#Snowpack news: Better up North, thin down South.

Click on a thumbnail graphic to view a gallery of snowpack data from the NRCS.

And here’s the Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map from the NRCS.

Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map November 13, 2017 via the NRCS.

Brush councillors receive update on stormwater improvements

From The Fort Morgan Times (Paul Albani-Burgio):

Storm water flooding has been a long-standing problem in Brush, but City Manager Monty Torres recently told the city council that the city has made significant strides towards addressing that problem in recent years.

During a presentation made to the council at its most recent meeting, Torres explained that the city is nearly finished with a five-phase downtown storm water improvement project. During that project, large inlets were installed on the downtown blocks, along with a 60-inch drainage pipe that is double the size of the old pipe.

Torres said each of those phases cost $1 million-plus. Grants from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and the Colorado Department of Transportation covered the majority of those costs, according to the city manager…

Torres said the city has also made improvements to its storm inlets, which are designed to take in water during storms. Most of those improvements took the form of open-throated gates, which Torres said are designed to continue to take in storm water even if leaves and other debris build up around the grate’s opening. Torres said the previous grates the city had in place would often get clogged with newspapers, leaves and other debris during storms.

Torres said that some new inlets have been installed at strategic points throughout the city in order to prevent flooding during the majority of the city’s storms. He said the inlets would quickly take care of the water produced by 90 percent of the city’s storms. Torres said that there would be another 5 percent of storms where the water would sit in the street for only a short time before being drained away.

That left the most severe 5 percent of storms, which Torres said would still likely lead to flooding…

The city manager said Brush also has more flooding projects on the horizon, including one intended to reduce flooding on Williams Street and another that would reduce flooding at the city’s golf course, which would also help to reduce flooding on Cambridge Street near the course. However, Torres said the latter project would be contingent on the city receiving additional funds to go through with paving the course’s parking lot from the J/N Foundation, its partner on that project.

Torres said the city will also continue to look at adding additional inlets throughout Brush. However, he cautioned that the city does not have the funds to put in an inlet “whenever someone finds puddle of water.” Rather, those inlets will continue to be installed in strategic locations to help reduce flooding throughout the city.

Trustees reject consultant recommendation about Meeker Water Supply Improvements Project

Yampa/White/Green/North Platte river basins via the Colorado Geological Survey

From The Rio Blanco Herald-Times (Niki Turner):

In an unprecedented move, the board voted against the bid award recommendations for the Meeker Water Supply Improvements Project from contracted civil engineer Olsson Associates. Olsson recommended awarding RNA Enterprises of Glenwood Springs for $340,948 and Ridge Electric of Grand Junction for $150,603 as the lowest bidders. Several trustees expressed concerns over the recommendation, as there was more than $100,000 difference between the low bid and the next highest bid, and the bid was not itemized.

Wyatt Popp of Olsson cautioned the board that the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) grant funding received from the town would be at risk if the board chose to go with a higher bid. State statutes for DOLA funds require awarding the lowest bid as long as the bidders are responsive and qualified.

“Deviating from the process at this point in time is not recommended,” Popp said. Refusing to accept the recommendation risks losing approximately $300,000 in DOLA grant funds…

Town Attorney Melody Massih asked if there is a way to re-bid the project. Popp said that would require additional discussion with DOLA.

@AmericanRivers: Don’t let energy companies weaken clean water protections at hydropower dams

The generator building of Glen Canyon hydro power plant in Arizona via Wikimedia.

From American Rivers:

The hydropower industry is pushing a flurry of legislation that would create massive environmental exemptions for hydropower dam operations, taking us back to a time when dam owners could destroy rivers without concern.

If passed, the voices of local communities and people like you would be silenced when it comes to dam operations. We could see more dead fish, more dried up rivers, and degraded water quality on rivers and streams nationwide.

Under the guise of “modernizing” hydropower, these bills actually take hydropower dam operations back decades. They create giant loopholes for hydropower dam operators, so they can avoid requirements to protect fish, wildlife, or water quality. This is about whether states, tribes and citizens will continue to have a say in how dams are operated. It’s about the future of rivers nationwide.

This legislation could result in many more dried up rivers, dead fish and wildlife, and destroyed recreational opportunities. Tell Congress to oppose this power grab by the energy companies.

Click here to take action.