From The Broomfield Enterprise (Jennifer Rios):
Broomfield City Council gave the green light for the wastewater treatment facility to seek proposals for expansion to their laboratory and administrative office space.
Councilmembers unanimously passed six consent agenda items Tuesday night without discussion…
The Environmental Services Division in Public Works provides laboratory services to the Water and Wastewater Treatment facilities. The laboratories share staff, space and equipment between the two facilities to comply with all water and wastewater regulations in an efficient and cost effective manner.
“The laboratory at the water treatment facility, constructed in 1997, is adequately seized for the staff and work load,” a memo reads. “The laboratory at the wastewater treatment facility, constructed in 1987, has not been expanded to keep up with the additional staff and work lead increase over the last 28 years.”
The lab was built with work space for two staff member, and does not support the five employees and equipment added since 1987.
Burns & McDonnell, a Denver-based engineering firm, was retained in late 2014 to complete a study for the facility, east of Lowell Boulevard on West 124th Avenue, and determined the existing space was about half of the size that is typical for the staffing and testing performed at the facility.
Construction costs are estimated between $3.7 million to $3.8 million, according to a city memo. That amount is included in the 2016 budget.
I’ve been remiss in posting links to the events below from the Colorado Foundation for
Water Education. Here goes:
February 12: Water Fluency Spring 2016
A professional development course to help you understand water and lead with confidence
Course curriculum focuses on:
Colorado’s water resources: the role of water in society, the economic value of water, ties to public policy, emerging issues Legal and institutional frameworks: water law and administration, project planning and approval, interbasin projects and agreements Water resource management: watershed health, environmental protection, water quality, natural disasters Colorado water for the future: assessing supply and meeting demand, ecosystem values, conservation and land use, alignment of resources and policies
This unique educational experience will increase your water fluency so you can better analyze water’s influence on the issues you deal with everyday and evaluate creative solutions. Become immersed in the language and concepts of water as well as tools for navigating the culture, complexity and future of water management and policy issues. You will leave equipped with relevant knowledge and a new network of peers to create lasting, positive change in your community. If you’re an elected official, a professional interested in water or a community or business leader, this program is for you!
Registration is now open for Water Fluency Spring 2016: Northern Front Range
Register here by February 12. A limited number of partial scholarships are available. Members of the Special District Association may be eligible for a 75 percent scholarship, while some 50 percent scholarships are also available thanks to local program sponsors. Water Fluency scholarships are competitive. You can apply for a scholarship after you have completed your registration. Scholarship applicants will be notified by 2/12.
Participants learn through site visits; four half-day in-person classroom discussions; and online material, presented in partnership with Colorado State University’s online water course, with an estimated total time commitment of 30 hours over 10 weeks.
Attendance is required at in-person sessions and will be held during the afternoon on the following dates and locations:
March 2, Greeley
March 23, Fort Collins
April 19, Berthoud
May 10, Longmont
February 26: Water for Commodity Production Tour
On February 26, 2016 spend the day with CFWE on our Water for Commodity Production Tour. We’ll explore the relationship between water demands, public policy and economic development, and see innovative approaches in the Pueblo area. Hear about land use policy and planning for economic development, economic return and distribution scale of local agricultural products, industrial hemp and commercial marijuana operations, leasing water for industrial water uses, gain some historical and current context of water for steel production and much more.
March 11: Climate & Colorado’s Water Future
Join us on Friday March 11, 2016 for CFWE’s annual Climate and Colorado’s Water Future Workshop! This year we’ll meet in Boulder to tour INSTAAR’s Stable Isotope Lab and hear from many local experts to learn about Colorado’s crazy climate. Hear and see how researchers use ice cores to understand the composition and temperature of Earth’s atmosphere; explore drought, climate change, the water cycle and ecosystem; find out how changes in climate can alter hydrology and how water managers are preparing and planning for an uncertain future. We’ll come away with new tools to better teach and communicate about climate. View the draft agenda and register here—this annual offering always fills. Reserve your space today!
* 0.5 credit hour is available through the Colorado School of Mines Office of Continuing Education to teachers requiring graduate-level relicensure hours. Teachers seeking credit must bring a $35 tuition check (in addition to paying the course registration fee) made payable to “CSM Continuing Education” the day of the workshop. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if seeking continuing education credit or with any questions.
Here’s the release from the Colorado Cattleman’s Association (Paula Waggoner):
Applications are now being accepted for the prestigious Leopold Conservation Award® honoring agricultural landowners in Colorado who demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources.
Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the $10,000 award recognizes private landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. It is presented annually by Sand County Foundation, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and American AgCredit.
Applications are due by March 8, 2016. Finalists and recipient will be announced by April. For complete application information, visit http://www.leopoldconservationaward.org.
In his influential 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.”
“The outstanding agricultural landowners we honor with the Leopold Conservation Award exemplify what it means to be leaders in conservation for the benefit of our environment,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President.
“Ranchers are the original environmentalists. The Leopold Conservation Award recognizes a long history of caring for the land, while rewarding ranchers who are excelling in their holistic approach of stewardship,” says Bob Patterson President of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association.
Award applicants are judged based on their demonstration of improved resource conditions, innovation, long-term commitment to stewardship, sustained economic viability, community and civic leadership, and multiple use benefits.
The Colorado award is sponsored by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Assoc., American AgCredit, DuPont Pioneer, The Mosaic Company and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
From The High Country News (Paige Blankenbuehler):
At the beginning of February last year, South Lake Tahoe in California was nearly 60 degrees Fahrenheit, almost 20 degrees above its historic average. At that time, the drought had been dragging along for four years and chair lifts at nearby ski resorts were swaying over barren slopes. Representatives from the California Department of Water Resources called the Sierra Nevada snowpack “dismally meager,” at only 23 percent of normal.
Now, it’s a drastically different story. January has been California’s best month for snowpack since 2011, and the state’s measurements are at 127 percent of normal. Although California’s snowpack is above normal this year, it’s still not enough to make up the deficit from the persisting drought in the state. It is enough, though, to keep ski resorts running and reservoirs in the state from drying up.
Above normal snowpack measurements are tracking for most of the West, too. The season was off to a slow start with sporadic storms October through December, but January winter precipitation increased measurements across all states, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s SNOTEL sites, which measure snow depth at thousands of stations nation-wide. Utah claimed the biggest increase from early season snowpack, from 84 percent to 118 percent snowpack readings on February 1. Over the past month, California snowpack increased from 90 to 127 percent, and Arizona jumped from 83 percent to 113 percent of normal.
Only two Western states, Montana and Wyoming, are below the historic benchmark for “normal” at this time of year — and not by much. North-central Wyoming and the eastern slope of the Northern Rockies in Montana are the low-snow areas. Both states are more than 80 percent of normal for this time of year, and February is a crucial month for snow. Snowpack typically builds until April, says Alan Haynes, a hydrologist for the California Nevada River Forecast Center.
But even states with snowpack measurements lagging behind, readings from early in the season have improved. Since December, snow depth in Montana has hobbled to 84 percent of normal — from 73 percent in early December. And Wyoming similarly increased to 84 percent, from about 75.
Measurements from SNOTEL sites across the West, which have been recording precipitation and snow depth this season since Oct. 1, 2015, are painting a reverse picture of last year. Areas that were far below average last year — the Tahoe Basin in California and the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest — are recording the highest precipitation in the West so far this season.
The most precipitation has fallen in Washington and Oregon. In terms of percent of normal snowpack, Nevada has been leading the region with nearly 140 percent of normal readings across the state, according to data compiled by NRCS.
In California, local forecasters say the past few months are finally chipping away at the state’s five-year drought. The deficit will be hard to overcome, Haynes says, but if this season continues, the state might avoid fallowing fields. California gets 30 percent of its total water supply from snowpack, and reservoirs that have been low are now slowly filling up. Shasta Reservoir, one of the largest storage systems in the state is currently more than 50 percent full, or about 75 percent of the historical average for this time. “If we get shut out for the rest of the winter, the outlook could be bleak,” Haynes says.
Winter recreation in California is also benefitting from the abundant snow. The Hagens Meadow SNOTEL site near South Lake Tahoe is reporting 53 inches of snow depth, or 158 percent of normal, and Ostrander Lake site, in south Yosemite National Park, has had 220 inches of snow…
While El Niño may be creating a more robust winter storm pattern, it’s difficult to attribute all of the heavy snow to the global weather phenomenon. “This year has been a really strong El Niño, but we’re seeing snowfall patterns that are somewhat unusual for this weather event,” Haynes says. The Northwest, which would typically be fairly dry, is wet. And precipitation in south-central California hasn’t lived up to early El Niño predictions for that part of the state. The U.S. Drought Monitor remains cautiously optimistic about recovery. According to the center’s January 28 report, “the trend is going in the right direction for now with a good chunk of the snow season still left to play out over the next two months.”
From The Kearney Hub (Lori Potter):
“Everything is just in good shape,” Civil engineer Cory Steinke said in his report Monday to the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District Board of Directors.
Lake McConaughy, which stores water for CNPPID irrigation, hydropower, wildlife habitat and recreation, and for other water interests, is 83.5 percent of a full volume at 1,457,000 acre-feet.
Steinke said North Platte River inflows at Lewellen have been around 1,200 cubic feet per second, and the South Platte is “roaring pretty good” at 1,200-1,400 cfs at the Colorado-Nebraska state line. Releases from Lake McConaughy were at 900 cfs Monday.
He said South Platte water is running through CNPPID hydros and is the main factor in overall flows exceeding current Central Platte River targets set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for wildlife habitat. Steinke expects diversions into the Phelps Canal for seepage into groundwater that eventually reaches the river can continue until at least Feb. 15.
Meanwhile, mountain snowpacks that produce the Platte River’s headwaters continue to grow. Steinke said that in the North Platte Basin, the upper area’s snowpack is at 98 percent of normal for Feb. 1, and the lower basin is at 106 percent. The South Platte Basin is at 105 percent.
From The Pueblo Chieftain:
An update on a 15-year study of water tables, salinity and selenium in the Lower Arkansas Valley will be shared Feb. 11 at the annual Arkansas Valley Farm/Ranch/ Water Symposium and Trade Show.
There will also be information on farming trends, techniques and new crops such as hemp.
The event will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 11 at the William L. Gobin Community Building, 105 N. Main St., Rocky Ford.
Tim Gates, a civil engineering professor at Colorado State University- Fort Collins will speak about Arkansas River return flows from ditches at the meeting. Gates and his team have found that better irrigation practices could reduce the amount of salinity and selenium in the Arkansas River, as well as eliminating waterlogging, or high groundwater tables.
Also in the lineup for the meeting will be Chuck Hanagan, with the federal Farm Services Agency; Brian Bledsoe, KKTV 11 chief meteorologist; James Robb, director of the Livestock Marketing Information Center; Kathy Voss, consultant for Livestock for Landscapes; Troy Bauder of Colorado State University Extension Service, on conservation tillage; and Joel Lundquist, a farmer and custom harvester, on new opportunities for growing hemp.
Reservations are $20 per person, $30 per couple and $5 per student in advance; $25 per person, $35 per couple and $5 per student at the door. Payment and contact information may be sent to P.O. Box 190, Rocky Ford, CO 81067.
For information, call 791-254-7608.
From The Vail Daily (Scott N. Miller):
State officials in 2012 placed Gore Creek — as well as a number of other mountain-town streams — on a list of ecologically impaired waterways in Colorado, but that doesn’t mean the creek is the equivalent of a Rust Belt river that can catch fire. Still, humans have affected Gore Creek’s aquatic life — particularly bugs that are the food supply for fish.
To help repair that damage, town officials have been working for some time on a plan called Restore the Gore. The plan’s design so far has included working with consultants, the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District and residents. The plan has also been the subject of six hearings at the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission. The Vail Town Council is the final step to putting the plan — and its 217 recommended actions — into place. Council members Tuesday took a close look at the plan, with an eye toward final approval at the board’s March 15 evening meeting.
The plan in its current form has a good bit of regulation in it — including what people can spray on weeds they’re legally obligated to control.
But a majority of the recommendations fall into two categories: specific projects and management practices.
The identified projects cover nearly the length of Gore Creek, from the Interstate 70 runaway truck ramp nearest to town to the parking lots at the town’s two supermarkets. The projects run the gamut from restoring creekside vegetation to creating an artificial wetland area — a natural pollutant filter — to catch cinders falling off of I-70 to working to treat runoff from supermarket parking lots.
Gary Brooks, an engineer who is part of the town’s consultant team, said the idea behind all of the projects is to either dilute or interrupt pollutants that would otherwise make their way into the stream.
EDUCATION IS KEY
Education and management practices are similarly broad. Vail Environmental Sustainability Director Kristen Bertuglia said education is a significant part of virtually every element of the plan, from helping homeowners to teaching the landscaping companies those property owners hire.
Those educational efforts seem to be well-received so far. Bertuglia said an informational meeting for landscaping companies in 2015 drew between 80 and 100 people, most of whom were company owners.
Landscape companies that take a sustainable landscaping class — organized in cooperation with the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and scheduled for the spring of this year — can earn a creek-friendly certification from the town. Those companies can use that certification in their own efforts to line up clients for the coming season.
And residents in general seem interested in learning more, Bertuglia said.
“I’ve been inspired by how the community has gotten behind this effort,” Bertuglia said.
VAIL RESORTS INVOLVEMENT
Responding to a question about Vail Resorts’ involvement in the plan, Bertuglia said the environmental team from the company has been involved in drafting the plan, and this winter has moved one of its major snow piles on the valley floor so it will have less impact on the creek when the pile melts.
PRICE TAG FOR PROJECTS
All of these efforts will cost money, of course. Just one project — the stormwater treatment project at the I-70 truck ramp — has an estimated price tag of more than $150,000. Better treatment of runoff from the supermarket parking lots will certain cost more. Another project, a 2017 redo of Slifer Plaza, carries an estimated price of more than $1.3 million, much of which will be spent on replacing an aging storm sewer that runs from north of the Vail Village parking structure into the creek.
The best use of taxpayer money will be a key element of the plan.
Members of the Colorado Cattlemen’s’ Association gather twice a year to gain knowledge about their industry, create policy that drives their trade association and present awards to those who have served the state’s beef industry in an exemplary fashion.
[Last] week’s Mid-Winter Conference, held in Denver, focused on the agriculturally-related issues that will be addressed during the 2016 session of Colorado’s General Assembly. In addition, committee meetings were held that help to establish the organization’s policies and stance on a wide range of legislative and regulatory topics that will be impacting the beef industry in Colorado. Topics ranged from the Colorado Water Plan and state lands grazing fees to federal lands management and the Endangered Species Act. “Members gathering to discuss issues and reach consensus on a course of action is the purpose of the organization,” says Bob Patterson, president of Colorado Cattlemen’s Association. “This is the time when members have a chance to gather facts and engage in the policy development process that drives our organization.”
CCA Foundation Banquet
On the evening of Jan. 19 during the Colorado Cattlemen’s Foundation Banquet, awards were presented to individuals who have made a significant impact on the industry.
Awards presented by Colorado CattleWomen, Inc.:
Cattle Woman of the Year
Cattle Woman of the Year, Nancy Carlson, has been a very active member of the Black Mesa CattleWomen for five years. Through her engagement with the Western Slope CattleWomen Council, she discovered the need for good educational material for the general public. She began developing material, which is a talent that came naturally because of her background as an educator. As a result, she wrote a book, has served as the Colorado CattleWomen’s education chairman and is currently serving as the working group manager for the youth development K-12 group for the American National CattleWomen.
Rookie of the Year
Kacie Burns of Paonia was selected as Rookie of the Year. Even while attending the University of Wyoming, Burns has made her commitment to Black Mesa CattleWomen a priority. She has made many trips between school and home to be a part of her local’s meetings. Her enthusiasm and passion for promoting the beef industry has generated several new ideas and programs for her affiliate. She led the charge to sell brands to sponsor a 5K race. Burns also understands the importance of educating the public and has developed and manages the Facebook page for Black Mesa CattleWomen. Burns is a fourth generation member of the REW Land and Cattle operation and plans to come back to be a part of her family’s ranch to carry on the tradition of ranching in the west.
Awards presented by Colorado Cattlemen’s Association:
Law Officer of the Year
Deputy C.J. Fell was selected as the Law Officer of the Year for 2015. During his two years in the Yuma County Sheriff’s Department, Fell has become an integral connection between the agricultural community and the Sheriff’s Department in Yuma County. He worked with the local brand inspector to conduct a series of public meetings to educate livestock owners on best practices to protect their livestock from theft and harm. Fell has worked diligently to build relationships between the agricultural community and local and state law enforcement.
Brand Inspector of the Year
Chad Moore was named Brand Inspector of the Year for 2015. Serving as the supervisor of Southwest Colorado, Moore took a pivotal role this year during the Animas River spill relaying information between state government and livestock producers in the region. The ranchers he serves appreciate his willingness to provide livestock and fence law training to law enforcement agencies throughout southwest Colorado. The beef producers in his region value highly Moore’s professionalism and dedication to the livestock industry.
Outstanding Commercial Producer of the Year
Karney Land & Cattle is owned and operated by Pat & Robin Karney, near Las Animas. Three generations are actively involved with the daily operation of the ranch, and in order to preserve for the future generations, the family has placed a conservation easement on the ranch. The herd consists of 500 head of Angus cross commercial cattle and about 400 head of replacement heifers. A unique part of their operation is their heifer development enterprise. In addition to raising heifers from their own herd, the Karneys buy high-quality heifers from select ranches to develop and sell as bred heifers. They implement a 100 percent AI breeding program for heifers, with strict criteria for staying in the herd. All calves leaving their premises are marketed at a premium as non-hormone treated and age and source verified.
Outstanding Seedstock Producer of the Year
Curtis and Susan Russell, along with their family, operate the Reflected R Ranch, near Sugar City. Their purebred Simmental operation focuses on producing moderate-framed, heavily-muscled seedstock. Their Simmental-influenced cowherd emphasizes calving ease and fertility; they also place a heavy emphasis on disposition, only retaining cattle rated “gentle” for their family operation.
Affiliate Rate-of-Growth Contest
Chaffee County Cattlemen’s Association achieved the highest rate of growth this year. Their tremendous recruitment efforts earned them a $5,000 certificate which may be used toward the purchase of a piece of equipment (turret, alleyway, chute, etc.) produced by Moly Manufacturing. This generous prize was donated by Gene Dubas with Dubas Cattle Company in Fullerton, Nebraska.
Top Membership Recruiter
This year’s membership recruitment contest was a race to the finish and Kacie Burns of Paonia, beat out another contender by just two members. Signing up an incredible 20 members, Bruns earned herself a brand new working chute generously donated by Troy Piper with Priefert Manufacturing.
Champion Commercial Female
CCA President Bob Patterson presented the Tuell family of Tuelland Cattle Company of Eckley, Colorado, with a belt buckle for their Champion Pen of commercial females
Colorado Cattlemen’s Foundation presentation of Endowment Trust Memorial honorees
A permanently-endowed trust within the Colorado Cattlemen’s Foundation was established to be maintained and enhanced by contributions of various kinds. Over the years, the trust has grown, and now realizes a steady and stable income stream. Annually, that income earned is paid to CCA to be used to finance its operations. If memorial donations of a single person exceed $1,000, the Foundation honors that person’s memory by inducting them into the Endowment Trust. This year’s honored in 2015 were John “Doc” Cheney and Ceborn “Cebe” Hanson.