State and federal agencies find evidence of quagga mussel veligers in Green Mountain Reservoir

Here’s the release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (Lauren Truitt):

Monitoring finds Evidence of Quagga Mussel Larvae in Green Mountain Reservoir

State and federal officials have confirmed the presence of invasive quagga mussel larvae, known as veligers, in Green Mountain Reservoir located in Summit County along Hwy 9 between Silverthorne and Kremmling.

On Aug. 18, as part of a state and federal initiative to monitor aquatic nuisance species in the state, specialists with the Bureau of Reclamation first confirmed the presence of the veligers, initially through microscopic analysis followed by DNA testing. An independent laboratory contracted by Colorado Parks and Wildlife confirmed Reclamation’s findings. It is unknown if the veligers were dead or alive at the time of detection.

CPW immediately increased monitoring of the reservoir for all life stages of quagga mussels. Through a partnership with the Denver Aquarium, CPW’s volunteer ANS scientific scuba dive team surveyed the reservoir last Friday and did not find any evidence of invasive mussels. No adult zebra or quagga mussels have ever been found in Green Mountain Reservoir or anywhere in the state of Colorado, although eight different reservoirs in Colorado have been temporarily suspect or positive for mussel veligers since 2008.

“Although this is very troubling, it’s important to keep in mind that the reservoir is not considered infested, a designation given only to bodies of water that have extensive and reproducing adult populations,” said Elizabeth Brown, invasive species coordinator for CPW. “At this point, Green Mountain Reservoir is only considered ‘suspect,’ not positive. A body of water can be considered ‘positive’ only after a second independent specimen collection is obtained and the genetics confirmed by two independent laboratories, which has not yet occurred.”

Officials are most concerned about the possibility that the presence of veligers could eventually lead to a major infestation. This would put the reservoir’s hydroelectric power generation, water quality, drinking water delivery and recreation at risk.

“This is an unfortunate discovery, and something we have been working very hard to prevent,” said CPW Director Bob Broscheid. “It shows why we need a robust inspection program. As more and more people move to or visit Colorado and use our water resources for boating, we must continue to work hard to prevent the spread of these harmful invasive species. We cannot overstate how serious this is.”
All ballast boats, inboard and inboard/outboard engines must have a green seal in between launches or decontamination may take place prior to launching. Boaters are encouraged to inspect their own boat between every use and make sure it is clean, drained, and dry.

The State of Colorado requires boats to be professionally inspected if:

  • a boat has been in any body of water that is positive, or suspect for ANS
  • a boat has been in any body of water outside of Colorado
  • a boat will be entering any water body where inspections are required
  • Officials are unsure how the veligers entered the water but suspect a boat that visited an infested body of water in another state may have become contaminated, then launching illegally into Green Mountain Reservoir.

    “This situation demonstrates the importance of following the law and going through the required inspection and decontamination process upon entering and exiting bodies of water,” said Reid DeWalt, Assistant Director Wildlife and Natural Resources with CPW. “We could face the possibility of a very harmful infestation that could cause severe damage to the reservoir and its infrastructure.”

    The watercraft inspection and decontamination station at Green Mountain Reservoir is operated by the Heeney Marina and funded by a partnership between CPW and the U.S.Forest Service. The station has now begun implementing containment protocols which means that every boat has to be inspected when exiting the reservoir and will be issued a seal and blue receipt. If a boater leaving Green Mountain Reservoir intends to launch in a different water body, their boat must be decontaminated before launching by a certified professional.

    Cooperation with Colorado’s mandatory inspection and decontamination program has proven successful to stop the movement of harmful invasive species, such as quagga mussels, into new waters. Public awareness and participation is the best weapon in the prevention of invasive species. Invasive mussels severely endanger our water supply for drinking water, hydropower, agriculture, recreation and natural resources.

    “It is everyone’s responsibility to take care of our natural resources,” said Karn Stiegelmeier, Summit County Commissioner. “This news is certainly difficult to hear with the amount of effort and diligence we have put into the ANS program on the reservoir. We will continue working alongside our partners to make sure we educate residents and visitors of the importance of decontamination of boats before and after they are on a body of water. This can be prevented, but we need everyone’s participation.”

    Boaters are reminded to take the simple precaution of making sure that they clean, drain, and dry their boat every time they go boating. Due to financial constraints the state does not have additional inspectors that can be sent to assist with boat inspections at Green Mountain. Going into a holiday weekend state and federal officials are asking for the public’s help to prevent invasive species.

    “We know this is an extra step for those who have come out to enjoy recreating on the lake, but staying vigilant has proven to be effective throughout Colorado,” said JT Romatzke, NW Region Manager with CPW. “We need to make sure we are balancing our recreation with the integrity of our water resources.”

    For more information about zebra and quagga mussels, please visit: http://cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/ISP-ANS.aspx.

    Grand Junction: Friday, September 15th Annual Water Seminar (#CRDseminar): “Points Of No Return”

    Click here for the inside skinny and to register.

    Taking teachers back to (water) school – News on TAP

    Denver-area teachers get a first-hand look at the ins and outs of their water system, with a little help from Ben Franklin.

    Source: Taking teachers back to (water) school – News on TAP

    The Western Governors Association (@WestGov) 2017 Annual Report is hot off the presses

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

    It’s with great pleasure that I share with you the Western Governors’ Association Annual Report. I’m pleased with the many accomplishments we’ve shared together and am especially gratified by the steadfast commitment of my colleagues and our many partners to relentlessly pursue pragmatic and bipartisan policy through our work together. Although we approach our challenges from various locations on the political spectrum, as citizens of the West, we continue to find that we are more closely tied by our similarities than our differences.

    While there are, no doubt, many shared experiences and perspectives that allow us to communicate and to compromise across our divides, it is often our landscapes and our western work ethic that together serve as our foundation for tackling some of our region’s and our nation’s most pressing challenges. When I assumed the chair of WGA, I launched the National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative to put to work some of our shared strengths in service of our western landscapes and their dire need for restoration. Today our wild re seasons are longer, more expensive, and present increasing risks to the public and fire ghters. Our forests and rangelands face unprecedented threats from insects, disease and invasive species. At risk is our quality of life, our clean air and water, and the fabric of many of our local western economies.

    Through the initiative, we’ve convened hundreds of partners through four Western Governor-led workshops, webinars, and other outreach to identify innovative best practices and highlight solutions. Across the West the message we heard was clear: we are making progress and bucking the trends by dedicating ourselves to collaboration and partnership. (Learn more about the Initiative in this Annual Report.)

    Western Governors’ bipartisan policy efforts in the past year also included:

    • Cross-cutting policy reform efforts aimed at strengthening the state and federal relationship, garnering the support for shared principles for state engagement in federal policy development with associations such as the Conference of Western Attorneys General, Council of State Governments West, Western Interstate Region of the National Association of Counties, and the Paci c NorthWest Economic Region.
    • Direct outreach to engage the new administration on emerging priorities through our annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Joining me were Governors Kate Brown, Doug Burgum, Dennis Daugaard, Mary Fallin, Gary Herbert, John Hickenlooper, David Ige, Matt Mead, Butch Otter, Brian Sandoval and Bill Walker.
    • Significant stakeholder engagement to identify and re ne a series of policy proposals to adopt best practices in species management and improve the ef ciency of the Endangered Species Act through year two of the Western Governors’ Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative, launched in 2015 by then WGA Chairman, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead.

    And those are just a few of the many accomplishments championed by Western Governors over the past year. It’s been an honor to support our efforts, and I thank my fellow Western Governors and the WGA staff for their support.

    Steve Bullock, Montana Governor

    @ColoradoStateU continues innovation in agriculture at AgInnovation Summit 2.0

    Here’s the release from Colorado State University (Jason Kosovski):

    The College of Agricultural Sciences will host a summit at Colorado State University to discuss how innovation in the industry can lead to a global impact in the way that populations farm, feed, eat and grow crops.

    Local industry leaders will be present at the event to spark the conversation surrounding best practices and future goals for how agriculture can continue to support the growing population, while best utilizing resources. AgInnovation Summit 2.0: Innovate Locally. Impact Globally. is a two-day conference being held Sept. 6-7 and is the second summit of its kind hosted by the college.

    Tom Vilsack, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will deliver the opening keynote of the event

    Vilsack to deliver keynote

    Tom Vilsack, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will deliver the opening keynote of the event. Vilsack now serves as CEO and president of the U.S. Dairy Export Council and as part of the CSU System as strategic adviser of Food and Water Initiatives at the National Western Center. The summit will feature other industry and university leaders, including Archer Daniels Midland President and CEO Juan Luciano, Mars Inc. Chief Agriculture Officer Howard-Yana Shapiro, and Kroger Co. Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer Chris Hjelm.

    Thought leaders and innovators

    “This year’s summit will convene thought leaders and innovators in the agricultural industry, government and higher education,” said Ajay Menon, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. “Without question, agricultural technology and business models are poised to enhance food systems; ensure that food is safe, secure, and available; and improve resource stewardship through new, sustainable practices. Gathering this group together cultivates the significant opportunity to grow the innovation ecosystem in Colorado and make this state a global leader at the intersection of business entrepreneurship and agricultural invention.”

    Menon will join the conversation to discuss how Colorado State is encouraging the process of agriculture through education, awareness and action within the university. Topics to be discussed at panels and roundtables include: What’s Next in the Agriculture Supply Chain; Human Capital – Crossing the Generational Divide; and Financing the Future of Ag Innovation in Colorado.

    Vilsack’s keynote address, titled “The Pillars of Food Policy,” aims to inspire a student-led movement in food and agriculture. Luciano’s address will detail his company’s evolution into one of the world’s largest food ingredient providers. Hjelm will discuss how information is transforming the retail landscape and consumer experience. CSU President Tony Frank will share his vision for the National Western Center as a both a global destination for agricultural heritage and innovation and a catalyst for statewide prosperity.

    Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown

    The first day of the conference will conclude with a roundtable dinner event, with an introduction by Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown, where all guests will engage in response to the challenge of making Colorado a global nexus of agricultural innovation.

    Sponsors for this year’s summit include CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences, the CSU Vice President for Research, Colorado Livestock Association and CH2M. The 2015 summit featured Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, and former U.S. Secretary of Transportation, former U.S. Secretary of Energy and former Denver Mayor Federico Peña.

    Register to attend

    For more information on the summit or to register to attend, visit the Summit website.

    Colorado schools score @EPA grant for water studies program

    Graphic via LinkedIn Slide Share.

    From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Debbie Kelley):

    Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy in Colorado Springs School District 11 is one of five middle schools in Colorado selected to participate in a new environmental education program focused on the importance of water.

    The program is being funded by a $132,400 grant the National Space Science & Technology Institute received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    Participating schools have high percentages of students in demographics under-represented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) higher education programs and career fields.

    Other schools involved include Cortez Middle School in Cortez, Lake County Middle School in Leadville, Lamar Middle School in Lamar and Ortega Middle School in Alamosa.

    The project will feature hands-on research on community concerns, with educational material selected in collaboration with science teachers.

    To support the project, NSSTI will deploy its mobile STEM laboratory, the Mobile Earth & Space Observatory, to each school for Water Week, to expose students to scientific investigation associated with water concerns.

    Westminster councillors approve water storage tank project

    An artist drawing provided by the City of Westminster showing the proposed location of two new, and larger, water tanks on Gregory Hill. The new tanks would move roughly 220 feet northeast of where they currently sit. Graphic credit the City of Westminster via The Westminster Window.

    From The Westminster Window (Scott Taylor):

    Westminster City Councilors voted 7-0 to approve a replacement project for the two water tanks atop Gregory Hill at their Aug. 14 meeting, criticizing city officials for not notifying neighbors of the work sooner.

    Westminster Utilities Engineering Manager Stephen Grooters said he expected the city would issue a notice allowing the work to proceed in early September, with construction beginning mid-month. He expects the project will be entirely finished by April 2019.

    The two existing tanks, each holding about two million gallons of water, are due to be replaced. The easternmost tank, at about 82nd and Osceola Street, came online in 1954; its neighbor to the west in 1960. The entire complex would move about 200 feet to the northeast, effectively moving from the dead-end at Osceola Street to the dead-end at Newton Street.

    The new tanks would be larger — each would hold about one million gallons of water more and would be nearly twice as tall as the existing tanks. In addition, the city is building a small pumping station to the east to help fill the tanks.

    The tanks are key to city efforts to improve or maintain water pressure in zone three, Grooters said. That’s the area roughly between 80th and 104th and Federal Boulevard east to U.S. 36 and Grooters told councilors the tanks connect that area with the Semper Water Treatment facility.

    “What we are trying to say here is that water flows downhill so when we put the tanks at the right elevation, the water can freely go where it needs to go to serve our customers,” Grooters said.

    The zone three project is budgeted for about $40 million overall, he said. The Gregory Hill portion accounts for about $15 million of that. PCL Construction of Denver was the winning bidder on the work, coming in at $14.5 million — $12.5 million for the work plus a $2 million contingency.

    Councilors said the project was important, even necessary but said neighbors should have been notified sooner. Neighbors of the proposed work were notified about the project at a June 21 meeting.