Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy board meeting recap

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From The Mountain Mail (Joe Stone):

The act would designate 850,000 additional wilderness acres in Colorado at 34 sites, including six in the Upper Arkansas River Basin and three along streams of “particular importance to the Upper Arkansas region,” district manager Terry Scanga said.

He identified the three tributaries as Beaver, Badger and Grape creeks and presented a letter from attorney John Hill describing negative impacts of the wilderness designation on water rights in those areas. All are downstream from developed areas. Hill wrote that wilderness designation would require the Secretary of Interior to claim all unappropriated water in these areas for in-stream flow, which “would preclude any future appropriations upstream of the wilderness area.”

In the case of Grape Creek, Hill wrote, “The proposed wilderness area … would significantly impact the operating regimen of DeWeese Reservoir.”[…]

Tim Canterbury, district board member and immediate past president of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, said he recently spent four days in Washington on behalf of cattlemen urging DeGette to “go back and rewrite the implementation” that directly affects cattle grazers, water districts and other water users. “She said, ‘Absolutely not,'” Canterbury reported. “We (the association) are not opposed to wilderness, but to the effects on cattle grazing … . Since she’s not willing to talk about it, we have to oppose this.” Canterbury added, “The agencies have no choice on implementation, and that’s the problem because it eliminates all activity.”

More Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District coverage here.

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