2012 Sustaining Colorado Watersheds Conference: Water 2012 — October 9-11

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Click here to go to the Colorado Watershed Assembly’s conferences webpage for all the skinny on the conference.

More Colorado Water 2012 coverage here.

Fry-Ark fiftieth birthday party August 18

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Here’s the release from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

Reclamation and the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District invite the public to celebrate the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project’s 50th Anniversary at Lake Pueblo State Park on Sat., Aug. 18. The event is located at Lake Pueblo State Park Visitor’s Center from 9 a.m.to 2 p.m.

Reclamation, the District and Colorado State Parks and Wildlife are offering free pontoon boat tours around Pueblo Reservoir and free tours of the fish hatchery located below Pueblo Dam. There will also be historical displays and several guest speakers.

Signed into law by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project is a multipurpose trans-basin water diversion and delivery project serving southeastern Colorado.

The Fryingpan-Arkansas Project provides:

– Water for more than 720,000 people
– Irrigation for 265,000 acres
– The largest hydro-electric power plant in the state
– World renowned recreation opportunities from the Fryingpan River to the Arkansas River

For more information on the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project and the 50th Anniversary Celebration, visit our website at http://www.usbr.gov/gp/ecao/pueblo/pueblo.html.

More Fryingpan-Arkansas Project coverage here.

CWCB: Statewide Drought Conference September 19-20

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From email from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (Ben Wade):

2012 is proving to be a hot and dry year for much of the nation and Colorado. Currently, drought dominates the headlines as we see firsthand the impact of this natural disaster, and Colorado is doing something about it. The CWCB State Drought Conference: Building a Drought Resilient Economy through Innovation is just weeks away. We are excited to put forth a conference agenda that will help communities and business address drought concerns in new and efficient ways. The draft agenda is available on the CWCB webpage and very soon we will be announcing our keynote speakers.

As you will see, the conference promises to highlight the latest innovations in Drought Mitigation & Planning.

Please REGISTER TODAY! Space is limited.

For those traveling from out of town, the CWCB has reserved hotel rooms for the September 19-20 2012 CWCB Statewide Drought Conference that are within walking distance from the History Colorado Center. Please visit the CWCB website for hotel information. Please note that you must reserve your room by August 18, 2012 to ensure the group rate and availability.

Colorado River Basin: ‘Agriculture and recreation depend on healthy instream flows’ — State Sen. Steve King

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Here’s a guest column about the Colorado River written by State Senator Steve King, running in the Grand Junction Free Press. Here’s an excerpt:

The only thing certain when dealing with water issues in the west is there are a wide variety of competing voices and opinions. For the most part, the [Colorado River Water Conservancy District] has made sure Western Slope interests aren’t neglected when competing with those of our Front Range neighbors; simply put, the CRCD has acted as a fair broker.

They have worked to build consensus among different parties on a multitude of issues during their existence. Time and again the CRCD has made sure the West Slope was not on the losing end of proposals to store and divert water to the Front Range. Specifically, the CRCD has helped resolve many disagreements between Denver Water and Western Slope water users.

More than ever, the West Slope is relying on the CRCD to do its job fairly and accurately as it addresses the many challenges ahead. As the ski industry can attest, this year’s snowpack was very low, adding pressure to our already strained river basin. All reports project 2012 as a dry year for Colorado; these reports, coupled with projections of future population growth in the west, make sensible water policy that much more important.

It’s no secret the strain on the Colorado will only become more severe as time goes on. We need proactive and innovative solutions to plan for possible future water scarcity now — failure to do so could result in the inability to maintain our current quality of life, as we prepare to meet the challenges of western population growth.

Increasingly, there have been proposals for enormous water diversion projects to satisfy the needs of the Front Range and Southern California. It is not only in the best interest of the Western Slope, but of Colorado in general, to actively pursue and advocate for conservation, flexible transfers, and water-sharing agreements first. Big diversion projects are too expensive and can best be summarized as robbing Peter to pay Paul, with the West Slope playing the role of Peter.

From the Grand Junction Free Press (Sharon Sullivan):

[Katie Steele] was one of several community leaders who spoke Wednesday, July 25, at Hawthorne Park in honor of Colorado River Day. The event was held to commemorate the day in 1921 when federal legislation was passed to rename the river from the “Grand” to the “Colorado.”

Grand Junction was one of five cities within four of the seven Colorado River basin states where residents gathered to celebrate the river’s contribution to the West’s economy and culture. Community leaders also talked about the need for Washington policymakers to consider the river’s economic impact on the region when making decisions regarding the river’s future.

About 50 people attended the midday event where Mesa County Commissioner Steve Acquafresca, former GJ Mayor Tom Kenyon, and GJ councilman Bennett Boeschenstein spoke about water concerns as drought and expanding populations strain a dwindling resource. Tom Kleinschnitz, president of Adventure Bound River Expeditions also spoke to the group, representing those whose businesses depend directly on the Colorado River.

Boeschenstein spoke about the Greenbelt movement begun in the 1970s where local visionaries like retired Judge William Ela, and the late Jim Robb imagined a cleaned-up riverfront, as well as a trail where people could walk and enjoy the scenery along the river…

The event was co-sponsored by Colorado Environmental Coalition in Grand Junction and Protect The Flows, an organization formed about a year ago to represent the interests of more than 500 businesses across the seven river basin states who rely on the Colorado River for economic viability.

According to Protect the Flows, the Colorado River is a $26 billion recreation resource that employs a quarter-million Americans.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here and here.