Gary Bostrom leaves a water legacy — @CSUtilities

Southern Delivery System construction celebration August 19, 2011 via The Pueblo Chieftain

From Colorado Springs Utilities (Jerry Forte):

Earlier this week, our community lost a great visionary and leader. While many may not think twice about getting a glass of water from the tap, taking a shower or watering their lawns, Gary Bostrom was always planning ahead to ensure our community had the water needed to grow and thrive. It’s thanks to people like Gary that our customers don’t have to think about their water.

Gary retired from Colorado Springs Utilities as the Chief Water Services Officer in 2015 after 36 years of service on most all facets of the water system, from Homestake to Southern Delivery. His career spanned a variety of leadership roles from water supply acquisition, water and wastewater infrastructure planning and engineering, and developing regional partnerships.

Earlier this year, Gary received the Bob Appel Friend of the Arkansas Award at the Arkansas River Water Basin Forum. The award is given annually to honor an individual who has served and worked to improve the condition of the Arkansas River in southeastern Colorado. It was a well-deserved recognition.

A few of Gary’s career highlights include:

  • The design, development and negotiations for the completion of the Southern Delivery System
  • The development of the Arkansas River Exchange Program
  • The completion and implementation the 1996 Water Resource Plan
  • The establishment of the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District
  • The development of the Fountain Creek Corridor Master Plan
  • The development of Colorado Springs’ Arkansas River Exchange Program
  • Gary’s career was more than getting water to our community. He also believed in using water wisely. Under his direction, our 2008 Water Conservation Master Plan and 2015 Water Use Efficiency Plan incorporated measures that accumulate a permanent, water use reduction in our community of more than 10,000 acre feet by 2030. That’s a savings of more than 3 billion gallons of water!

    Throughout his career, Gary was actively involved in a number of water organizations.

  • Director of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District
  • Past President of the Fountain Valley Authority
  • Past director of the Aurora-Colorado Springs Joint Water Authority
  • Member of the Homestake Steering Committee
  • Past President of the Twin Lakes Reservoir and Canal Company, the Lake Meredith Reservoir Company and the Lake Henry Reservoir Company
  • He was a true water champion for our community and region. Thanks in part to Gary’s vision and direction, Colorado Springs has a secure water supply and is a leader in water reuse in the state.

    He was brilliant as an engineer and perhaps even better at building relationships and collaborating with others – even staying involved in regional water organizations after retirement.

    He was a dear friend and will be missed.

    From The Pueblo Chieftain:

    A key figure in development of the $825 million Southern Delivery System, died unexpectedly on Monday while bicycling near his home in Colorado Springs. Cause of death has not been determined.

    Gary Bostrom, 60, was the retired water services chief for Colorado Springs Utilities and shepherded SDS from its inception in the 1996 Colorado Springs Water Plan toward its eventual completion in 2016. Along the way, he fostered cooperation with Security, Fountain and Pueblo West as partners in SDS, while working to assure a clean drinking water supply for the future of Colorado Springs. He retired in 2015, but remained active in water issues. Bostrom joined the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District board of directors in 2009 and was vice president of the board.

    “This is a great loss for the water community,” said Bill Long, president of the Southeastern board. “Gary’s knowledge about water, and his hard work to help achieve common goals will be sorely missed.”Former Chieftain editor and reporter Chris Woodka, who went to work for the Southeastern district last year, agreed.

    “I met Gary about 27 years ago, and we were what I would call ‘friendly adversaries’ for many of those years,” Woodka said. “Over the years, our relationship evolved into a true friendship. He was always positive and truthful even when I’d ask him tough questions while I was a reporter. As a board member, he was top-notch, and I enjoyed getting to know him better. He was a wonderful individual to spend time with.”

    Officials in Colorado Springs, including Mayor John Suthers, Utilities CEO Jerry Forte and former City Council members expressed their shock and sadness at Bostrom’s death.

    Bostrom was active in the community as well and was a member of the Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation Advisory board. He is survived by his wife, Sara, four children and three grandchildren. Services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at Village Seven Presbyterian Church, 4040 Nonchalant Circle South, Colorado Springs.

    From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Ellie Mulder):

    Gary Bostrom, one of the driving forces behind Colorado Springs’ $825 million Southern Delivery System, died Monday while cycling on a trail along Monument Creek.

    Bostrom, 60, had worked for Colorado Springs Utilities for nearly two-thirds of his life before retiring in 2015.

    “He was just a prince of a man,” said John Fredell, former SDS program director who worked with Bostrom for many years. “All of us wish we were more like Gary Bostrom.”

    Bostrom’s body was found shortly before 7 p.m. along a section of the trail near North Nevada Avenue and Austin Bluffs Parkway, said police Sgt. James Sokolik. The cause of death has not been determined, but police do not suspect foul play.

    “We all wanted and expected another 30 years with Gary,” said former city Councilwoman Margaret Radford.

    She said she got to know him soon after she was elected in 2001, and they stayed in touch after she left the council in 2009.

    “Gary was always one who could find the good in anyone … and bring out more good, if that makes any sense,” she said.

    Bostrom worked at Utilities for 36 years before retiring two years ago, Mayor John Suthers said in a post about Bostrom on his Facebook page.

    “Gary spent his career making sure that our community had good, clean water and plenty of it,” Fredell said. “You can’t find many people who have done that for their community, and spent their careers doing it.”

    On April 26, the Utilities engineer was given the “Bob Appel – Friend of Arkansas” award at the Arkansas River Water Basin Forum.

    The SDS, a massive series of pipelines that funnels up to 50 million gallons a day of Arkansas River water to Colorado Springs, Fountain, Security and Pueblo West, began serving customers in 2016.

    Decades of planning went into the project, which is made up of 50 miles of 66- and 90-inch-diameter pipelines, including a 1-mile tunnel under Interstate 25, Fountain Creek and railroad tracks.

    Bostrom helped ensure the project was finished on time and under budget, Fredell said.

    “(Bostrom) was instrumental in getting the permit in place and moving the Southern Delivery System forward,” said Larry Small, executive director of the Fountain Creek Watershed, Flood Control and Greenway District.

    “As far as water resources, there just wasn’t anybody better,” said Small, a former city councilman and vice mayor. “I don’t know of one person who knew Gary who would say one bad thing about him.”

    Radford said she’s still grateful for what Bostrom taught her about “how valuable our utilities system – and in particular, our water system – is.” She said it altered her perspective and influenced her work as a councilwoman.

    @USDA: Crop and livestock net income could be $63.4 billion in 2017

    Photo credit: Bob Berwyn

    From KUNC (Luke Runyon):

    The latest figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture expect farmers to bring in more money this year than initially projected. Crop and livestock producers could net $63.4 billion in 2017. That would be an increase of nearly $1 billion from 2016, and would be the first time farmers see a rise in net farm income year-to-year since 2013.

    Low commodity crop prices have caused the farm income number to slip for years, leaving some analysts to wonder when the income figures would hit bottom. This year’s projection shows at least a stabilization, if not a full rebound…

    Many commodity crop farmers are still staring down low prices and hoping merely to break even during the 2017 growing season. Still, [Todd Kuethe] says these new projections should tamp down some fears of a farm economy collapse…

    The slight boost in the projection primarily comes from livestock producers, who are enjoying the low prices for the crops they use as feed.

    The August 2017 projections are still subject to change, Kuethe says. Final net farm income figures for the year won’t be available until midway through 2018.

    “Our biggest challenge is #climatechange and what a warming climate does to the environment” — Jim Lochhead #ActOnClimate

    In February 2014, Jim Lochhead (left) stood with James Eklund, Colorado Water Conservation Board director, and Karen Stiegelmeier, Summit County Commissioner, to celebrate the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement.

    From The Denver Business Journal (Cathy Proctor):

    “The Denver metro area wouldn’t be here but for those with the vision of being able to provide a secure, safe, healthy water supply to its people — it’s a responsibility that we take pretty seriously here as an organization,” Lochhead said.

    And he worries about how the West’s codified system of legacy water rights — where the oldest rights are the strongest — is not flexible enough to deal with a changing climate.

    “Our biggest challenge is climate change and what a warming climate does to the environment,” Lochhead said.

    “One way to think about it is that the climate, and everything affected by it, is moving north. If you — pick a number — look 20 years, 30, 40 years into the future, the Denver climate may look more like Pueblo. In 100 years it may look more like the climate in Albuquerque today,” he said.

    Such a change has dramatic impacts on the weather — and the water that comes with it.

    Colorado’s water supply depends on a healthy mountain [snowpack] — with the winter’s cold holding the water in deep storage until the spring runoff. But weather changes could change snow patterns. It may rain more, or less. Higher temperatures could mean more water lost to evaporation. The trees, bushes and environment that dominate mountain valleys now may be different in the future.

    “Yet we have a water right allocation system that is based on the notion that the future will look like the past,” Lochhead said.

    “In 1890, a farmer in the South Platte River basin said, ‘I need this much water’ to irrigate the crops that he had at the time, based on the technology at the time, which was open ditches, and that water right still sits there today — yet everything under the water right is changing and shifting,” he said.

    Caring for the environment surrounding the water also is crucial to long-term water quality and supply, especially for Denver Water’s network of streams, dams and pipelines supply span the Continental Divide.

    “We have a responsibility for environmental stewardship in how we operate at Denver Water,” Lochhead said.

    “If we mess up the river, what does that do for our future customers? We just destroyed our future water supply. So it’s our responsiblity to maintain the water quality and the enviroment, because the river, the environment, is part of our infrastructure.”

    #California bond issue to include $280 million for the #SaltonSea #ColoradoRiver #COriver

    Southern Pacific passenger train crosses to Salton Sea, August 1906. Photo via USBR.

    From The Desert Sun (Ian James):

    Two bills, AB18 and SB5, both include the funding for projects at the Salton Sea, where state officials are working on the initial stages of a 10-year plan that remains largely unfunded.

    “The bills are now being merged and there’s one more vote to be taken,” Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, told The Desert Sun. “There is a commitment of both the Assembly and the Senate to fully fund the management plan.”

    The funding for the Salton Sea is part of a larger bond measure, which could end up totaling nearly $4 billion and would also free up money for water projects, climate-related projects, coastal protection and parks.

    The bond measure is being finalized near the end of the legislative session, which closes on Sept. 15…

    In March, California’s Natural Resources Agency released a $383 million plan to control dust and to build thousands of acres of wetlands around the lake’s retreating shorelines over the next 10 years. Only $80.5 million has been approved so far…

    The state’s 10-year plan calls for building a total of 29,800 acres of ponds, wetlands and other dust-suppression projects.

    People in communities around the lake already suffer from high asthma rates, and the problem is likely to get much worse in the coming years as growing expanses of dry lakebed send bigger clouds of fine dust into the air.

    If state agencies fully follow through on the plan, the projects built with the bond money would cover up less than half of the more than 60,000 acres of dry lakebed projected to be left exposed over the next 10 years…

    the lake has been shrinking for years as the amounts of water flowing into it have decreased. Rising temperatures are increasing the strains on the overallocated Colorado River, contributing to the factors pushing the lake toward a drier future.

    The lake, which has no outlet and is already saltier than the ocean, has been getting progressively saltier and regularly gives off a stench resembling rotten eggs. The remaining fish appear to be disappearing and bird populations have been crashing.

    The Salton Sea is about to start shrinking more rapidly next year under the nation’s biggest farmland-to-city water transfer deal, which is sending increasing amounts of water away from the Imperial Valley to urban areas in San Diego County and the Coachella Valley.

    The 2003 agreement called for the Imperial Irrigation District to send “mitigation water” from its canals into the sea through 2017 — a period intended to give state agencies time to prepare for dealing with the effects. At the end of this year, that flow of water will be cut off and the lake’s shorelines will retreat more rapidly.

    Over the next 30 years, the sea is projected to shrink by a third.

    Agreement conveys @CWCB_DNR funded equipment to Pagosa Springs

    The dome greenhouse gleams in the Sun at the center of the park. To the right is a new restroom and on the far left is the Community Garden. Along the walk way is a small paved amphitheater like space for presentations and entertainment. Photo credit The Pagosa Springs Journal.

    From The Pagosa Springs Sun (Marshall Dunham):

    The Pagosa Springs Town Council voted to enter into an operating agreement with the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership (GGP) regarding Centennial Park during its regular meeting on Thursday, Aug. 17.

    The agreement states that structures in place at Centennial Park that were funded by various grants will be owned by the town…

    [At a recent meeting of the Town Council, Greg Schulte] talked of a grant that was awarded by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DoLA) to the town.

    “As a virtue of receiving that grant, the things that were paid for by that grant become town property,” explained Schulte. “On the same token, the GGP received a CWCB (Colorado Water Conservation Board) grant and essentially, as the recipient of those funds, the things that were purchased with that become property of the GGP.”

    Continued Schulte, “In a very, sort of, general sense, the CWCB money was paying for the stuff that was below the ground, we paid for most of the stuff above the ground.”

    Schulte went on to explain that, in a conversation with GGP board of directors, the question was posed of whether the GGP really cares if the town was in possession of underground pipes or not, with the GGP responding that they didn’t mind.

    “So, basically this operating agreement does detail how we operate together, but it’s going to move forward on the premise that, essentially, the GGP is going to convey to the town their interest in the infrastructure that was paid for by the CWCB,” explained Schulte. “So, essentially, what this means is that … the town does have a land lease with the GGP for a significant period of time along with the geothermal water … the infrastructure becomes part of the overall land lease.”

    Schulte added that the town doesn’t anticipate one day owning the domes or foundations on the property.

    “What we’re intending to do is to move forward with the premise that the DoLA money and the structure funded by the CWCB will essentially be owned by the town going forward,” said Schulte.