Three were instrumental in breaking a 40-year deadlock to secure water for a permanent fish and wildlife conservation pool in John Martin Reservoir

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission honored three water engineers for their work to secure water for a permanent fish and wildlife conservation pool in John Martin Reservoir. Celebrating, from left, are Dan Prenzlow, CPW Southeast Region manager, Steve Witte, Arkansas River Basin division engineer, CPW Director Bob Broscheid shaking hands with recently retired State Engineer Dick Wolfe, Bill Tyner, deputy Arkansas River Basin engineer, and Brett Ackerman, deputy manager CPW Southeast Region. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife / Bill Vogrin.

Here’s the release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife:

Three state water engineers who were instrumental in breaking a 40-year deadlock between Colorado and Kansas to secure water for a permanent fish and wildlife conservation pool in John Martin Reservoir were honored Thursday by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission at its meeting here.

For their “outstanding support of Colorado’s wildlife,” CPW Director Bob Broscheid praised recently retired State Engineer Dick Wolfe, Steve Witte, Arkansas River Basin division engineer, and Bill Tyner, deputy Arkansas River Basin engineer.

The three, working with CPW Southeast Region Manager Dan Prenzlow and Deputy Region Manager Brett Ackerman, negotiated the breakthrough agreement that resulted in a new source of water flowing into John Martin, beginning in June, to help stabilize the permanent pool.

“This is a very big deal,” Broscheid said as Wolfe, Witte and Tyner were presented with wildlife statues in appreciation of their work.

The water for the permanent pool was approved on a one-year agreement between Colorado and Kansas, the two states whose citizens are the primary recreational users of the reservoir. If extended beyond the first year, it would have a significant beneficial impact on fishing and boating in drought years when the reservoir can run dry, killing fish and destroying habitat and recreational opportunities at John Martin Reservoir State Park and adjacent State Wildlife Area.

The improved maintenance of the permanent pool was made possible in May when the Arkansas River Compact Administration passed a historic resolution allowing CPW to run water in the Highland Ditch on the Purgatoire River in Bent County into John Martin Reservoir. Stipulations in the temporary agreement state that 6,000 acre-feet of water may be delivered during specific time periods, and with consideration of transit losses.

If the water flow goes as planned, CPW hopes to renew the agreement for 2018 and work to make it a permanent agreement.

The water agreement is the culmination of long negotiations between a variety of agencies including CPW, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the Lower Arkansas Water Management Association and the Attorney General’s office, and brought to fruition through extensive collaboration between the state engineers of Colorado and Kansas.

“CPW has tried unsuccessfully for the past 40 years to get a new source of water approved by the Compact Administration,” Broscheid said. “That multimillion-dollar fishery has constantly been in flux and at risk. This will preserve that valuable fishery and recreational facilities at John Martin Reservoir State Park and State Wildlife Area.”

Broscheid said there are significant benefits to the new agreement, including:

  • Reducing the hundreds of thousands of dollars CPW has spent leasing Colorado River water.
  • Lowering the risk of fish loss, saving CPW approximately $165,000 annually in restocking costs when the fishery is damaged.
  • Improving the economies in surrounding communities by as much as $825,000 a year when the fishery is healthy.
  • Wolfe retired in June after a 24-year career with the Colorado Division of Water Resources including the last 10 as director and state engineer.

    “This was a group effort,” Wolfe said, noting the intense involvement of Prenzlow and Ackerman and the important roles they played in elevating the issue as a priority and seeing it through the recent three-year negotiations.

    “It’s been a long time in the making,” Wolfe said. “And it shows the importance of fostering good relationships between state agencies and how cooperation between the various agencies solved a complex water administrative system issue.”

    John Martin Reservoir back in the day

    @ColoradoStateU Dept. of Atmospheric Science celebrates State Climatologist Nolan Doesken’s retirement

    Professor Emeritus and former State Climatologist Tom McKee, left, shared memories dating back to 1977, the year Nolan started working at CSU as Assistant State Climatologist.

    Here’s the release from Colorado State University:

    Former department members and National Weather Service employees joined the department and Colorado Climate Center today to celebrate Nolan Doesken’s 40 years of service to CSU, 11 of those as Colorado’s State Climatologist. Department Head Jeff Collett recognized Nolan for his dedication and passion for climatology, and guests shared memories of everything from recording the coldest day in Colorado to Nolan’s basketball prowess.

    Nolan’s impact as State Climatologist was lauded on local, state and national levels. The American Association of State Climatologists wrote a letter of thanks to Nolan that was read by Becky Bolinger. Taryn Finnessey from the Colorado Water Conservation Board read a letter from Gov. John Hickenlooper, thanking Nolan for his service and expertise in helping to craft a leading drought mitigation plan. Climate Center staff, who applauded Nolan for being a wonderful boss, presented him with a home weather station, and a representative of the National Weather Service gave him a snow measuring stick.

    Nolan thanked Professor Emeritus and former State Climatologist Tom McKee and others who were not in attendance for hiring him for the position of Assistant State Climatologist, even though, he claimed, he was “not qualified.” Nolan said the job description called for five years of mountain meteorology experience, and he had about 19 days experience in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Though his love for weather may have started in his home state of Illinois, Nolan has made a name for himself and deep connections in Colorado, where he has long been known as the state’s top authority on weather and climate.

    We thank you for your service and wish you the best in retirement, Nolan!

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    NGWA Seeks Volunteers To Review Water Well Construction Standard

    Typical water well


    The National Ground Water Association is seeking volunteers to assist in reviewing and updating the ANSI/NGWA-01-14 Water Well Construction Standard, which was last approved in 2014. This process is being initiated according to the American National Standards Institute’s requirement that all standards be routinely revised, reaffirmed, or withdrawn to ensure content remains relevant.

    The Water Well Construction Standard is a performance standard encompassing municipal, residential, agricultural, monitoring, and industrial water production wells. Sections include well site selection; casing and casing installation; screens, filter pack, and formation stabilizer; grouting; plumbness and alignment; well development; testing for performance; data recording; disinfection with chlorine; water sampling and analysis; and permanent well and test-hole decommissioning.

    Volunteers will assist NGWA’s Standard Development Oversight Task Group by reviewing the entire standard using NGWA’s standard development process briefly outlined below:

  • Review each section of the standard to determine if revisions are necessary
  • Revise sections requiring further consideration
  • Publish the revised standard for public review and comment
  • Respond to and resolve all public comments
  • Vote to approve the revised standard
  • Submit the standard to ANSI for review and action once consensus has been achieved (i.e., affirmative votes from the Standard Development Oversight Task Group, all comments responded to and resolved, no outstanding negative votes with comment).
  • Throughout the process, NGWA’s Standard Development Oversight Task Group will include representation from three interest categories: contractors—those who complete the physical groundwater work, manufacturers/suppliers—those who make the equipment to install the materials to retrieve the groundwater or provide the contractors with this equipment or these materials, and other—those who have a demonstrable material interest in the standard that do not identify with the other interest categories listed. The group will be composed to achieve a balance of interests, without dominance from any specific interest category, individual, or organization.

    The group is specifically seeking those identifying with the manufacturer/supplier and other interest categories to help with this process. Membership with NGWA or any other organization is not required to participate.

    The Standard Development Oversight Task Group will meet via conference calls and an in-person meeting scheduled during NGWA’s 2017 Groundwater Week in Nashville, Tennessee.

    Adiós Nolan Doesken, good luck in retirement

    From The Fort Collins Coloradoan (Kevin Duggan):

    Nolan Doesken, the state climatologist since 2006 and the assistant state climatologist for many years before that, is retiring. He plans to scale back his workload to about quarter time starting with Colorado State University’s fall semester.

    That means he might not be traveling as much to the Eastern Plains to talk to farmers about what they can expect from their crops this year or to the Western Slope to talk about the implications of the snowpack.

    He may be less available to news organizations across the state that need historical context for stories about floods, droughts tornadoes, blizzards, heat waves, cold snaps, and so on.

    During his 40 years at the Colorado Climate Center in CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science, Nolan established himself as a researcher and record keeper but also as something of a celebrity, in a low-key and good humored way.

    He could connect with anyone. He was adept at community engagement and outreach before they became buzz words.

    My first contact with Nolan was in 1990, when I was an intern at the Denver Post. The editors had me doing some weather story.

    I don’t remember the story but I remember calling Nolan and chatting him up. He was gracious and patient in explaining weather in terms I — and therefore the general public — could understand.

    Six years later, I moved to Fort Collins to work for the Coloradoan. I spoke to Nolan regularly for weather stories, although his interest wasn’t so much in forecasting what the high temperature would be the next day but rather long-range trends and outlooks.

    Fort Collins, Spring Creek flood July 28, 1997

    The aftermath of the 1997 flood in Fort Collins brought us together a lot. We both wanted to understand and explain what happened that night.

    For Nolan, that led to the start of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network, or CoCoRaHS, which has volunteers record and report daily precipitation amounts and significant weather events.

    The program has grown from its roots in Fort Collins to every state in the country and into Canada and the Bahamas. It has more than 20,000 volunteers.

    I’m pretty sure I wrote the first story about CoCoRaHS. Nolan had organized a volunteer recruiting event and I agreed to cover it.

    A retirement party at CSU’s Foothills Campus on Wednesday was well attended by colleagues from the university and the National Weather Service. But there were also representatives from the city of Fort Collins, water districts and regional ditch companies who knew and appreciated Nolan for his work and personality.

    Stories were shared, including a misadventure to Maybell, Colorado, in February 1985 to verify a measurement of minus-61 degrees F, the all-time minimum temperature recorded in the state. The story involved someone (not Nolan) sitting on and breaking a thermometer.

    Nolan, a native of rural central Illinois, recalled how he felt unqualified to take the assistant state climatologist job in 1977. He knew little about Colorado agriculture and he lacked the five years of experience in mountain weather required in the job description. He had about 19 days.

    But it worked out. And Colorado and the Climate Center have been better for it.

    Nolan received cards and gifts from friends, including an automated weather station and a sword-like instrument for measuring snow depths.

    From the Coloradoan, he received an umbrella decorated with images from the Sunday comics page.

    I knew he didn’t have an umbrella. Why would he? We don’t use umbrellas much in Colorado because it hardly ever rains, right?

    But if you ever want to know exactly how much it rains here and why, you need only ask Nolan Doesken. He’ll be pleased to tell you.

    What’s really in your water? – News on TAP

    Startling social media stories often mislead and take data out of context. Here’s what you can do to stay informed.

    Source: What’s really in your water? – News on TAP