Wiggins is in line for a USDA grant to help pay for their proposed supply project

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From The Fort Morgan Times (Dan Barker):

The need for a new source of water is immediate, [Wiggins Town Administrator Bill Rogers] said. People have been complaining about how park lawns are drying out, but the town`s water supply has not been able to keep up with the demand, he said. The water level in town wells has been dropping for years now, and has dropped below 10 feet, Rogers said. “Wiggins is in a critical water situation,” Rogers said, although some people do not seem to want to realize it.

More Wiggins coverage here and here.

Aspinall Unit update

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From email from Reclamation (Dan Crabtree):

Click here for a summary of the September 2, 2010 meeting to coordinate Reclamation’s operation of the Aspinall Unit. Highlights of the operation meeting include:

– Actual Blue Mesa April through July inflow was 494,000 af, representing a moderately dry year. On May 1st, the April through July inflow to Blue Mesa was forecasted at 560,000 af or approximately 78 percent of the 30 year average. The 30-year average is 720,000 af.

– Based on the May 1 forecast, 3,883 cfs was the Black Canyon water right 24 hour peak target. A peak flow of 4,190 cfs was provided, exceeding the Black Canyon water right.

– Blue Mesa did not fill this year with live storage reaching a maximum of approximately 736,000 af.

– On August 19, a significant flash flood hit the Gunnison Gorge moving silt and boulders into the river and damaging trails and campsites.

If you have any suggestions on improving the operation meetings or summaries, please let us know. The next operation meeting will be on Thursday, January 20 at the Hampton Inn, 1980 North Townsend, next to the Montrose Airport. If you have any questions, please call me [Dan Crabtree] at 970 248-0652 or … email (DCrabtree@usbr.gov).

More Aspinall Unit coverage here.

Freeze warning issued for Glenwood Springs, Eagle, Carbondale, Cortez, Dove Creek, Mancos, Durango, Bayfield, Ignacio and Pagosa Springs

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From KJCT8.com:

Freeze warnings are in effect from midnight to 9am Saturday for the central Colorado River Basin, Four Corners, the Upper Dolores River Basin, the Animas River Basin and the San Juan River Basin.

2010 Colorado elections: Proposition 101, Amendments 60 and 61

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From the Aspen Daily News (Brent Gardner-Smith):

“Chances are very good that two out of the three of these will pass,” [John Lay of Coloradans for Responsible Reform] told a group of managers of local health and human services organizations this week in El Jebel. “And I just want everybody to hear that.” Lay said his organization recently spent $250,000 on polling for the ballot questions. The polling found that voter sentiment toward Amendment 61, which would sharply curtail borrowing by local governments, is “running 57 positive.” Amendment 60, which cuts property taxes in a variety of ways, especially for school districts, is seen as a positive measure by 50 percent of those polled, Lay said. Proposition 101, which cuts vehicle registration and telecommunication fees, has the support of about 48 percent of those polled…

Proponents of the three measures have not publicly identified themselves, will not send representatives to debate the measure and will not provide a spokesman to talk to the media on the record. “There is no one that shows up,” Lay said. “There is no one that has presented themselves as being the proponent.”[…]

Chris [Treese], the external affairs manager for the Colorado River Water Conservation District (CRWCD), said the district’s board is appointed by member counties, not elected. He added that Amendment 60 prohibits districts with un-elected boards from levying property taxes, which the CRWCD currently does — via a very small mill levy across 15 Western Slope counties. [Treese] said the loss of property tax revenue, and the loss of vehicle registration fees from Proposition 101, would leave the district just enough money “to figure out who stays to turn out the lights.” “So if protecting Western Colorado water resources is important to you, think carefully, and talk to your friends about what these amendments mean,” [Treese] said.

More 2010 Colorado election coverage here.

Uncompahgre ‘River Assessment’ September 18

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From The Telluride Watch:

The Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership is looking for volunteers to assist in a fact-finding mission on Sept. 18 to evaluate the health of the river corridor. “This is a quick and dirty look at the River,” says Coordinator Sarah Sauter, stressing that no prior experience is required to participate. The Uncompahgre Rapid River Assessment will be a perfect pairing with water quality reports because it will show what key areas look like…

A mandatory training session will be held on Friday, Sept. 17 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Rollins Park in Ridgway to prepare for Saturday’s fieldwork. After a full day following a GPS with a digital camera and field data scorecards, the group will meet at Ridgway Town Park for a barbecue finale.

 Anyone interested should email with any questions and please RSVP by Sept. 11 to Rachel at UWPVista@gmail.com. The Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership meets monthly, and will hold its next stakeholder meeting on Sept.23 from 5-7 p.m. at the Delta Library. Visit its website for more events and information, uncompahgrewatershed.org.

More Uncompahgre River watershed coverage here and here.

The EPA is stepping up data gathering for emerging contaminants

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From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

This summer, federal Environmental Protection Agency teams began testing at Denver Water’s Dillon Reservoir, and at the South Platte and other rivers. The EPA also launched new studies of effects on fish. “At low levels, we don’t know what the effects (on people) will be,” said Kristen Keteles, a Denver-based EPA toxicologist…

The EPA is making emerging water contaminants a top national research priority, agency spokesman Rich Mylott said. “Obviously, it’s going to keep building up in the environment,” said David Norris, a CU professor of integrative biology who has documented feminization of fish in three rivers. Solving the problem ultimately “is going to take changes in the composition of what we purchase,” Norris said. “This has the potential of feminizing humans.”[…]

Improvements this year at Boulder’s wastewater treatment plant were shown to reduce feminization of fish. USGS and CU scientists are monitoring fish near the plant. “We’ve found antidepressants, like Prozac, accumulating in the brains of fish,” CU’s Norris said. “We’ve found it slows their reactions down, slows their response to a predator.”

Reverse osmosis and ultraviolet treatment systems being installed at some new suburban water plants can remove some contaminants. Researchers haven’t found ways of removing everything. Costs of plant upgrades run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Meanwhile the DEA is sponsoring a Drug Take Back day on September 25, according to a report in the Pikes Peak Courier View. From the article:

The Drug Enforcement Administration and government, communities, public health as well as local law enforcement are partnering together for a national prescription drug “Take-Back” day. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25 you will be able to drop off dangerously expired, unused or even unwanted drugs for proper destruction at specific sites across the nation. Drop-off sites are available at the Sheriff’s Office located at 11400 W HWY 24, in Divide. The fee for this event is free and you may remain anonymous.

In addition to the “Take Back” program, the Teller County Sheriff’s Office also participates in prescription drug destruction. Citizens of Teller County may drop off unused or expired prescription medications at the lobby of the Sheriff’s Office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tablets, capsules as well as all other solid dosage forms will be accepted. Intravenous solutions, injectibles and syringes will not be accepted.

More water pollution coverage here.