In Celebration of Justice Greg Hobbs’ Retirement

Your Water Colorado Blog

Justice Hobbs with wife Bobbie receives a photo from Rio de la Vista. Credit: Rio de la Vista Justice Hobbs with wife Bobbie receives a photo from Rio de la Vista to celebrate his retirement. Credit: Rio de la Vista

Last Thursday September 10, 2015 the Colorado Foundation for Water Education along with our family of water professionals and legal experts in the San Luis Valley got together for a reception to celebrate Justice Hobbs’ retirement from the Colorado Supreme Court. Among other beautiful speeches, plaques, photos… and of course poems, The Colorado River District drafted resolutions in appreciation of Justice Hobbs, while CFWE staff presented a tribute poem to Greg Hobbs—find both here.

From the Colorado River District:

New CRD  logo hi-resWhereas, For 19 years he faithfully served,
The Honorable Gregory Hobbs full praise does deserve.

Whereas, Dispensing Solomon’s wisdom the occasional baby to split,
As founding director of the Foundation for Water Education he did sit.

Whereas, He too ably served the Northern District oft times to the River District’s…

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Suthers: Flood funding needed — The Pueblo Chieftain

Fountain Creek
Fountain Creek

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers made a strong statement for stormwater funding in his state of the city speech Wednesday.

In doing so, he prominently highlighted the reason it is needed is to reduce the harmful impact to Pueblo from increased flows on Fountain Creek caused by growth in Colorado Springs. Spring rains caused millions of dollars in damage in both counties this spring.

“As recently as the late 1960s, our neighbor to the south, Pueblo, was larger than Colorado Springs. Since then Colorado Springs has grown to be about four times the size of Pueblo and that means considerably more impervious surfaces contributing to stormwater flow into Fountain Creek, with impacts on Pueblo,” Suthers said.

The mayor carefully reviewed the history of the stormwater enterprise approved by Colorado Springs City Council in 2005. It generated about $15 million per year until 2009, when council abolished the fee on a 5-4 vote in an interpretation of a public vote.

In the meantime, Colorado Springs negotiated a 1041 permit with PuebloCounty for the Southern Delivery System that included reliance on the stormwater enterprise.

“Pueblo contends that in issuing the permit they were relying on the fact Colorado Springs would continue funding a stormwater enterprise and is considering a lawsuit to revoke or amend the permit,” Suthers said. “I and members of the City Council, which also serves as the utility board, have been negotiating with Pueblo in an attempt to resolve the matter.”

Pueblo County has hired Wright Water Engineers to document the relationship of higher impact flows on Fountain Creek and growth in Colorado Springs.

“We would like to avoid litigation that would delay SDS from going online in 2016,” Suthers said.

Suthers and council are proposing a plan to provide $19 million annually for at least 10 years, and highlighted specific budget areas where the money would come from. He also referred to last year’s vote where Colorado Springs and El Paso County voters narrowly rejected a regional drainage authority.

“While Pikes Peak area voters declined to pass a stormwater proposal in November 2014, this is a complex problem that is not going away and needs to be addressed,” Suthers said. “And I emphasize that this is a public safety issue for the citizens of Colorado Springs as well as those of Pueblo.”

Pueblo: Seventh annual Arkansas River Watershed Invasive Plant Partnership Workshop — Oct. 5-6

Tamarisk
Tamarisk

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

A workshop next month will look at repelling invaders from area waterways.

Specifically, tamarisk, Russian olives, elms and other introduced plants to riparian areas that detract from natural vegetation and habitat.

The seventh annual Arkansas River Watershed Invasive Plant Partnership Workshop will be held Oct. 5-6 at the Pueblo Convention Center, 320 Central Main St. Activities begin at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 5. A $20 fee covers lunch on both days, snacks and a field trip.

Topics in the classroom will include setting goals for restoration, case studies on restoration, seeding, weed management and two field site visits to view recent restoration work. The field trip will feature equipment demonstration and a discussion on how to use native materials for revegetation.

Register online at http://tamariskcoalition.wildapricot.org/event-2008345/Registration. The $20 rate for the workshop can be obtained by using the promotional code “HOMESWEETHOME.”

To register by phone: 970-256-7400.

To register by mail: The Tamarisk Coalition, Attn: ARKWIPP/XWN Lindsay Murdoch, P.O. Box 1907, Grand Junction CO 81502.

#AnimasRiver: EPA solicits bids for temporary treatment plant on Cement Creek

Confluence of Cement Creek and the Animas River from the Coyote Gulch archives (11/21/2010)
Confluence of Cement Creek and the Animas River from the Coyote Gulch archives (11/21/2010)

From The Denver Post (Jesse Paul):

The Environmental Protection Agency began soliciting bids for a temporary water treatment plant roughly two weeks after the Gold King Mine blew out in early August, documents released Tuesday show.

The agency required the plant be fully operational within three weeks of the contract being awarded, according to an Aug. 21 request for proposal from EPA contractor Environmental Restoration LLC.

“This is an emergency response action,” the proposal request said.

The EPA released roughly 150 pages of new documents linked to the Gold King spill’s aftermath on Tuesday, as well as eight videos of workers explaining what led up to the 3 million-gallon wastewater spill.

The EPA told The Denver Post on Tuesday that it has still not decided if it will build a water treatment plant below the Gold King, where the agency accidentally triggered the spill Aug. 5. Nancy Grantham, an EPA spokeswoman, said the agency has received six bids and is evaluating each one.

“The treatment plant is a contingency option,” Grantham said. “The agency continues to evaluate data to determine the impacts of the Gold King Mine on water quality currently and going into the winter months.”

Grantham said the Gold King “is one of many mines contributing to poor water quality in the Animas” and treating its waste “may or may not have a measurable impact downstream going forward. ”

The EPA estimates it will cost $3 million to implement and run for a year a treatment apparatus if one is erected. The EPA says the system will be temporary.

“The system must be able to be operated all year at an elevation of approximately 10,500 (feet),” the proposal request from Environmental Restoration said. “Extreme cold and heavy snow are to be expected and planned for. The system must be self-contained as there are no amenities on site.”

The EPA tasked Environmental Restoration with finding a subcontractor to construct the plant.

The request says the EPA hopes the plant will render mine discharge “neutral” through the removal of dissolved and total solids and metals. Once the plant is operational, the request says, the current onsite treatment — five settling ponds, will be suspended.

Experts say that while a treatment plant at the mine would be expensive and difficult to maintain, it would be the best option.

“That’s definitely the trade-off,” said Mary Boardman, a Colorado Division of Public Health and Environment project manager. “It is expensive to run, but it’s also the most effective (option).”

The mine continues to leach about 550 gallons of wastewater per minute.

#COWaterPlan: The Mesa County Commissioners approve resolution directed at TMDs

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Gary Harmon):

[Scott McInnis] joined with commissioners Rose Pugliese and John Justman in approving a resolution of support for a provision of the proposed Colorado water plan calling for all affected counties to participate in proposals to send water to the Front Range.

The resolution was approved in time to meet a Thursday deadline to comment on the statewide plan, which is to be complete in December.

Several provisions in the resolution mirror others adopted by West Slope counties such as Routt, Ouray and Garfield, in calling for support of the framework for consideration of transmountain diversions.

Among those provisions is one warning that “it would be unrealistic to look for any significant new supplies of water for the East Slope from the Colorado River as a primary source. Any further depletion of water from the Colorado River increases the risk of a compact curtailment.”

Diversions of water in Colorado could be reduced or prohibited at the demand of downstream states should they not get their allotted water supplies from the river under a 1922 compact governing the operation of the river.

The East Slope, which diverts as much as 600,000 acre-feet of water per year from the West Slope, should share in any reduction of diversions, West Slope officials and water managers have said…

Steve Acquafresca, a former Mesa County commissioner and fruitgrower in Grand Junction, urged the commission to support the resolution saying the West Slope should take advantage of the willingness of the East Slope to agree to the provisions protecting the West Slope.

Colorado transmountain diversions via the State Engineer's office
Colorado transmountain diversions via the State Engineer’s office

Arctic sea ice extent hits 4th-lowest minimum on record

Summit County Citizens Voice

asdf Scattered Arctic sea ice off the coast of Greenland in July 2015. @bberwyn photo.

Sea ice decline has accelerated since 1996

Staff Report

As projected a couple of weeks ago, Arctic sea ice bottomed out at the fourth-lowest extent on record, according to NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

This summer’s ice extent was about 394,000 square miles above the all-time minimum set in 2012, but ice researchers said that doesn’t mean there’s any sort of recovery, as sometimes erroneously claimed by climate science deniers.

The minimum extent was well below (699,000 square miles) the 1981-2010 average, and all nine of the lowest extents have been measured in the past nine years — a clear sign that the Arctic meltdown continues.

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