The Routt County Commissioner’s pony up $5,000 for Yampa River study

Yampa/White/Green/North Platte river basins via the Colorado Geological Survey
Yampa/White/Green/North Platte river basins via the Colorado Geological Survey

From Steamboat Today (Tom Ross):

The last time the community funded a Yampa River management plan, in 2004, it was all about balancing the health of the town stretch of the Yampa with recreation. More than a decade later, plans are underway for a new river management plan, and this time, there is more emphasis on protecting the health of the river to help ensure ample water for the community in times of drought.

“In part, this is an update of the 2004 plan. But it’s more of a streamflow management plan, where we’ll be looking for target flows that support aquatic life and water quality,” city of Steamboat Springs Water Resources Manager Kelly Heaney said Tuesday after meeting with Routt County officials. “It’s almost like a drought resiliency plan for the river.”

And the new study will take in a longer stretch of the river — from the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area downstream to the city’s wastewater treatment plant west of town.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to earmark $5,000 in its 2017 budget for a contribution toward a 50 percent local match of a $51,875 grant to fund the new management plan. The grant is part of $1 million allocated to the Colorado Water Conservation Board in accordance with one of the measurable objectives in Colorado’s landmark 2015 state water plan…

The [Colorado Water Plan] set the goal of covering 80 percent of a list of locally prioritized rivers with new stream management plans by 2030.

Heaney told the BOC that, with this grant, the Yampa will be among the first in the state to be the subject of such a study.

There is a plan underway on the Crystal River (upstream from Carbondale), Aspen and Pitkin County have begun work on a plan for the Roaring Fork and plans are in the works for the Colorado River and the San Miguel on the western side of the San Juan Mountains, Heaney reported.

“We’re kind of like pioneers, along with them,” she said.

Heaney said the Colorado Water Trust, which has, in the past, facilitated efforts to secure supplemental summer flows for the Yampa in drought years such as 2002 and 2012, will participate in the study. In 2002 and 2012, Colorado Parks and Wildlife placed a voluntary ban on fishing on the town stretch of the Yampa, because the shallow flows were too warm to hold desirable levels of dissolved oxygen for trout.

Water temperature and dissolved oxygen will be a part of the new river study, which will include a streamflow management plan meant to manage for target flows that support both aquatic life and water quality, Heaney said.

“We’re working with the Colorado Water Trust to get us to a place where we have a sustainable plan,” Heaney said.

The Water Trust will undertake a legal analysis of the city’s water rights and advise on different strategies to make the best use of them, she said. For example, strategies could include securing storage contracts, stream improvement projects and re-timing flows through wetlands.

AWRA 2016 Symposium Water in the 21st Century West: The Times They are a Changin’

2016 Annual Symposium

The Colorado Section of AWRA and the Colorado Foundation for Water Education Present:

Water in the 21st Century West: The Times They are a Changin

Friday, April 22nd
7:30 am to 5:30 pm

Mount Vernon Country Club
24933 Club House Circle
Golden, CO 80401

Keynote speakers:
Mike King, Denver Water
Senior Water Judge Gregory J. Hobbs
Register Here!

AWRA 2016 Symposium Schedule
7:30am – Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:30am – Introduction and Welcome
Katie Melander, AWRA CO President
Laurna Kaatz, AWRA CO President-Elect

8:50am – Colorado Foundation for Water Education

Mike King, Director of Planning, Denver Water

9:45am – Break

10:00am – Morning Session
Title: Water Planning in the West
Moderator: Laurna Kaatz, Denver Water
Collaboration is Key: The Arkansas Basin Watershed Health Process – Gary Barber
Connecting Silos: Land and Water Use Integration in Colorado – Kevin Reidy, State Water Conservation Technical Specialist, CWCB
Integrated Water Supply Planning in Colorado – A Tale of Two Cities – Enrique Triana, MWH
When Water Gets Murky – Esther Vincent, Water Quality Specialist, Northern Water

11:45pm- Buffet Luncheon

Justice Gregory Hobbs, Former Supreme Court Judge

1:00pm – Stepping Through Time: Colorado’s Climate, Water Resources, and Technology – Nolan Doesken, State climatologist


Afternoon Session A
Title: Technology and the West
Moderator: Dave Colvin, Leonard Rice Engineers
1:30pm – Scholarship Presentations
Measuring and Monitoring Our Snow-Water Resource – Noah Molotch, University of Colorado at Boulder
Improving Customer Satisfaction Using GIS – Robert Stansauk and Phillip Segura, Denver Water
Water Management Tools: Do You Know Where Your Water Is? – Dale Trowbridge, New Cache La Poudre Irrigation Company

Afternoon Session B
Title: The Colorado Frontier
Moderator: Bill Battaglin, USGS
1:30pm – Scholarship Presentations
Complying with SB-212, Rebuttable Presumption for Storm Water and Infiltration Facilities – Paul Hindman, Director of UDFCD
Nutrient trends in the Nation’s rivers and streams since 1972: Where does Colorado stand – Lori Sprague, USGS
Floodplain Development Permitting in Boulder County: A post-Flood Perspective – Harry Katz, Environmental Planner and Certified Floodplain Manager at Boulder County DOT
2:45pm Break
3:00pm The One World One Water (OWOW) Center at MSU Denver, and Colorado’s Water Education Legacy – Tom Cech , Director of the One World One Water Center at MSU

3:25pm Lightning Talks
Title: Changes in Water Administration – A Conversation with the Boots that run the Water
Moderator: Karlyn Armstrong, Colorado Division of Water Resources
Brian Romig – Lead Water Administrator, Supervising Water District 44, 54, 55, 56, 57, and lower 58 (Yampa River Basin), Colorado Division of Water Resources
Caren Aguilar – Accounting and Reservoir Administrator, Water Division 1 (South Platte River basin), Colorado Division of Water Resources
Doug Hollister – District 10 Water Commissioner and North Regional Team Leader, Districts 10, 14, and 15 (Fountain Creek, Arkansas River: Portland to Folwer, and Saint Charles River), Colorado Division of Water Resources

4:00pm – Reception / Silent Auction


La Junta: “I think they [CDPHE] make this stuff up as they go along” — Joe Kelley

La Junta back in the day via
La Junta back in the day via

From the La Junta Tribune-Democrat (Bette McFarren):

Director of Water and Wastewater Joe Kelley led off Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Utilities Commissioners. The design review on the new Wastewater Treatment Facility continues. “The State thinks there are more issues that need to be addressed before we can get to construction. I think they make this stuff up as they go along,” said Kelley. He referred to the fact that we have not only secured our loan, but are already in the process of paying it back with a rate increase. In addition, our regional efforts to build the Arkansas Valley Conduit now depend on additional federal legislation to allow the use of revenue from storage accounts to pay for state levels loans. “Without this legislation the AVC may not be financially feasible,” said Kelley.

On a smaller scale, the check valve for aeration blower #1 has been rebuilt and is now operational at the wastewater treatment plant. The water crew installed a new fire hydrant at the corner of Sixth St. and Colorado Ave…

The crew has installed a new primary service for the new Dialysis Center, which included new overhead primary, underground primary, vaults and meter pedestal. Service is ready to be energized.
New automated meters have been installed throughout the city. At the present, we are waiting for the next shipment of meters, said City Manager Rick Klein. Crews are reading meters since we currently have no meter reader.

EPA initiates lawsuit over Nelson Tunnel/Commodore Mine Waste Rock Pile Superfund Site

From The Denver Post (Kirk Mitchell):

The Environmental Protection Agency has sued a mining company operating in Mineral County in federal court to recoup hazardous waste cleanup costs.

The U.S. sued Coca Mines Inc. for cleanup of hazardous substances in the Nelson Tunnel and the Commodore Waste Rock Pile Superfund Site.

The superfund site is in the San Juan Mountains less than 2 miles from the town of Creede. Shafts were dug in a series of hard-rock silver mines operated between 1889 and the 1980s tapping the “Amethyst Vein.” Horizontal tunnels also were bored, including the Nelson Tunnel.

The Nelson Tunnel is partially collapsed but continues to drain acid runoff.

The Commodore Waste Rock Pile, just outside the entrance of the Nelson Tunnel, included a water conveyance system that failed around 1995, releasing mine waste containing heavy metals including arsenic, cadmium, lead, manganese and zinc into West Willow Creek.

The creek flows into the Rio Grande River 4 miles below the site.

In 2008 and 2009, the EPA conducted waste removal studies at the waste pile site.

The EPA is now in the process of completing a feasibility study of remedial actions for the site.

Through June 30, 2015, the EPA incurred nearly $10 million in costs. Some of those costs were covered by the Asarco Environmental Trust.

The lawsuit says the discharge each day from the Nelson Tunnel into Willow Creek carries 375 pounds of zinc, 1.37 pounds of cadmium and 6.39 pounds of lead. Zinc levels have hit 25,000 parts per billion, hurting fish reproduction for more than 4 miles down to a confluence with the main stem of the Rio Grande, where dilution eases the impact.

Pueblo is not waiting on improvements to Fountain Creek

The confluence of Fountain Creek and the Arkansas River in Pueblo County -- photo via the Colorado Springs Business Journal
The confluence of Fountain Creek and the Arkansas River in Pueblo County — photo via the Colorado Springs Business Journal

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Pueblo County’s agreement on stormwater control with Colorado Springs comes at an ideal time for the city of Pueblo.

The city is looking at steps it must take to clear the Fountain Creek channel in order to obtain flood plain certification from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The agreement would provide an additional $3 million to the city of Pueblo, which could be matched by about $1.8 million in Colorado Springs money now held by the county and $1.2 million from other sources.

So, if it can find another $400,000 annually over three years, Pueblo would be able to complete $6 million in projects. Money could start arriving by the end of May if the agreement is approved.

“It’s not enough to get all the silt out,” said Jeff Bailey, Pueblo’s stormwater director. “We think it would take two or three times that to do all the work. But we could select areas and get the bulk of vegetation and silt out.”

Such critical areas would include the Eighth Street bridge, where Fountain Creek now flows through only two of the five archways because the other three are so badly silted over.

Another spot would be the north end of Fountain Creek, which is still littered with big cottonwood trees that washed down last spring.

“If we can open that up, it would provide more of an area to spread the water,” Bailey said.

A project approved by the Arkansas Basin Roundtable Wednesday would use $250,000 from the local sources and $5,000 in state money to remove debris and sediment between Colorado 47 and Eighth Street in Fountain Creek. The project would be funded by the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District and Pueblo County — each providing $100,000 — along with the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District ($50,000 from Aurora funds through the Lower Ark).

The Lower Ark district would coordinate the project, which is patterned after a similar dredging effort at North La Junta on the Arkansas River.

Beyond the immediate cleanup, the city has hired a consultant to make recommendations for long-term fixes. It is also in the process of meeting with FEMA to determine current flood plain boundaries.

Fountain Creek is a moving target. The largest recorded flood in 1965 would be considered greater than a 100-year flood today. In addition, the increase in impervious surfaces in Colorado Springs to the north would make that same flood more intense by passing a larger volume of water more quickly. The new study will look at the new levels for a 100-year flood.

Another $6 million would help, Bailey said.

“First I would have to find out what kind of restrictions are on the money,” Bailey said. “Then, how soon can I have the money?”

Sedalia: Water tank overhaul

The Sedalia Water Tank was constructed in 1890 by the Santa Fe Railroad and served as a water supply for the locomotives until diesel supplanted the use of coal-fired steam engines.  Today, the water tank serves as the main water supply for Sedalia.  The tank was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002 for its role during the steam era of the rail system and for its contributions to Colorado history. Photo via Douglas County.
The Sedalia Water Tank was constructed in 1890 by the Santa Fe Railroad and served as a water supply for the locomotives until diesel supplanted the use of coal-fired steam engines. Today, the water tank serves as the main water supply for Sedalia. The tank was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002 for its role during the steam era of the rail system and for its contributions to Colorado history. Photo via Douglas County.

From The Douglas County News-Press (Shanna Fortier):

The Sedalia water tank, which is the sole supplier of water to the town and a historic site, is in the homestretch of receiving much-needed work, which will allow the tank to still be used, rather than replaced.

“This was a much-overdue project,” said Mary Kasal, district engineer for Sedalia Water and Sanitation District. “We’re pleased to get it done.”

Constructed in 1906, the Sante Fe Railway Water Tank stands in an open grassy area northwest of the unincorporated town of Sedalia. Two cottonwood trees stand to the west and a large, high, grass-covered berm traverses along the north between the tank and Highway 85.

The 140,000-gallon capacity water tank sits on a sag foundation and is 24 feet in diameter and 43 feet high. The cylindrical tank is constructed of large sections of steel that have been riveted together.

Historically, the tank was painted in Sante Fe colors, Sante Fe red with the Santa Fe logo in yellow, black and red. Today, the tank is painted metallic silver with the word “Sedalia” in red with a black outline facing Highway 85. Below, in black, it reads, “Elev. 5835.”

The water tank is on the National Register of Historic Places and in 1958, the railroad deeded the system (water tank, pipe and well pump) to the Sedalia Water and Sanitation District.

Today, the tank is still used as a water storage facility, which serves as part of the community’s water supply and distribution system.

But the tank had fallen into disrepair. It was old, rusted and was no longer up to code. New Occupational Safety and Health Administration certified access points had to be installed and new regulations for fresh-water drinking systems needed to be put into place for the tank to stay functional.

With grants from the State Historical Fund, Douglas County Community Development Block Grant and The Edmund T. and Eleanor Quick Foundation, the town was able to recoat the inside of the tank with Ecodur 201, a super green (solvent free, VOC free, BPA free) product from Castagra that uses natural vegetable oil.

“The town people love this tank,” said Matt Cullen of Castagra Products Inc., adding the the residents have been bringing workers food and water throughout the project. “We’re happy to work with the town on this project.”