the idea is to increase the efficient use of water and control of sedimentation and runoff, he said. NRCS is willing to help individual farms that want to participate, Green said. Contracts are limited to $100,000 per individual or entity and are for three to 10 years…

Those who wish to apply for funding can contact the USDA Service Center in Fort Morgan at 200 W. Railroad Ave., or call 970-867-8568 ext. 3.

More South Platte River Basin coverage here.

Energy policy — geothermal: Free workshop planned for September 8 in Glenwood Springs

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From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent (John Colson):

The free workshop, which is sponsored by the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office, is scheduled for Sept. 8 at the Glenwood Springs Community Center, 100 Wulfsohn Road, from 2:45-6:30 p.m. “It’s an educational event for the community,” said Joani Matranga of Carbondale, who is the GEO’s Western Slope representative. “The hope is that the community will think about how they should take some steps forward in terms of geothermal.”[…]

“Most of the Colorado hot springs communities are now considering ways to expand geothermal uses to reduce their fuel use, long-term costs and impacts,” wrote John Gitchell of Sustainable Business Solutions in Eagle. Matranga conceded that geothermal heating, cooling and electric generation systems are “definitely more difficult to implement” than other alternative energy technologies, such as solar or wind generators…

The workshop will feature talks by Matranga, Francisco Flores, also of the GEO; Paul Morgan with the Colorado Geological Survey; geologist Mike Galloway of ERO Resources; and Kevin G. Rein, an engineer with the Colorado Division of Water Resources.

To learn more about Glenwood Springs’ potential for geothermal, the city has posted the Lund report on its website,

More geothermal coverage here.

Southern Delivery System: Colorado Springs Utilities ponies up $2.2 million for Fountain Creek mitigation

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The settlement is based on figures prepared by CH2MHill for Colorado Springs Utilities, independently verified by K.R. Swerdfeger Construction of Pueblo. Those figures showed $35,000 for sediment analysis, $500,000 for dredging, $1.3 million for sediment collection devices and $367,000 for project management and contingencies. [Pueblo County] will look at recommendations from the city of Pueblo and the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District on how to spend the money.

City stormwater consultant Dennis Maroney earlier this year recommended removal of an out-of-service railroad bridge, combined with modification of the approach to the bridge as a better long-term solution than repeated dredging. The city is still in negotiation with the Union Pacific Railroad for purchase or removal of the bridge.

That is just one of the possible uses of the money, [Commissioner Jeff Chostner] said. “The county will not purchase the bridge,” Chostner said, adding that there are unknown costs associated with potential environmental cleanup. “We will review a number of projects before deciding how the money will be spent.” The $2.2 million is in addition to $50 million Colorado Springs committed to the Fountain Creek district under a separate condition of the 1041 permit.

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.