From The Pueblo Chieftain:
An expected widespread snowstorm for Colorado hit the hardest in the southern half of the state Thursday in the San Juan Mountains. Wolf Creek Ski Area there reported 9 inches of snow had fallen by midafternoon…In the Upper Arkansas River Valley, the Monarch Pass area was hardest hit by the winter storm Thursday. Snowfall measured between 3 inches and 8 inches on Monarch Pass, but nearby Salida did not have any measurable snow…In Custer County, about an inch of snow was reported at the airport and just a bit of snow was reported in the East Hills area…A weather spotter in the Cuchara area said 2 to 3 inches of fluffy snow fell throughout the day Thursday. In nearby La Veta, about 2 inches of snow fell.
From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
U.S. District Court Phillip Brimmer on Wednesday “administratively closed” a lawsuit by the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District against the Bureau of Reclamation for issuing Aurora a 40-year contract in 2007 to store and exchange water at Lake Pueblo…
“What this means is that the case can be opened for cause if Aurora is not abiding by its agreement with the Lower Ark,” said Jay Winner, general manager. “I think we have tied their hands.”
“I think the agreement is in place, the judge’s action doesn’t change the obligations of Aurora to follow the agreement,” said Mark Pifher, director of Aurora Water. Pifher said Aurora is committed to living up to all of the provisions of its agreement with the Lower Ark district. The agreement, reached in 2009, asked the judge to stay the case for two years while Lower Ark and Aurora, among other things, worked for federal legislation to allow Aurora to use the Fry-Ark Project…
In the most recent report to the court, lawyers for the two sides indicated Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., agreed to look at legislation. Since then, Udall has made it clear he would not support any legislation unless there is agreement from all members of the Colorado congressional delegation and all parties involved. That could involve as many as 11 separate entities and the Bureau of Reclamation, which were engaged in talks prior to the lawsuit.
“The decision takes the pressure off getting the federal legislation done,” Winner said. “It also gives us the opportunity to educate people that what we are doing is about keeping other people out of the valley.” The agreement with Aurora enlists the city’s support of Lower Ark programs in the Arkansas Valley that keeps other cities in the Northern part of the state from using Fry-Ark facilities to move water out of the Arkansas Valley.
From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
“We’ve still got a long ways to go, because there’s a lot of legal stuff,” said Super Ditch President John Schweizer. “There is a lot of paperwork and permits involved, but it all looks very promising.”[…]
Super Ditch delayed its signup date to Feb. 15 at the request of the High Line board in order to give shareholders on all seven ditches time to consider the pros and cons of signing on.
High Line shareholders also approved a feasibility study that would allow the ditch company to buy shares that are for sale. “It might be a way to help young farmers get a start,” [Superintendent Dan Henrichs] said.
More than 80 percent of those on the Fort Lyon Canal have returned cards saying they are interested in participating in Super Ditch contracts. Dale Mauch, a former Fort Lyon president who represents the canal on Super Ditch, said there are many frustrations that have been expressed by farmers, and more are interested in participating in a water leasing program. “The groundswell of Super Ditch is gaining momentum,” Mauch said. “It’s a way to deal with all these issues we’re facing.”[…]
The Lower Ark district is paying for the legal and engineering fees to jump-start Super Ditch, and is sponsoring the compliance plan for the irrigation rules to reduce the costs to farmers. On behalf of the Super Ditch, the Lower Ark sent out packets asking 2,000 shareholders on the seven ditch systems if they are interested in the program and has received more than 600 positive replies with some replies from each ditch.