The Colorado Watershed Assembly scores a $42,000 WaterSMART Cooperative Watershed Management Program grant from Reclamation


Here’s the release from Reclamation (Peter Soeth):

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor announced today the selection of eight entities to receive $333,500 in grants under the WaterSMART Cooperative Watershed Management Program. These grants will aid in the establishment and expansion of local watershed management groups.
“Developing and supporting local watershed management groups ensures local communities are involved in decisions and is vital to create healthy watersheds,” said Commissioner Connor. “This funding will enable local communities to partner with Reclamation to conserve water in the West and will help Reclamation advance the goals of WaterSMART and the National Blueways System.”

The eight entities recommended for funding are:

– Armand Bayou Nature Center in Texas ($22,000)
– Colorado Watershed Assembly in Colorado ($42,000)
– Crooked River Watershed Council in Oregon ($39,500)
– Deschutes River Council in Oregon ($50,000)
– Ojai Valley Land Conservancy in California ($50,000)
– Spanish Peaks/Purgatoire River Conservation District in Colorado ($50,000)
– Sun River Watershed in Montana ($30,000)
– Upper Verde River Watershed Protection Coalition in Arizona ($50,000)

One of the selected entities is the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy in California, a 25-year-old nonprofit organization. It proposes a two year project to expand the watershed group, assess watershed issues and develop a management plan to promote sustainable use. Its proposal includes increasing outreach efforts and the expansion of its website and videos, to be available in English and Spanish.

A complete description of all projects is available at:

Each award is limited to $50,000, although a second year of funding, up to $50,000, may be awarded to successful applicants if sufficient progress is demonstrated and funding is available. No cost-share was required.

The purpose of the Cooperative Watershed Management Program is to improve water quality and ecological resilience and to reduce conflicts over water through collaborative conservation efforts in the management of local watersheds. Its primary goal is to address two major concerns synonymous with watershed groups—1) the need for funding to pay the salary of a full-time coordinator and 2) the limited funding available for project management. The Cooperative Watershed Management Program provides financial incentives to mitigate these concerns and to encourage diverse stakeholders to continue to work together.

The Cooperative Watershed Management Program also supports Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s National Blueways System. The National Blueways System highlights and supports river and watershed strategies for sustainable watershed resources that are led by stakeholder communities and organizations.

WaterSMART is a program of the U.S. Department of the Interior that focuses on improving water conservation and sustainability and helping water resource managers make sound decisions about water use. It identifies strategies to ensure this and future generations will have sufficient supplies of clean water for drinking, economic activities, recreation and ecosystem health. The program also identifies adaptive measures to address climate change and its impact on future water demands. The SMART in WaterSMART stands for “Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow.”

For more information on the WaterSMART program, visit

More Bureau of Reclamation coverage here and here.

NIDIS Weekly Climate, Water and Drought Assessment Summary of the Upper Colorado River Basin


Click on the thumbnail graphic for the precipitation summary for August. Here’s the link to the summaries for this week.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here.

Reclamation to collect core samples at Blue Mesa Dam


Here’s the release from Reclamtion (Justyn Hock):

Bureau of Reclamation drilling crews will be working on the crest of Blue Mesa Dam, starting on September 12, 2012, and continuing through about October 2, 2012. Workers will drill three sample holes and install instrumentation in one of the holes to monitor the dam.

The information gleaned from the core samples and instrumentation will be used by Reclamation for consideration of short and long-term performance of the dam related to dam safety and security measures. Studies like these are an ongoing effort by Reclamation to protect the public investment in water and hydropower projects. To varying degrees these, and similar tests, occur on all Reclamation dams throughout the West.

The work will have minimal impact to travel across the dam via Colorado Highway 92. Knowing that this roadway is one of Colorado’s most scenic routes, connecting the north and south rims of the Black Canyon, workers will maintain one lane of traffic throughout the drilling operation. There will be warning signs and stop lights on the approaches to both ends of the dam to control traffic. The delay in any direction should be less than five minutes. Fall activities relying upon Highway 92, including hunting, camping, and scenic viewing of the fall colors, should not be impacted by the drilling work.

More Aspinall Unit coverage here.

Acequia culture documentary by filmaker Jean-Pierre Larroque


The documentary filmaker has broken up his history of San Antonia de Padua, New Mexico settled in 1819. Here’s part one — Introduction and part two — Historia. Scroll down for the links on the Taos Valley Acequia Association website. Most of them are not working this morning but here’s the link to Mr. Larroques’s video listings on YouTube. Here’s the link to the Media for Social Change website.

More Rio Grande River basin coverage here and here.

Drought news: Lake Pueblo at five year low #CODrought


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

…Lake Pueblo is at its lowest level in five years as drought conditions continue in the Arkansas River basin.
There are approximately 167,000 acre-feet of water stored in Lake Pueblo, about 35,000 acre-feet less than at the same time last year, and 65 percent of capacity.