The CWCB will take up the subject of funding the Flaming Gorge Task Force at their September meeting


From the Cortez Journal (Joe Hanel):

Although the pipeline would be far away from Southwest Colorado, it involves Colorado River water, so it could complicate interstate agreements that require Western Colorado to leave water in the rivers for use downstream.

The Colorado Water Conservation Board will consider funding the grant at its Sept. 13-14 meeting in Grand Junction.

Environmental groups are urging the board to deny the grant, citing the high cost of the proposed pipeline and the possibility for damage to trout and endangered fish below Flaming Gorge dam.

“The single most important element for those fish to continue is water,” Bart Miller, of Western Resource Advocates, said during a telephone town hall last month. “They’ve got to have water in the spring peak flow. They’ve got to have water in the base flow period when water is a little bit lower on the river. They’ve got to have it all the time.”[…]

The grant at issue before the Colorado Water Conservation Board would not favor either concept.

Instead, it is designed to find solid data to make decisions on the general concept of a Flaming Gorge pipeline, said Rod Kuharich, chairman of the Metro Basin Roundtable, one of the regional groups that submitted the grant request.

“It is not to move forward with the project. It is not to commit the state in any way,” Kuharich said.

More Flaming Gorge Task Force coverage here.

At the end of July McPhee Reservoir storage stood at 348,845 acre-feet while Jackson Gulch Reservoir storage stood at 8,594 acre-feet


From the Cortez Journal:

Jackson Gulch reservoir live content stood at 8,594 acre-feet with a 9,977 acre-feet maximum capacity and a 7,306 acre-feet average (1971-2000) end-of-month content. At Jackson Gulch, a daily maximum/minimum of 61/49 cubic-feet-per-second was released into the Mancos River, and 22 acre feet were released for municipal purposes.

McPhee Reservoir live content stood at 349,845 acre-feet, with a 381,051 acre-feet maximum capacity and a 335,208 average (1986-2000) end-of-month content. At McPhee, 4,612 acre-feet were released into the Dolores River, and 47,372 acre-feet were released for transbasin purposes. At McPhee, a daily maximum/minimum of 82/74 cubic-feet-per-second was released into the Dolores River.

More San Juan River basin coverage here.

Steve Adams named Director of Loveland Water and Power


From Loveland Water and Power via the Loveland Connection:

Steve Adams has been named director of the city of Loveland’s Water and Power Department after serving as interim director for the past three months.

Adams has worked for the city for 17 years. He was chosen over other applicants from across the nation.

Prior to joining the city, Adams worked for the engineering firm CH2M-Hill and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where he served in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Adams is licensed as a professional engineer in Colorado and holds two master’s degrees, one in business administration from Boston University and one in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado.

Adams has been interim director since Ralph Mullinix retired from the position in May after serving in the department for nearly 40 years.

More South Platte River basin coverage here.

‘Everyone agrees, the Animas is worth preserving’ — part four of The Durango Herald’s series about the river


Here’s part four in the series from The Durango Herald (Dale Rodebaugh/Lynda Edwards). Click through for the slide show and to read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:

At some points, the complexity of the law, the depth of the bureaucracy and the passions of the opposing sides make reaching a consensus seem unattainably ambitious.

But glimmers of good-faith collaboration are giving those toiling in the trenches reason to hope.

One such glimmer is the River Protection Workgroup, a coalition formed in 2006 as a result of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act approved by Congress in 1968.

Meghan Maloney, a former river-issues coordinator at the San Juan Citizens Alliance, said the coalition has been a model of community participation.

“Everyone who wants to be is part of the process,” Maloney said.

Similarly, the decision whether to declare the area around the Animas River’s headwaters a Superfund site because of leaking mine contamination has sparked controversy but also demonstrated each side’s deep commitment and love for the waterway…

“The notion that Durango and Silverton residents should just accept that the Animas will be polluted is unacceptable,” [Steven Way, on-scene coordinator for the EPA’s emergency response unit] said. “It’s an important river historically and environmentally. OK, Cement Creek is never going to be Gold Medal trout fishing. But I truly believe it is possible to stop the mine contamination or alleviate it enough to protect the Animas and make it cleaner.”

Click here for the webpage with the whole series and many related articles, from The Durango Herald.

More Animas River watershed coverage here.

The Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance calls out U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn for his amendment to zero out the federal Land and Water Conservation fund for fiscal 2012


It’s no mistake when a group name evokes the memory of the Wilderness Warrior, former President, Theodore Roosevelt. His efforts led to some of the boldest conservation actions in the late 19th and early 20th century. In recent years I’ve come to realize the remarkable job that Roosevelt and those he worked with did in protecting headwaters areas from development and ruin. As the bumper sticker on the Coyote Gulch Jeep says, “Sportsmen were the original conservationists.”

So say hello to the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance. They believe that our representatives in Washington, D.C. should pay a price at the polls if they vote against conservation issues. To that end they’ve funded a billboard in Colorado Springs blasting Doug Lamborn for his vote to zero out the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. What fun. One can only hope that Lamborn and his staffers see the billboard enough times to get the message.

Here’s a look at the Alliance from Chuck Plunkett writing for The Denver Post. Click through to read the whole article and see an image of the advertisement. Here’s an excerpt:

From the Bull Moose presser:

During the U.S. House of Representatives debate of the FY 2012 Interior funding bill, Congressman Lamborn sponsored and introduced an amendment to H.R. 2584 with the stated purpose of zeroing out any Land and Water Conservation Fund monies available to the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the Forest Service to protect wildlife habitat and clean water.

In a time where lack of access to quality hunting and fishing opportunities is a reason for declining participation, Rep. Lamborn has proven his willingness to further degrade a unique American legacy of wildlife management and conservation prized by hunters and anglers throughout the nation. According to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, nearly half of the nation’s 32 million hunters and anglers conduct a portion of their hunting activity on public lands.

The Land and Water Conservation fund has provided funding for projects and conservation efforts in Congressman Lamborn’s district including the Arkansas River, the Royal Gorge and Ramah Reservoir.

Lamborn’s office counters that the sportsmen are overstating the point, and that current levels of access to federal lands in Colorado won’t be affected.

Meanwhile, Ben Noreen lists some of the congressman’s political miscalculations this year in The Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:

The Bull Moose outfit, named in honor of former President Teddy Roosevelt’s last political hurrah, registered its disappointment with a billboard, which bashes Lamborn near the intersection of Platte Avenue and Chelton Road, across the street from Sportsmen’s Warehouse, the outdoor recreation retailer.

“Surprised?” the billboard asks. “Congressman Lamborn voted to gut the Land and Water Conservation Fund, limiting access to hunting and fishing in Colorado.”

The GOP-controlled House reduced the fund drastically, to $62 million. Lamborn’s suggested number: zero.

“I was shocked when I saw the amendment,” said Gaspar Perricone, a Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance spokesman. “It’s contrary to the hunting and fishing community.”

The Bull Moose people meet the definition of a special interest group, but the organization is not anti-Republican. A billboard is going up in Grand Junction, too — to praise GOP Rep. Scott Tipton, who has been supportive of the alliance’s interests.

Pam Zubeck has posted Lamborn’s response on the Colorado Springs Independent blog:

“The billboard has it all wrong.

“We are drowning in debt, and we have to draw the line somewhere. The federal government already owns more than a third of all land in Colorado. The people of Colorado enjoy tremendous opportunities to hunt and fish. Our priority must be on protecting and preserving the lands we already have.

“At a time when Washington is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends, there is simply no money for buying new land. My common sense amendment would have saved taxpayers about $51 million.” — Doug Lamborn (CO-05)

More conservation coverage here.

Republican River basin: Kansas Gov’s letter to Coloradan leaves the State Engineer’s office wondering if he has been paying attention


From the Lawrence Journal World (Scott Rothschild):

In a recent letter to a Colorado resident, Brownback said the Bonny Reservoir in Yuma County, Colo., which abuts the border of northwest Kansas, is a valuable recreational area for many residents in surrounding communities. He added in the letter to Audrey Hase, who is trying to save the reservoir from being drained, “Because Colorado is a party to this compact, it is named in the lawsuit, but Kansas seeks no relief against Colorado at this time.”[…]

Colorado State Engineer Dick [Wolfe] said Brownback was off base. “I’m not sure what the basis for that statement is,” [Wolfe] said Monday. “We do know that it is wrong,” he said.

The release of water from Bonny Reservoir is necessary for Colorado to make up a water debt it owes Kansas and comply with the 2003 settlement of the 1942 Republican River Compact between Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas, [Wolfe] said…

Wolf said he spoke with Kansas water officials to make sure Brownback wasn’t signaling a change of plans. He said they told him the plan hasn’t changed.

More Republican River basin coverage here and here.

Colorado Water Congress annual summer meeting: Combining the meeting with the Colorado Coal & Power Conference deemed successful


From the Craig Daily Press (Joe Moylan):

Last week was the culmination of that partnership as more than 310 water advocates and energy leaders came together at the first ever Water and Energy Conference to discuss common challenges and opportunities facing their industries.

“I think we were very pleased,” said Jerry Nettleton of the Colorado Coal and Power Generation planning team. “The Water Congress has their fall meeting here every other year. We looked at it and decided there were a lot of common elements in terms of water and energy and some of the challenges and opportunities they face…

Doug Kemper, executive director of the Colorado Water Congress, said his board was pleased with the partnership and is already talking about returning to Steamboat next year.

“We’ve had a tradition of being in Steamboat every other year for about the last 15 years,” Kemper said. “When we’re not in Steamboat, we hold the Congress somewhere in the I-70 corridor. But my board has already asked me to look into bringing the conference and the energy partnership back to Steamboat next year.”

Kemper, who had never visited a power plant or a working coal mine, said the tours of Craig Station and Trapper Mine were the highlights of the conference.

More Colorado water coverage here.