Energy policy — geothermal: Gypsum deep geothermal project update

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From the Eagle Valley Enterprise (Derek Franz):

“We wasted four months because we were handling (the geothermal resources) as a mineral right and then realized it made more sense being handled as a water-right issue,” said Jeff Shroll, Gypsum’s town manager. “No one’s really sure how to handle it.”

Lee Robinson, a manager for Flint LLC — known as Flint Eagle LLC in this particular venture — phrased the situation a little differently. “It’s a bit of legal pioneering that we’re doing,” he said. “Nobody has done what we are trying to do, at least not in Colorado.” The legal complications have to do with federal and state statutes and their classifications for a geothermal resource. Robinson described an involved process for sorting out the paperwork before the company can drill…

“Surface geothermal has been used before, but no one has really gone that deep before,” Shroll said recently. Robinson estimated the resource could save some town entities around 20 percent or more in energy expenses, depending on the water’s temperature. If the exploration proves fruitful, Robinson wants to drill more wells and utilize the resource throughout the county…

In his July presentation, Robinson said the Rio Grande Rift extends from Mexico into Colorado under the earth’s surface. The rift is caused by the earth’s crust getting pulled apart. Water trickling down into the deep nooks and crannies of such a rift is then heated by the earth’s mantle. Robinson said the airport is the closest land to the rift that’s entirely owned by Gypsum, including mineral rights, and that’s why he wants to explore there, west of the runway.

More geothermal coverage here.

Colorado Ag Preservation Society meeting February 3

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From The Holyoke Enterprise:

The Colorado Agriculture Preservation Association (CAPA) will be hosting its annual meeting with featured speakers including the Colorado state engineer Dick Wolfe, first assistant attorney general Peter Ampe, assistant director for water of the Division of Natural Resources (DNR) Alex Davis and president of the RRWCD Dennis Coryell. They will explain the results of arbitration, what that means for North and South Fork users of the basin, what future plans are for compact compliance and the future of the compact compliance pipeline. The meeting will be held Thursday, Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. in Burlington at the Boy Scout building.

More Republican River basin coverage here and here.

Colorado River District: Mesa County Commissioner Steve Acquafresca appointed to board

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A Mesa County Commissioner has been appointed as a board member for the Colorado River Water Conservation District. Steve Acquafresca is replacing Dick Proctor, who has represented the county on the board for the last six years.

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

Blue River Watershed Assessment update

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From the Summit Daily News (Janice Kurbjun):

The Blue River Wildfire and Watershed Assessment, the latest of which was presented by JW Associates environmental consultant Brad Piehl on Tuesday in the County Commons building, is one of many tools used by the U.S. Forest Service and by Colorado water officials as they prioritize work to be done to protect water sources…

“Each water system has different threats,” said John Duggan, a state source water assessment and protection coordinator, adding that in Summit County, wildfire and emergency response to hazardous-waste spills and other problems are significant pieces to consider. “Our source water protection plan is a holistic, broader approach,” he said, explaining that the Blue River assessment is among a quiver of information to use as they approach issues surrounding water protection. “Wildfire is a piece of it. A significant piece.”[…]

Some of Summit County’s high-priority areas for wildfire and watersheds include inflows to Dillon Reservoir, Old Dillon Reservoir, areas in and around Frisco, Tenmile Creek, Keystone Gulch, and the Snake River. Some of these areas already have projects in place or planned, such as areas targeted by the Forest Service that overlap with the assessment’s high-priority areas. The Forest Service plans to transition from hazard tree removal to watershed protection this year.

More Blue River watershed coverage here and here.