Rio Grande River basin: Valley water managers are considering applying for Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program funds to jumpstart the groundwater sub-district #1 process for retiring acreage

A picture named slvdischargerecharge.jpg

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Matt Hildner):

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program funds are being looked at by valley water managers to help retire up to 40,000 acres of irrigated land in the north-central part of the valley. “I think it’s something that would be in that priority class for us,” [U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo] said after a meeting with potato farmers Thursday. The first-term congressman had campaigned on cutting the federal budget, but he told the farmers that his spending preferences would be prioritized around energy, self-sufficiency and boosting America’s ability to feed itself…

Tim Davis, a Sterling-based consultant who has shepherded farmers in Nebraska and northeastern Colorado through applications to the program, said that so far there have been no rumblings on Capitol Hill about cutting the program…

Davis is helping Subdistrict No. 1 apply to the federal program, which pays a rental rate to farmers to retire ground…

The district’s assessments of its members would go to compensate for injury caused by pumping and it also would be coupled with the federal dollars to retire ground. But the local dollars likely would be used to sweeten the federal payments and increase the incentive for farmers to retire ground that would more helpful in reducing the pumping of groundwater, said Steve Vandiver, director of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District. Vandiver said the subdistrict had yet to decide how much money it would add, and it has not chosen the targeted acreage…

An appeal of a local court’s approval of the subdistrict’s management plan is before the Colorado Supreme Court. Vandiver said oral arguments in the case likely would come in the fall, with a decision possibly by next year. Two other pending subdistricts — one along the Rio Grande between Monte Vista and Alamosa and another that would take in the Carmel and Waverly areas — are also considering applying for the federal funds but have yet to write management plans while the court ruling is pending.

More San Luis Valley groundwater coverage here and here.

Leave a Reply