Snowpack news: Loveland Ski Area goes over 500 inches of snow for season

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From the Sky-Hi Daily News:

Loveland Ski Area marked a total snowfall on the season of 500 inches Tuesday following the recent storm. It’s the third time in Loveland’s history to hit the 500” snow mark, according to a press release. The all-time record was 572 inches in 1995-1996 is the all-time record at Loveland Ski Area.

2011 Colorado legislation: HB 11-1286 (Clarify State Engineer Nontributary Rule Authority) passes state Senate

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From The Durango Herald (Joe Hanel):

House Bill 1286 tells the courts to give deference to state water regulators, who adopted maps last year to show when gas and oil wells need to be given greater scrutiny to make sure they don’t injure the water rights of nearby landowners. Farmers and ranchers have sued the state over the rules, saying they are a giveaway to the gas industry. HB 1286 passed 35-0, and the bill is now on its way to Gov. John Hickenlooper.

More 2011 Colorado legislation coverage here.

Greeley: Annual Children’s Water Festival April 27

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From The Greeley Tribune:

The city of Greeley will host the 2011 Children’s Water Festival from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on April 27 at Island Grove Park…

The event, which was first established in 1991 by the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District, is co-hosted by Greeley and the West Greeley Conservation District. This year’s theme is “World Water,” with presentations and exhibits that focus on local, regional and global water issues using language arts, math, science, social studies, visual arts and health to teach children that water is an essential, limited resource.

More education coverage here.

Crystal River: The Colorado River District approves abandonment of most of their undeveloped storage rights on the river

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From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent:

The package of rights known as the West Divide Project were tied to a plan devised in the 1960s to build two large reservoirs in the Crystal River valley at Redstone and divert the stored water to the Divide Creek basin south of Silt. There, the water could have been used in Divide Creek and the Colorado River valley for irrigation or oil shale industry. The Osgood Reservoir would have flooded the village of Redstone, while the smaller Placita Reservoir upstream would have flooded the canyon just below the Marble turn and McClure’s Pass.

Although the River District will abandon the rights associated with building large reservoirs, it will retain other rights and shift their use to help the Crystal River basin with late season flows and create the potential for hydropower development.

The West Divide Project also included rights in the West Divide Creek basin. These water rights will be maintained to benefit the original West Divide service area, but use water supplies only from within the basin. The River District’s actions were made in concurrence with the West Divide Water Conservancy District board…

The original West Divide Project was approved by Congress in 1966 as part of the historic Colorado River Storage Project Act, which led to the construction of the Animas-LaPlata Project and Ridgway Reservoir. But the Bureau of Reclamation subsequently judged the West Divide project unfeasible on a cost-benefit basis, and it was never granted federal funds.

More Crystal River coverage here and here.

Restoration: Rio de la Vista (Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust) wins the Environmental Law Institute’s ‘National Wetlands Award for Conservation and Restoration’

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Matt Hildner):

The Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C., gave its National Wetlands Award for Conservation and Restoration to Rio de la Vista on Monday for her work in helping conserve more than 27,000 acres of wetlands. De la Vista has done a big portion of that work as a coordinator for the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust, which since 1986 has protected more than 19,000 acres along the Rio Grande that include ranch land, wildlife habitat and senior surface water rights.

More restoration coverage here.