The EPA recommends more protection of the Upper Colorado River in light of the proposed Windy Gap Firming Project


Here’s the letter from the EPA to the Army Corps of Engineers via Defend the Colorado.

More Windy Gap coverage here and here.

Colorado Water 2012: The Grand County Library District is celebrating with displays in Granby and Fraser and a presentation of the film ‘Tapped Out’


Here’s the announcement from the Grand County Library District:

Please join the Grand County Library District as it partners with nearly 200 state and local organizations and educators in celebrating Colorado’s unique heritage as a headwaters state, and in understanding the diverse uses and values of this precious resource.
Colorado Water 2012, spearheaded by the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, is a campaign to “engage Coloradoans in a statewide celebration of water: past, present, and future.”

The goals of Colorado Water 2012 are to: raise awareness about water as a valuable and limited resource, increase support for management and protection of Colorado’s water and waterways, showcase exemplary models of cooperation and collaboration among Colorado water users, connect Coloradans to existing and new opportunities to learn about water, and to motivate Coloradans to become proactive participants in Colorado’s water future. (

In hopes of “connecting Coloradans to their water,” the library district is hosting a variety of displays and events:

Feb. 3 – Feb. 18 at the Fraser Valley Library and Feb. 19 – March 3 at the Granby Library: The Colorado Water 2012 traveling display will be featured with local information provided by the Grand County Water Information Network. GCWIN is a nonprofit organization that provides water quality information and educational programs in Grand County.
Feb.13-March: Jon Ewert , local aquatic biologist with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, has created a display explaining how science-based fisheries management takes place in the rivers and lakes of Grand County. It will be featured in the Urban Community Meeting Room at the Fraser Valley Library.

Thursday Feb. 16, 5:30 p.m. at the Fraser Valley Library and Wednesday, Feb. 22, 5:30 p.m. at the Granby Library: Kirk Klancke will host a presentation of the film “Tapped Out” followed by an update on the two proposed projects that are the most immediate threat to our local rivers, with time for questions and answers. Kirk Klancke is the President of the Colorado River Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Board member of the Grand County Water Information Network, Board member of the Grand County Water Quality Control Board, Board member of the North West Council of Governments Quality and Quantity, and the recipient of the 2011 Field and Stream Magazine National Conservationist Award.

Thanks to the Sky-Hi Daily News for the heads up.

Head on over the Your Colorado Water Blog for a report on the Colorado Rural Water Association meeting held yesterday in Colorado Springs. Here’s an excerpt:

On Thursday, catch the best tasting water contest! The winner will be eligible to compete against other states at the National Rural Water Association’s Rural Water Rally held in February 2013– in 2010 the Morgan County Quality Water District of Fort Morgan won second place in this national competition…

According to the Colorado Water Quality Control Division, 96% of the state’s population drinks water that meets all health-based drinking water standards. Read more about the safety of your drinking water and the role of water treatment in the latest issue of Headwaters Magazine.

Finally, the City of Trinidad is planning their first ever water festival to celebrate Colorado Water 2012. Here’s a report from Steve Block writing for The Trinidad Times. From the article:

The stated goal of the festival is to create a vibrant, colorful community event with lots of music and food that is both fun and educational, where people of all ages can wander among tables and booths of water educational projects and take part in demonstration projects throughout the grounds.

One of the central purposes of the Water Festival is to involve students in interactive projects that help them learn about how to use water resources in the most environmentally sound way possible. Plans call for as many as 1,500 students from around the area to attend the festival.

The student activities are designed to provide an opportunity to learn about our water supply, the importance of water conservation and watershed protection through creative and interactive displays, presentations and activities. The activities will provide the students with environmental knowledge and the opportunity to share in creative ways what they have learned with the community…

The exhibition hall will include a river maze, a functioning model of a watershed, erosion control demonstrations and hands-on water testing. The Trivia Bowl is perhaps the most fun and boisterous activity at the festival. Four-person teams will be pre-selected and compete with teams from other classes. Students will compete in water questions from the categories of history, geography, water supply, conservation and water rights. Poster and essay contests stress the creative aspects of learning about water. The best entries from each school will be displayed at the festival, around town and in local newspapers.

More Colorado Water 2012 coverage here.

Snowpack news: Statewide snowpack improves slightly to 75% of average, Colorado River basin — 70%


Click on the thumbnail graphic to the right for the latest snowpack map from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Aspen: Opponents of the proposed hydroelectric plant hope to install stream gages on Maroon and Castle creeks to bolster their argument


From the Aspen Daily News (Brent Gardner-Smith):

A stream gauge suitable for inclusion in the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) system cost between $20,000 and $35,000 to install, depending on the site, and $16,000 a year to operate. Saving Our Streams, a recently formed nonprofit that is challenging the city’s proposed hydro plant, wants at least one gauge on both Castle and Maroon creeks in order to keep an eye on how much water is left in the streams below the city’s diversion dams. Maureen Hirsch of Saving of Streams has contacted federal officials with the USGS, who have agreed to make a site visit this winter to the Aspen area…

For Our Rivers and Renewables, a new initiative from the Aspen-based Public Counsel of the Rockies, also wants gauges on those two streams. The group also is calling for new gauges on the Roaring Fork River in Aspen, on Hunter Creek and on the lower Crystal River. “It’s time to get the Roaring Fork River basin properly gauged,” said Tim McFlynn of Public Counsel for the Rockies. “It’s shockingly overdue.”

But the expense of doing so can be shocking as well. To install five streamflow gauges up to the standards of the USGS and to cover 10 years of operations and maintenance on them could cost $900,000…

Bill Blakeslee, the state water commissioner charged with managing local water diversions, said gauges are the best way to solve water disputes. “Anybody can produce a study, but without a consistent measuring device in the stream, everybody is just kind of blowing smoke,” he said. But Blakeslee warned that enthusiasm for new gauges tends to wane when it comes to paying for the ongoing maintenance and operational costs of them, which are prone to freezing up in the winter and need to be routinely checked.

Leaders from both Share Our Streams and For Our Rivers and Renewables say they are seeking funding for gauges from both private and public sources. Share Our Streams’ members include two billionaires and several other wealthy homeowners on Castle and Maroon creeks. Hirsch said one member already has agreed to fund one gauge.

More hydroelectric coverage here and here.

Piceance Basin: Bopco LP hopes to build a water treatment plant for produced water


From the Oil and Gas Journal:

The US Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comments on a proposed water treatment plant west of Meeker, Colo., to treat produced water from oil and gas activity in the Piceance Basin and discharge it into Yellow Creek. BLM will accept comments through Mar. 6 for an environmental assessment it is preparing for Bopco LP’s proposed project, the agency’s Meeker field office said on Feb. 6. It said that the proposed facility would treat up to 24,000 b/d of produced water from the Fort Worth, Tex., independent producer’s Yellow Creek natural gas field and discharge up to 18,000 b/d into Yellow Creek.

Bopco already has acquired a discharge permit from the state government but will need to reach a separate agreement with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Service to construct power lines across state land before the project is approved, BLM said.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.