Park County commissioners approve water lease

Upper South Platte Basin

From The Fairplay Flume (Lynda James):

The commissioners signed a resolution that approves the second amendment to the county’s water court application March 2.

The case filed in 2008 is to obtain a water rights decree for public works to use water for dust suppression and road construction.

The case also asks approval of the county’s water augmentation plan to replace water used by the department when a call on the river is in place…

The original water rights case was filed for six diversion points and plan of augmentation for 5.6 acre feet with an appropriation date of Dec. 2008…

The first water court amendment in 2013 added 12 points of diversion with an appropriation date of Oct. 2013, increased water from 5.66 to 15 acre feet and added places of storage.

The second amendment approved March 2 adds the five acre feet of water recently purchased from Lone Rock Water LLC as a source of augmentation water…

Until the county obtains water court approval for water rights and plan of augmentation, the county is using water under a Substitute Water Supply Plan approved by the State Engineer’s Office.

A SWSP allows one to use and augment water according to a written plan until the water rights application is actually approved by water court.

Rio Grande Roundtable meeting recap: “Shovel ready” projects get design and engineering funding

Mountain Home Reservoir via The Applegate Group

From The Valley Courier (Ruth Heide):

Water leaders on Tuesday approved funding for two projects that will improve local reservoir and river operations.

The Rio Grande Roundtable approved $70,000 from locally allocated water funds for engineering work for Mountain Home Reservoir upgrades and $90,000 for surveying, design, and permitting work for projects primarily around the Rio Grande State Wildlife Area near Monte Vista. These funds will be matched with money from other sources to complete the projects. The Mountain Home Reservoir project is in its second of three phases, with the third phase encompassing construction work. The state is mandating repairs at the reservoir. Only one of the gates at the reservoir is operational, and not operating that well.

The reservoir, located east of Fort Garland, is operated by the Trinchera Irrigation Company and supports the irrigation of several thousand acres of farmland in Costilla County as well as fishing and boating opportunities. The Colorado Parks & Wildlife operates a State Wildlife Area at the reservoir and stocks the reservoir with trout. Both local residents and tourists enjoy the recreational opportunities at Mountain Home.

The dam was built in the early 1900’s and is showing its age. Leakage at the gate is costing irrigators, and replacement of the dam gates would restore the reservoir’s capacity and benefit the farmers and ranchers who depend on a portion of their water supply from the reservoir.

Trinchera Irrigation Company Superintendent Wayne Schwab presented the request for local roundtable funds, which the roundtable approved on Tuesday. The funds would go towards engineering and design work to replace the dam gates. The irrigation company has chosen Engineering Analytics, Inc., out of Fort Collins to conduct the work. The firm has experience in dam rehab work.

The total for the design phase portion of the dam rehab project is $100,000, with the roundtable funding comprising $70,000 of that. The remainder is coming from the irrigation company and Trinchera Blanca Foundation…

The roundtable was also receptive to the projects around the Rio Grande State Wildlife Area. Roundtable members Karla Shriver and Heather Dutton abstained from voting, Shriver because she is a member of one of the ditches that will benefit from the work and Dutton because she oversees the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Program requesting the funding.

As with the Mountain Home Reservoir project, the Roundtable funds for the wildlife area project will primarily be used for design, survey and permitting work, for which the roundtable board approved $90,000 from the local basin account, to be matched from other sources to complete the $213,990 total.

This project will ultimately stabilize eroded stream banks, preserve riparian vegetation and habitat and replace old diversion infrastructures on the SLV Canal and Centennial Ditch…

In high flows , the stream could wash away a siphon the Colorado Parks & Wildlife maintains for wetland areas and possibly cut off water delivery to the Centennial Ditch, a senior water right provider for 22 stockholders and irrigating 8,500 acres.

As part of this project, the diversion structure for the Centennial Ditch would be improved…

Headgate repairs would also be incorporated into this project on the SLV Canal, also a senior water right provider, which serves 78 stockholders, irrigates more than 20,000 acres and borders the wildlife area.

Bachman explained that another smaller project upstream near Del Norte is included in this request and although it is not geographically adjacent to the wildlife area has similarities in that it will improve the river, and all three are “shovel ready,” so work could begin as soon as funding is in place. Bachman said that in addition to roundtable funding , this project would be supported by funds from Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Great Outdoors Colorado and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act Grant Program.

Is there a sustainable path forward for @DenverCityGov Parks to mitigate #ClimateChange and overuse?

Denver skyline, view is west from City Park. Photo credit The City of Denver.

Maybe. Click here to read the March 2017 Existing Conditions Report. Here’s an excerpt:

The Existing Conditions Report culminates the first phase of the 2017 Game Plan Update for Denver Parks and Recreation. Its purpose is to document the existing state of the system as a whole in order to uncover the key issues that the Game Plan will want to address.

Denver’s Park and Recreation system is incredibly diverse, spanning from the mountains to the prairie and encompassing more than 20,000 acres of parkland full of amenities and 27 recreation centers offering a wide range of programming. The analysis falls into three major categories: environment and climate, equity and access, and economic and organizational health. Key findings in each of the categories are summarized at right.

Understanding the current state of the system provides a launchpoint to envision the future of the Denver Parks and Recreation.

Here’s a report from Jon Murray writing for The Denver Post. Here’s an excerpt:

A new city report that’s part of a drive to set the course for Denver Parks and Recreation for the next 15 to 20 years says such adaptations must accelerate as the parks system contends with several emerging challenges. Chief among them are a rapidly growing population with changing expectations and health needs, climate changes that will impose new environmental stresses on the landscape, and limited budgets and resources that could strain all of those efforts.

Those findings are contained in an “Existing Conditions Report” unveiled by city parks officials Friday.