Gov. Hickenlooper announces payments of more than $54 million for local governments


Here’s the release from Governor Hickenlooper’s office. Here’s an excerpt:

Gov. John Hickenlooper and Reeves Brown, executive director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), announced today $54,655,280 in annual state Severance Tax and Federal Mineral Lease Direct Distribution payments will be made to 506 Colorado counties, municipalities and school districts…

Ken Parsons, a Rio Blanco County Commissioner and member of the State’s Energy and Mineral Impact Advisory Committee said, “In these difficult economic times, this is a critical source of funding statewide for communities impacted by energy and mineral production. These funds help communities address the ongoing impacts of development, processing, or energy conversion on local infrastructure and provide assistance in sustaining the economies of their communities.”

CWCB: Board meeting September 13-14 in Grand Junction


From email from the Colorado Water Conservation Board:

A meeting of the CWCB will be held on Tuesday, September, 13, 2011 commencing at 10:00 a.m. and continuing through Wednesday, September 14, 2011. These meetings will be held the Ute Water Conservancy District offices, located at 2190 H ¼ Road, Grand Junction, CO 81505. A BBQ reception sponsored by the City of Grand Junction, Clifton Water District, and Ute Water Conservancy District has will be held on the evening of Monday, September 12th. A finance committee workshop will also be held the morning of September 13th from 8:00 am – 9:45 am.

More CWCB coverage here.

Grand Junction: Club 20 fall meeting, September 9 and 10


From email from Club 20 (Bonnie Petersen):

Registration is now open for the 2011 CLUB 20 Fall Meeting on September 9 and 10 at the Colorado Mesa University Ballroom in Grand Junction. On Friday, September 9 during the day CLUB 20 will hold its organizational meetings followed by a Chuckwagon Steak Fry at Cross Orchards Historic Site. On Saturday, September 10 there will be a series of presenters including keynote speaker Senator Michael Bennet (CO), Representative Scott Tipton (CO 3rd District) and Governor John Hickenlooper, among others. Presentation topics will include regulatory challenges to business development, Colorado’s economic forecast and the merger between the Division of Wildlife and State Parks…

The two-day event is open to the public. For more information or to register, visit the CLUB 20 website at or call the office at (970) 242-3264. There are a limited number of tickets available for the Friday evening Steak Fry, so be sure to register early!

Ty Churchwell — ‘It is not worth offending someone who agrees with me on most issues to take a stance on climate change or global warming’


From The Durango Herald (Lynda Edwards):

…conservationists have tried dozens of ways to restore trout to the Animas and its tributaries. After World War II, cowboys helping the U.S. Wildlife Service would carry hatchery or farmed trout in cast-iron jugs on their horses into the mountains, where they released the fish into Animas headwaters. Tanker trucks and helicopters with huge buckets also have been used to plop trout into the river and its tributaries…

[Ty] Churchwell, who has degrees in horticulture and chemistry, refuses to discuss climate change. He won’t even say whether he believes it exists…

“To get my work done, I need to be able to sit at the table and forge alliances with people who have very different ideas about global warming,” Churchwell said. “It is not worth offending someone who agrees with me on most issues to take a stance on climate change or global warming.”

More Animas River watershed coverage here.

Cheesman Reservoir closed to fishing


Here’s an excerpt from the release, from the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife (Jennifer Churchill):

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding Kokanee anglers and snaggers that Cheesman Reservoir is closed to all fishing through April 2012. The reservoir remains closed due to Denver Water’s continued work on the dam.

More Denver Water coverage here.

IBCC: The Pueblo Board of Water Works hopes to sustain agriculture on the Bessemer ditch after converting shares to municipal use


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“We included a 20-year lease-back so we could work on other options to sustain agriculture,” Alan Hamel, executive director of the Pueblo water board, told a state Interbasin Compact Committee group earlier this week…

The IBCC subcommittee is looking at alternative agriculture transfers. The group met in Denver with the Front Range Water Council, which includes the state’s largest municipal water providers, and the Colorado Agricultural Water Alliance, which encompasses the state’s major agricultural associations.

The Pueblo water board now owns 28 percent of the Bessemer Ditch, about 5,400 shares. The ditch is the largest in Pueblo County, and a major factor in the local economy. Other cities also are looking at maintaining the viability of agriculture in their neighboring communities.
“People in the cities are figuring out that they also need to eat,” said Jay Winner, general manager of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District…

“We have to make sure that agriculture doesn’t become a sharecropper,” said T. Wright Dickinson, a Moffat County rancher. “We could be entering a time where agriculture could out-compete the cities in terms of the economic value of water.”

Cities also have concerns about sharing the water. “I can’t make any long-term decision and a big investment up-front knowing that all I’ve got is a five-year water supply,” said Mark Pifher, director of Aurora Water.

Meanwhile the Two Rivers Water Co. is busy buying up agricultural land and shares in the Arkansas River basin. Here’s a report from the Associated Press via The Columbus Republic:

Two Rivers Water Co. says it has finished raising $5.25 million, allowing it to close on its purchase of 2,500 acres of irrigated farmland in Huerfano and Pueblo counties…

Two Rivers bought 91 percent of the Huerfano Cucharas Irrigation Co. last year and added the Orlando Reservoir to its water rights portfolio in February. It says will be able to store more than 70,000 acre-feet of water when its reservoirs and canals systems are fully restored.

More IBCC — basin roundtables coverage here. More Front Range Water Council coverage here.