The Colorado Environmental Coalition, Friends of the Northern Dolores and the Dolores River Coalition are hosting a weekend in the northern Dolores River canyon October 1

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From the Grand Junction Free Press (Sharon Sullivan):

The next hike — also a weekend campout along the Dolores River for those who choose —will take place Oct. 1, outside of Gateway.

The Gateway hike and FOND (Friends of the Northern Dolores) Fall Fest Star Party, led by CEC’s Dolores River public lands organizer Kate Graham, has become an annual event to introduce people to the Gateway community and landscape.

The camp-out includes Friday and Saturday night stargazing with the Western Colorado Astronomy Club, disc golf Sunday with members of the Grand Valley disc gold club, and a hike Saturday afternoon into Maverick Canyon to see Juanita Arch with members of the Dolores River Coalition…

The hikes are free, but an RSVP is required by calling Walker at 243-0002, or online at http://www.ourcolorado.org.

The Colorado Environmental Coalition has two other non-hiking events planned for October.

Energy analyst Randy Udall and conservation photographer Garth Lenz will give a free presentation Oct. 3 about oil shale and tar sands, and how it can change the landscape. The presentation “Energy in the West” will take place in the Radio Room, 1310 Ute Ave., 7-9 p.m.

Oct. 21 is CEC’s “Harvest Hoedown” with Durango bluegrass band Waiting on Trial performing at the Palisade Brewing Company, 200 Peach St., in Palisade. The $18 tickets, a donation to CEC, includes the music and a couple of drinks. Food will be available for purchase.

For more information visit www.ourcolorado.org/hoedown, or call 243-0002.

More Dolores River watershed coverage here.

Bonny Lake Fish Salvage Authorized

Here’s the release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife:

Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists have begun salvaging sport fish from Bonny Reservoir in Yuma County in preparation for the draining of the lake over the next two months.

The State Engineer began releasing water from the reservoir on September 21 to satisfy a legal obligation to release all the water to Kansas and Nebraska. The result will most likely be the loss of the entire fishery.

As long as conditions allow, biologists will trap as many fish as possible and relocate sport fish to other public fishing waters. Anglers can continue to remove fish provided the shoreline remains stable and access is safe.

“Right now it looks like it might take as little as 90 days to drain the lake,” said Parks and Wildlife Area Wildlife Manager Cory Chick. “We encourage anglers to harvest as many fish as possible before the water is gone.”

Under the salvage order signed by Southeast Regional Manager Dan Prenzlow, all legal methods of fishing will be allowed including the use of trotlines, jugs and seines. Commercial angling is prohibited. There are no limits on the number or species of fish anglers can keep, but everyone must have a valid Colorado fishing license to be in possession of fish and must complete an angler survey card available at the reservoir.

Access may be closed to boats and/or anglers if the receding lake creates unstable banks or other hazards.

“I grew up hunting and fishing at Bonny Lake State Park,” Prenzlow said. “This is difficult to watch.”

Bonny Reservoir was created in 1951 when the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation built a flood control dam on the South Fork of the Republican River. Shortly after the completion of the project in 1951, the former Colorado Division of Game Fish and parks negotiated an agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation to manage fish, wildlife and recreational assets of the reservoir and the federal land around the lake.

As a result of draining Bonny, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will transition Bonny from a State Park into a State Wildlife Area beginning Oct. 1, while simultaneously exploring other potential options with a variety of partners. Public hunting access areas will remain open to the public.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is working with Yuma County Commissioners, Three Rivers Alliance, and Yuma County Economic Development Council to determine whether management of 56 acres, including the Visitor Center and Wagon Wheel Campground along with other facilities in Bonny Lake State Park, can be transitioned to Yuma County.

Pending completion of discussions with these local groups, the North Cove and East Beach Campgrounds will remain open in October, although without potable water sources. The Foster Grove campground facilities, however, will be shut down and winterized until a final resolution is reached with Yuma County and local groups. Tables and grills will be removed from isolated picnic sites on the north and south side to be distributed to other Parks and Wildlife areas in critical need of such items.

For more information on the South Republican State Wildlife Area, please see: http://wildlife.state.co.us/LandWater/StateWildlifeAreas/.

More coverage from KOAM TV:

The eastern Colorado reservoir is being drained to send some 4 billion gallons of water to Nebraska and Kansas under a 1942 agreement among the three states. Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced Friday that it will take about two months to drain Bonny Lake.

Colorado biologists say they’ll trap as many fish as possible and relocate sport fish to other public fishing waters. Anglers can continue to remove fish provided the shoreline remains stable and access is safe.

More Republican River basin coverage here and here.

Fryingpan-Arkansas Project update: Water year 2011 saw the second-largest diversions in the history of the project

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From The Aspen Times (Scott Condon):

A total of 98,800 acre feet of water was diverted east via the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project from spring to late August, according to Kara Lamb, spokeswoman for the reclamation bureau. “It’s the second largest diversion in the operating history of the project,” Lamb said…

The record diversion was 110,000 acre feet in 1984, Lamb said. The average diversion over the last decade has been 54,000 acre feet per year. This year’s volume was 83 percent above the average. To put the 98,800 acre feet into perspective — that’s just slightly below the amount of water that Ruedi Reservoir holds when it is full.

The Fryingpan-Arkansas Project uses 17 dams and diversion structures to capture water from streams. The system also taps Hunter Creek in the Roaring Fork River basin. Nine tunnels with a combined length of 27 miles funnel it into the collection system. The water is forced through the Charles H. Boustead Tunnel under the Continental Divide to Turquoise Lake near Leadville. A plumbing system on the east side of the Divide ultimately takes the water to Aurora, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and farms in the Arkansas River Valley…

In the headwaters of the Roaring Fork River basin, the volume of water diverted this year was about 63,000 acre feet, according to the river district. Water has been diverted since 1935 in what’s now known as the Independence Pass Transmountain Division System. That would make it one of the larger, but not the largest, diversion years, according to a previous interview with an official in the company that manages the system. The Independence Pass diversion system usually diverts about 39,000 acre feet annually.

More Fryingpan-Arkansas Project coverage here.