Rio Grande Roundtable meeting recap: Phase one of project to improve and restore the river between Del Norte and Monte Vista is complete

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From the Del Norte Prospector (Stan Moyer):

Heather R. Dutton made a “Plaza Project” presentation, describing progress in a long-term effort to improve, both in appearance and safety characteristics, of the Seven Mile Plaza Reach of the Rio Grande between Monte Vista and Del Norte.

She is the coordinator of the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project (RiGHT).

A five-month study partially funded with $40,000 from the Roundtable and described as “Phase One” is finished, with decisions made on reconstruction of several diversion headgates on the river, and improvement of damaged wetlands, formerly a favorite illegal dumping spot for refrigerators and miscellaneous junk.

One of the most prominent of the areas to be restored offered three choices, Dutton said: “A concrete diversion dam, an all- rock diversion or a half-concrete, half-rock structure allowing for fish and boat passage,” the selected alternative for the Prairie Ditch Headgate.

An automated headgate has been finished by virtue of the hard work of a nearby inhabitant, a kindly human, Dutton clarified, not fish. The automation of all the headgates in the Seven Mile area has been chosen.

Stream banks near the McDonald Ditch are also expected to be shored up in the future.

More Rio Grande River basin coverage here and here.

Arkansas Valley Super Ditch administrative update: Change case administrative tool in development

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

When the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District first proposed Super Ditch to the Arkansas Basin Roundtable, Scanga said it would result in “the mother of all change cases.” The roundtable requested and received a grant from the Water Supply Reserve Account of the Colorado Water Conservation Board to develop an administrative tool to help settle differences. Scanga said it would be available to any objector to the Super Ditch change case in water court.

Thursday [ed. at the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy board meeting], Scanga explained the concerns of the Upper Arkansas Valley because of the potential for Super Ditch to alter river priority calls.

The case, when it is filed, will be complex because it deals with rotating dry-up of parcels on up to seven ditch systems with lingering impacts to the river over several years, Scanga said.

The Super Ditch is proposing a pilot program this year to sell 500 acre-feet of water to El Paso County water users.

Some other water users have criticized the Lower Ark district for not filing a change case before asking for a state-administered substitute water supply plan. Lower Ark officials contend more time is needed to assess the impacts.

More coverage from Bette McFarren writing for the La Junta Tribune-Democrat. From the article:

Roy Vaughan, Bureau of Reclamation, brought an update on the snow pack and showed photographs of the large pipeline valves going in at Pueblo Reservoir Dam which will enable the Southern Delivery System and possibly the Arkansas Valley Conduit and other pipelines…

The storage at Twin Lakes and Turquoise Lakes is above last year’s figures, but the Pueblo Reservoir is below last year, but still high at 121 percent of average. Twin Lakes at present is 105 percent and Turquoise Lake is 106 percent. The BOR is currently moving 200 cubic feet per second from Twin to Pueblo. The bureau will be moving 50 to 55 thousand acre- feet from October through March.

More Arkansas Valley Super Ditch coverage here and here.