Rocky Ford: Arkansas Valley Farm-Ranch-Water Symposium and Trade Show will be February 3

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From The Pueblo Chieftain:

The seventh annual Arkansas Valley Farm-Ranch-Water Symposium and Trade Show will be Feb. 3 at the Gobin Community Building in Rocky Ford. Local food production, organic agriculture and other farm-related topics will highlight the daylong event, which is sponsored by Colorado State University Extension, the City of Rocky Ford, Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service…

Registration begins at 8 a.m. The program will begin at 8:30 a.m. Early registration is $20 per person or $30 per couple before Jan. 28, and $25 and $35 after Jan. 28. Student registration is $5. For information, contact the CSU Extension office in Rocky Ford at 719-254-7608, Emily Lockard at 719-583-6566 or the website.

More Arkansas River basin coverage here.

Snowpack news

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

Friday Jan. 7, the local snowpack had dropped slightly to 138 percent of average for the Roaring Fork basin, despite light snow falling throughout the first week of the year. The snowpack at the NRCS measuring station on Independence Pass Friday showed the snowpack there was at 126 percent of average, while the McClure Pass station showed 146 percent of average and the Ivanhoe station in the upper Fryingpan River valley showed it was at 128 percent of average. On the upper valley’s four ski areas, the Aspen Highlands ski patrol is reporting that snow depths at Cloud Nine are 150 percent of the 30-year average. At the Snowmass Ski Area, snowfall from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 was 124 percent of average, as the area has recorded 152 inches of snow against the 122-inch average. December alone at Snowmass was 142 percent above average, as 67 inches fell against the 47-inch average…

As of Jan. 1, Colorado’s statewide snowpack was 136 percent of average and 159 percent of last year’s readings, according to the NRCS, making it the highest Jan. 1 snowpack since 1997, when statewide it was at 160 percent…

Southern Colorado was at 57 percent of average until mid-December, when wet storms then quickly boosted the snowpack in the combined San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan rivers basins to 144 percent of average on New Year’s Day. As of Friday, the Dolores River basin snowpack was 119 percent above average, the San Juan River basin was at 118 percent and the Animas River basin was at 132 percent of average. In the northern part of the state, the Yampa and White River basins were at a combined 136 percent of average. The snowpack in the Gunnison River basin was 149 percent of average Friday. The snowpack in the entire Colorado River basin above Lake Powell on Thursday was at 140 percent of the long-term average.

Stormwater: Boxelder Basin Regional Stormwater Authority update

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From the North Forty News (Cherry Solokoski):

The Boxelder Authority board voted at its Dec. 16 meeting to make recommendations involving both the fee area and rate brackets for the project. The board wants to expand the fee area to include an additional 554 homes. Partly because of the added properties, the authority foresees lower fees for 2011. In the unincorporated county, the lower fees would be reflected in 2012 bills, since the county bills in arrears. To accommodate the lower fees, the authority board is also requesting a change in fee brackets. In the original IGA, the board was allowed to charge between 3 and 4 cents per square foot of impervious surface. The suggested new bracket would put fees between 2 and 4 cents.

Fort Collins, Wellington and Larimer County must agree on any changes to the Boxelder Stormwater IGA. Authority manager Rex Burns said the proposed changes will be sent to all three entities by mid-January…

According to Burns, the board is also recommending credits for some properties whose runoff is captured by irrigation reservoirs. The “thumb” area near the Windsor #8 reservoir will likely be credited 100 percent, he said, but it will still remain within the fee area.

The proposal to expand the Boxelder fee area is not popular with everyone. The law firm Lawrence Jones Custer Grasmick LLP, acting on behalf of James Fry and Richard Seaworth, submitted a letter to Larimer County, Fort Collins and Wellington on Dec. 16, asking them to “resist any proposed expansion of the Authority’s fee area.” Fry and Seaworth also want the “thumb” area taken out of the fee area. The letter asks that the power of the Boxelder Authority be “sharply curtailed,” arguing that “the Authority’s ambitions have exceeded the public mandate supporting it.” The letter states that “the upstream rural property owners receive no discernable benefit, and serve only as a source of funding for improvements benefitting the downstream properties.”[…]

In the meantime, construction plans for the Boxelder improvements are moving ahead. It is expected that most Phase I work will be completed by the end of 2011. Besides enlarging Clark Reservoir, work will include widening the Inlet Canal flowing into Clark Reservoir and building a new bridge over the canal.

More stormwater coverage here and here.

Energy policy — nuclear: Does the CPDHE license for the proposed Piñon Ridge mill signal that Colorado is open for business for uranium mining and processing?

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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):

Critics of the [Powertech Centennial Project] said Thursday the Western Slope mill approval says little about how the state might approach its review of the Centennial Project…

Powertech’s uranium mining and processing method [in situ leach mining] would be different than the conventional hard-rock uranium mining and milling that may occur in Montrose County. At the Centennial Project, Powertech proposes to use a baking soda-like solution to dissolve the uranium underground, pump it to the surface and process it on site. “It’s up to us to lay out a responsible and clear guideline of what we’re going to be doing there so the agency can review it and determine a positive result,” Powertech USA President Richard Clement said Thursday. “The companies who understand the resources know there are clear guidelines they have to follow to get permits and licenses. As long as you follow those guidelines, then you will be successful.”[…]

Environmentalists said the approval doesn’t mean the state won’t scrutinize the Centennial Project carefully before permitting it. “I think it’s fair to say that the state is not opposed to uranium mining, so they’re going to make judgments on a case-by-case basis,” said Matt Garrington of Environment Colorado. He said the state’s approval of the mill might signal to other uranium mining companies that Colorado’s door is open for uranium extraction.

More nuclear coverage here and here.