Here’s the release from the Colorado Agricultural Preservation Association (Bethleen McCall). Here’s an excerpt:
The Colorado Agriculture Preservation Association (CAPA) hosted their annual meeting…Thursday evening, February 2, 2011 at the Burlington Scout Center. Approximately seventy members of the public were present. The meeting started off with a panel that included the Colorado State Engineer Dick Wolfe, Peter Ampe First Assistant Attorney General, Alex Davis Assistant Director for Water DNR, Mike Sullivan Deputy State Engineer, Dave Keeler Republican River Basin Water Commissioner, Dennis Coryell President of the RRWCD and Dave Robbins.
Alex Davis provided a brief history of the ownership and leases that effect Bonny Reservoir and then went on to explain that federal funding for projects across the state are tied to those leases. She explained that the State has been working to change the leases to assist the State of Colorado with Compact Compliance and that they had submitted a proposal to amend the contract. They were recently notified that their proposal was accepted however there is a Public Process that is required prior to the completion of the amendment. There will be a meeting on March 7th to fulfill that requirement. The State will be issuing notice of that meeting in the coming weeks. She also explained that the Division of Wildlife and Division of Parks have formed a joint commission to create an action plan of how to manage the Bonny area after the amendment is complete. The area will still be available for public access however they are not sure what that will consist of yet. They will also be required to have some water in the reservoir for flow though purposes. Another concern that came up was the estimated 50,000 waterfowl that stop in the Bonny Reservoir during their migration each year. Davis then went on to say how much she appreciated the work that the CAPA board has been doing on behalf of its members and said that through the complex issues of compact compliance the board is thoughtful and sees the larger picture.
La Niña conditions, which have played a key role in influencing recent winter weather in the U.S. and other parts of the world, are beginning to wane, and will likely be gone by early to mid-summer, according to the latest outlook from forecasters at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI). La Niña is a natural climate phenomenon that is characterized by cooler than average waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Like its sibling El Niño, La Niña influences global weather patterns by altering air pressure and predominant winds over the Pacific, which have ripple effects — known to meteorologists as “teleconnections” — in far flung locations. It can make certain conditions — such as drought in the American Southwest — more likely to take place, while lessening the odds of other outcomes.
The keynote speaker at the event was Wes Wilson, an Environmental Protection Agency whistle blower, who brought to light the dangers of hydraulic fracturing fluids (called fracking) to the public found in our air and water in 2004.
Phil Doe, a board member of Be the Change USA, introduced Wilson and stated that Wilson’s background included years of experience as a geological engineer, water resource manager, worked for the EPA for many years, served in the Vietnam War, and during the Bush administration became a whistle blower due to the “misinformation” from the oil and gas industry. Wilson was also involved in the two documentaries on this subject called Split Estate and this year’s Oscar nominated film Gasland.
The residential portion of Sterling Ranch will be designed to use an average of 0.22 acre-feet of water per unit per year, or about 71,500 gallons — even though Sterling Ranch has agreed to bring additional water for the first phase of development. This low-use target has proved feasible at several residential developments across the West and is less than a third of the county’s current planning standard. Using readily available technology, Sterling Ranch will be able to meet this target without requiring residents to modify their normal behavior.
There is an array of practices that can be used to conserve water in new developments, many of which are exemplified in Sterling Ranch’s proposal. Indoors, all new homes will be built with water-efficient appliances and fixtures, such as low-flow showerheads and high-efficiency toilets. Outdoors, small yards will be planted with water-wise, drought-tolerant vegetation and watered with efficient irrigation systems.
Across the development, homes will be clustered in villages with parks and open spaces providing ample recreation opportunities. Homeowners will be charged for their water using a conservation-oriented rate structure, the most powerful water-conservation tool. In addition, ongoing reporting of water use will enable the tracking of water-conservation savings and adjustment of management practices as new technologies become available.
More conservation coverage here. More Sterling Ranch coverage here.