Colorado Foundation for Water Education: ‘Climate & Colorado’s Water Future’ Workshop March 11

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Don’t forget to sign up for the workshop. It should be a hoot. The workshop is at the National Ice Core Lab at the Denver Federal Center. It’s a treat to go into the freezers where they store and work with the ice cores.

More coverage from the Summit County Citizen’s Voice. From the article:

Ice cores from the right sites can contain an uninterrupted, detailed climate record extending back hundreds of thousands of years, including temperature, precipitation, chemistry and gas composition of the lower atmosphere, volcanic eruptions, solar variability, sea-surface productivity and a variety of other climate indicators. In an ice core, all that information is stored in one place, making it much easier for researchers to pinpoint the timing of specific events or changes in the atmosphere.

One of the biggest collections of ice cores is maintained at the National Ice Core Laboratory in Denver, and early next month, participants in the Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s Climate & Colorado’s Water Future’ Workshop will have a chance to tour the lab as part of an interactive workshop on climate science.

More Colorado Foundation for Water Education coverage here.

Castle Rock: Water discussion March 6

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From The Parker Chronicle:

For residents of the Front Range, water is always an issue. At 2 p.m. March 6, the Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock will have an open discussion about this topic with those in the know. Castle Rock utilities director Ron Redd and local water conservation specialist Rick Schultz will help attendees learn where our water comes from, why Castle Rock water rates differ from Denver water rates and more. Registration is free at 303-791-7323 or at

More South Platte River basin coverage here.

NIDIS Weekly Climate, Water and Drought Assessment Summary of the Upper Colorado River Basin

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Here are the notes and slides from this week’s webinar, from the Colorado Climate Center.

More forecast news from the Summit County Citizen’s Voice. From the article:

For the next few months, forecasters expect the jet stream to begin tracking farther north, both in response to the weakening La Niña and to the gradual springtime warming of the northern hemisphere. La Niña’s influence should last at least through March, with periods of moderate to heavy snowfall, while drier than average conditions, along with gusty winds, will prevail east of the Continental Divide.

Energy policy — nuclear: Moab uranium mill tailings mitigation project update

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From the Associated Press via The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:

Originally, the department budgeted $108 million for the removal of 2 million tons. But when the project reached that benchmark, only $83 million had been spent. Moab Federal Project Director Donald Metzler says the remaining money will be used to remove at least 300,000 more tons of tailings to the permanent disposal site near Crescent Junction, about 30 miles south of Moab.

More Moab tailings coverage here and here. More nuclear coverage here and here.

Southern Delivery System update

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From the Cañon City Daily Record (Charlotte Burrous):

“(The project) will provide water through 2050, depending on growth and potentially a decade or two beyond that,” said Colorado Springs Utilities SDS program director John Fredell, who spoke at the Fremont County Engineering Scholarship Foundation annual fundraiser dinner Thursday at the Abbey. “One key fact about Colorado Springs is more than half of our growth is from within. And we have a lot of military expansion.”[…]

“The majority of our water is transmountain water so it comes from the Western Slope,” Fredell said. “Under water law, when we have water pumped into another basin, we’re taking water from the west slope that wasn’t in the Fountain Creek-Arkansas River Basin, you actually have a right to use that water to extinction that wasn’t on this side of the Divide to start with so it gives us a real opportunity.” What the organization can do is treat the water, release it down Fountain Creek, trade that water with an agricultural interest east of Pueblo. The communities and farmers get that water and SDS takes its share of water from the Pueblo Reservoir, Twin Lakes or Turquoise Lake then run the water through a pipeline to complete the process again. “We found we can get two to two and a half uses out of that water,” Fredell said. “As you can imagine, that water is very valuable versus water that is native to this basin which by law you can only use it once.” Currently, the water runs down Fountain Creek 24/7, but it can not be exchanged all the time. Instead, SDS can store the water to coincide with releases from the reservoirs as it needed.

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.

A look at the challenges facing the users and managers of the Upper Colorado River

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From the Summit Daily News (Janice Kurbjun):

When proposed projects to firm the Front Range water supply move forward — pumping just a small portion of what’s already removed — the Upper Colorado will be at less than 20 percent of its original flow, said Nathan Fey, American Whitewater’s Colorado stewardship director. And that prospect poses significant threats to the river’s wildlife and ecological health as well as the tourism industry in Summit County, Grand County and beyond, he said. The Colorado River is a mecca for fishermen, with prized trout fisheries. Whitewater boaters take to the rapids at all times of the year. Hikers enjoy the scenic panoramas and riverside hot pools. Wildlife is abundant in the headwaters area and as the river meanders down the Western Slope…

Such values have qualified the river, from near its source to its confluence with the Roaring Fork in Glenwood Springs, as a candidate for federal Wild and Scenic River designation, American Rivers’ report states. To continue to enjoy recreational activities and discourage environmental and ecological breakdown of the river, it’s all about flow, American Rivers’ Colorado conservation director Matt Rice said. The Upper Colorado River is going to be a focal point for the organization, which opens a Denver office in the near future. Between hydropower reform and partnering to develop Wild and Scenic River designations, the group has a lot on its plate.

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District board meeting recap

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“This is an El Paso County problem, and I’m reluctant to give a penny to solve a problem caused when your voters rejected the stormwater enterprise,” Pueblo County Commissioner Jeff Chostner said Friday. Chostner was addressing Colorado Springs Vice Mayor Larry Small, who heads the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District board and supported the idea. The request for funding was pulled before the board had a chance to vote.

Summit Economics, a Colorado Springs firm, has submitted a proposal to look at an integrated stormwater plan that would address a complex web of issues tied to the future water supply of El Paso County through Southern Delivery System. Colorado Springs already has committed $20,000; El Paso County, $10,000; and four other communities $1,000 each to fund the study. The study would look at setting up a stable source of funding for stormwater projects in El Paso County, compliance by future SDS partners with Pueblo County 1041 regulations and an integrated solution that also involves parks. One of the study’s goals is to avoid impacts on water rates as well.“We need a watershed-wide integrated approach to stormwater management,” [Colorado Springs Vice Mayor Larry Small] said, in arguing for funding the study. “The only way to do it is watershed-wide.”

Chostner objected, however, saying that when Pueblo County commissioners negotiated the 1041 land-use agreement with Colorado Springs, the stormwater enterprise was in place. The 1041 conditions require future users of SDS to have “a funding mechanism similar to the Colorado Springs Stormwater Enterprise.”

More Fountain Creek watershed coverage here and here.