Denver Metro: High Line Canal Final Series of Open Houses

High Line Canal Regional Context map via the High Line Canal Conservancy
High Line Canal Regional Context map via the High Line Canal Conservancy

From email from the High Line Canal Conservancy (Suzanna Jones):

The High Line Canal Conservancy, which is dedicated to preserving the recreational and environmental future of the High Line Canal, announced the dates and locations in Aurora, Denver, and Centennial for “Chapter 4: Looking Ahead,” the last of the Vision Plan series of open houses. After a summer of public input, these open houses will bring the public back together for a final time to celebrate the success of the input gathered and begin to outline the next steps and implementation plan for shaping the Canal into a great refuge for the region. Some of the most exciting outcomes include honoring the diverse and distinct communities along the Canal, celebrating the unprecedented scale and historic significance of the Canal’s 71 miles, and looking ahead to the possibility of adapting the Canal for stormwater uses to nourish its natural character.

“We’re thrilled to bring the varied communities back together for our final series of open houses. We will celebrate the inspirational draft vision that thousands of people have helped write that will protect and enhance the future of the High Line Canal,” said Harriet Crittenden LaMair, executive director of the High Line Canal Conservancy. “Folks from communities along the Canal will be able to learn about our draft next steps for the Canal’s future and help us continue to brainstorm new ideas.”

After three successful series of community open houses where families, friends and neighbors from communities along the Canal gathered to share their input and feedback on the future of the Canal, the High Line Canal Conservancy team will forecast next steps and draft implementation strategies for the Canal. The Conservancy will also ask attendees to weigh in on the shared vision for the Canal as a natural refuge for the region, including delving into the guiding principles that the Canal remain natural, varied, connected & continuous, managed, and enhanced.

Let’s get started on the Canal’s future! Please drop in for as long as you are able!

The dates and locations of the interactive open houses are:

Wednesday, October 19, from 4-8 p.m. at Dry Dock Brewing Company North Dock*
2801 Tower Rd., Aurora
*Food trucks and tasting of the High Line Canal Dry Dock beer starting at 5 p.m.

Thursday, October 20, from 2-5 p.m. at Eisenhower Recreation Center
4300 E. Dartmouth Ave., Denver

Thursday, October 20, from 6-8 p.m. at Goodson Recreation Center
6315 S. University Blvd, Centennial

All three sessions will be identical, so guests are invited to attend the event most convenient to them. These events are “open house” format, with no formal presentation, so guests can stop by anytime and stay for as long as they would like.

Here’s how to stay updated on High Line Canal project updates:

  • The High Line Canal newsletter.
  • High Line Canal’s social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).
  • Help us spread the word: Please invite your friends and neighbors to participate too!
  • The latest #ENSO Diagnostic Discussion is hot off the presses from the Climate Prediction Center


    From the Climate Prediction Center.

    ENSO Alert System Status: La Niña Watch

    Synopsis: La Niña is favored to develop (~70% chance) during the Northern Hemisphere fall 2016 and slightly favored to persist (~55% chance) during winter 2016-17.

    ENSO-Neutral conditions were observed during September, with negative sea surface temperatures (SSTs) anomalies expanding across the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean by early October. All of the Niño regions cooled considerably during late September and early October, with the latest weekly value of Niño-3.4 index at -0.9°C. Subsurface temperature anomalies also decreased toward the end of the month, reflecting the strengthening of below-average temperatures at depth in the east-central equatorial Pacific. Atmospheric anomalies across the equatorial Pacific edged toward La Niña during September, with a stronger tendency toward La Niña late in the month. The traditional Southern Oscillation index and the equatorial Southern Oscillation index were positive. The lower-level winds were near average across most of the basin during the month, but enhanced easterlies were becoming more persistent west of the International Date Line. Upper-level winds were anomalously westerly near and just east of the International Date Line. Convection was weakly suppressed over the central tropical Pacific and was more enhanced over Indonesia compared to last month. Overall, the combined ocean and atmosphere system reflects ENSO-Neutral during September, but are more clearly trending toward La Niña conditions.

    The multi-model averages favor borderline Neutral-La Niña conditions (3-month average Niño- 3.4 index less than or equal to -0.5°C) persisting during the Northern Hemisphere fall and continuing into the winter. Because of the recent cooling in the Niño-3.4 region and signs of renewed atmospheric coupling, the forecaster consensus now favors the formation of a weak La Niña in the near term, becoming less confident that La Niña will persist through the winter. In summary, La Niña is favored to develop (~70% chance) during the Northern Hemisphere fall 2016 and slightly favored to persist (~55% chance) during winter 2016-17 (click CPC/IRI consensus forecast for the chance of each outcome for each 3-month period).


    Protecting Our #ColoradoRiver — Mark Udall #COriver

    Colorado River Basin, USBR May 2015
    Colorado River Basin, USBR May 2015

    From Morning Consult (Mark Udall):

    Water makes the West as we know it. Congressman Wayne Aspinall put it best: In the West, when you touch water, you touch everything. Never have these words rang more true that today, as we endure a record 16th year of drought in the Colorado River basin — and nearly everyone and everything has been affected.

    Demand for water in the river basin now exceeds supply, threatening the drinking water supply for 40 million users of the Colorado River, an indispensable agricultural yield that depends on sufficient water, and the river that powers a $26 billion outdoor recreation economy based on river-related activities. Clearly everything we can do to conserve water and use it more efficiently means a great deal at this point.

    Understanding this, President Obama has recently taken several successive measures to bring drought relief and resiliency to Colorado and many of the suffering areas that depend on the Colorado River. In March, coinciding with World Water Day, he issued a directive calling on federal agencies to ramp up the nation’s capabilities to address long-term drought resilience, ordering agencies to collaborate on drought-related activities in key watersheds. It benefits taxpayers and our environment when we ensure that drought resiliency and recovery assistance operates at peak effectiveness.

    Subsequently, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López announced in June their intent to boost funding for and better coordinate their respective key water conservation programs: the Environmental Quality Incentive Program and WaterSMART, respectively. This kind of investment and collaboration is essential at a time when drought is the new normal in the West.

    That said, our work is far from over. The WaterSMART grant program, championed by Deputy Secretary of the Interior Mike Connor, is a critical component of efforts to restore water supply and demand balance in the West. WaterSMART grants have been a powerful tool for spurring locally-led water conservation projects. These grants come with a match requirement that leverages federal investment dollar for dollar with state and private funding, which means they’re great for taxpayers as much as water users. However, very few projects that have received grants thus far have benefited fish or wildlife habitat, or put water back into our rivers, even though species recovery is one goal of the program.

    Just a few small adjustments to WaterSMART grant criteria would make the program even more productive. If we began to reward collaborative, multi-stakeholder efforts to improve watershed health while creating agriculture or municipal water supply benefits, our environment and recreation economy would also stand to benefit. We would create more drought resiliency by keeping water in our rivers and protecting wildlife habitat while improving the reliability of municipal or agricultural water supply. We should also look at how grant recipients can be more transparent about sharing data related to water use and savings. These are small changes to Reclamation’s successful WaterSMART program that would create even more public benefit by supporting local, collaborative, place-based solutions to water scarcity.

    Without question, the administration has taken important steps this year to combat drought in the Colorado River and in other key watersheds across the United States. But, there’s always more to do. Coming from “the geography of hope” Westerners are willing. I would urge the Administration to partner with us and adopt these modest but strategic changes to the Interior Department’s water conservation grant program. Water is everything in the West, and we must work together and do everything in our power to protect and sustain a healthy Colorado River — no matter how small the step may seem — so that it may continue to be an environmental, recreational, and economic resource and a vital source of life for us all.

    The latest Chatfield Storage Project newsletter is hot off the presses from Leonard Rice Engineers

    Chatfield Reservoir
    Chatfield Reservoir

    Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

    After years of careful study and a step by step public review and approval process, the Chatfield Storage Reallocation Project is moving forward. Eight water provider entities* formed and are operating the new non-profit Chatfield Reservoir Mitigation Company (CRMC). The Board of Directors moved quickly to select a program management team and signed a Master Services Agreement and Task Order No. One on October 26, 2015. Program Manager CDM Smith and Leonard Rice Engineers immediately began work on the design process to implement the approved and required project components. Sub-consultant teams were selected and approved by the CRMC Board in the following months to develop preliminary designs. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently reviewing those preliminary designs.

    Proposed reallocation pool -- Graphic/USACE
    Proposed reallocation pool — Graphic/USACE

    Winter #snowpack outlook up in air — The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

    Doing a snowdance
    Doing a snowdance

    From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):

    “This year, I’ve heard scientists or near-scientists speculate (on) anything from an upcoming whopping winter similar to 1983-84 to ‘look out for drought.’” Colorado state climatologist Nolan Doesken told weather- and water-watchers in a recent email.

    “… In the next few months, this will all play out before our eyes. This past year’s ‘El Niño’ collapsed as predicted but did not head into ‘La Niña’ land as previously prognosticated.”


    “Right now we’re in kind of a neutral state” between an El Niño and La Niña, said Larry Smith, senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

    Neutral conditions aren’t a superb indicator of how winter will shape up, but around Grand Junction they typically lead to kind of a normal water year, but also slightly warmer temperatures that mean the snow line starts at a higher elevation than usual, he said.

    A couple of forecasting models show a trend toward a weak La Niña eventually occurring sometime this winter, but the phenomenon can have a time lag in terms of impacts on local weather, which makes predicting its impacts hard, Smith said. He added that the El Niño/La Niña is just one of several factors considered in long-range forecasting.

    Colorado’s snowpack fared well last winter during what was a strong El Niño. Meteorologist Cory Gates, who forecasts for, is bullish about this winter’s prospects for the area around the Aspen ski resort town. He has said conditions are similar to those leading into the epic snow year of 1983-84, according to Aspen media reports.

    “I would be very careful in making comparisons with that” year, said Klaus Wolter, a research scientist in Boulder with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and University of Colorado.

    “I’m mildly optimistic” about this winter’s snowpack prospects, he said.

    But he said there’s a lot of uncertainty because of the lack of clarity about whether there will be a La Niña or not.

    Chris Tomer, a meteorologist for Denver television stations who also specializes in mountain forecasting as a private consultant, said he thinks the winter will end up somewhere between neutral conditions “and La Niña Lite.”

    He said he expects Colorado’s northern mountains to benefit from a surplus of snow, with a normal winter in the central mountains and slightly below-average snow for the southern part of the state.