Joe Frank, 2018 Emerging Leader Award

Your Water Colorado Blog

On Friday May 11, Water Education Colorado will celebrate water education and water leadership at its annual President’s Reception. Each year, WEco honors the recent work of a Colorado professional with the Emerging Leader Award. This year, we’ll recognize Joe Frank with the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District.

Join us to celebrate with friends and colleagues and support water education. Learn more and register here.

Joe Frank, Anchoring the Lower South Platte

By Greg Hobbs

Joe Frank and his family prefer living in the wide-open plains of northeastern Colorado near Merino. A civil engineering graduate of the Colorado School of Mines, he’s been the General Manager of the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District since 2004. This district extends along the South Platte River west of Fort Morgan through Sterling and Julesburg to the Nebraska state line. “Previously, as a consulting engineer, I’d been working on Front Range…

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#Colorado counties qualify for @USDA disaster assistance

High Plains Drought Monitor March 27, 2018.

From The Kiowa County Press (Chris Sorensen):

The United States Department of Agriculture has declared four southern Colorado counties to be primary natural disaster areas due to losses and damages caused by ongoing drought conditions in the area.

This week, Bent, Custer, Huerfano and Prowers counties joined Baca and Las Animas Counties, which were declared earlier this month, in qualifying for assistance from the USDA. Adjoining counties, including Alamosa, Costilla, Fremont, Kiowa, and Saguache, also qualify for disaster assistance. Other counties adjoining the four new designees were already qualified in the previous declarations. Farmers and ranchers in Greeley, Hamilton and Stanton county, Kansas, are also eligible.

Qualified producers in the designated areas and adjoining counties can apply for emergency loans through the Farm Service Agency. Those who are eligible have eight months from the date of a declaration – March 29, 2018 – to apply for loans to cover part of their losses. Farmers and ranchers can contact their local USDA service center for additional information about the application process, or check

Aspinall Unit operations update: Gunnison Tunnel diverting for the season

Gunnison Tunnel via the National Park Service

From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

Releases from the Aspinall Unit have been increasing over the last couple weeks as diversions to the Gunnison Tunnel have begun. So far these release changes have kept the flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon around 630 cfs. Diversions into the Gunnison Tunnel are expected to increase again this week. This time releases from Crystal Dam will remain unchanged and Gunnison River flows will decrease accordingly. It is expected that river flows will decrease by 100-200 cfs this week. Currently snowpack in the Upper Gunnison Basin is at 72% of normal. The latest runoff volume forecast for Blue Mesa Reservoir projects 360,000 AF of inflow between April and July, which is 53% of average.

Flows in the lower Gunnison River are currently above the baseflow target of 890 cfs. River flows are expected to stay above the baseflow target for the foreseeable future.

Pursuant to the Aspinall Unit Operations Record of Decision (ROD), the baseflow target in the lower Gunnison River, as measured at the Whitewater gage, is 890 cfs for April and May.

Currently, diversions into the Gunnison Tunnel are 620 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon are around 630 cfs. By the end of the week Gunnison Tunnel diversions could be in the 700 to 800 cfs range and river flows could be in the 400 to 500 cfs range. Current flow information is obtained from provisional data that may undergo revision subsequent to review.

Study Session with Joe Burtard

Your Water Colorado Blog

Water Educator Network Member Feature – March 2018

Name: Joseph Burtard
 External Affairs Manager
Organization: Ute Water Conservancy District
Became a WEN member: March 2015
Watershed: Colorado River Basin
From: Carbondale, CO
Favorite River: Thompson Creek 
Our Favorite Quote:It takes a community to raise a child and that’s exactly what the water festival is doing. We are planting the seed and giving other water professionals a platform to expose these students to careers, water issues, water education, and more.”

Interview with Joe

What are the primary duties of your job? I’m the External Affairs Manager, so I do internal and external communication, media relations, public relations, educational programs, and outreach. I’m also responsible for the administration of our Board of Directors.

What’s your favorite aspect of your job? The diversity. I can come into work on any given day and have a general…

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No green thumb required! – News on TAP

Denver Water discount program makes creating your own vibrant, low-water landscape inexpensive and easy.

Source: No green thumb required! – News on TAP

2018 #COleg: HB 18-1301 would update the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Act, or CMLRA

Colorado abandoned mines

From The Durango Telegraph (Tracy Chamberlin):

In an effort to prevent the remnants of hard-rock mining from tainting the region’s waterways in the future, Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, along with co-sponsors Reps. Dylan Roberts, D-Eagle, and Jeni Arndt, D-Fort Collins, introduced HB 18-1301 last week.

Conservation groups, like San Juan Citizens Alliance and Conservation Colorado, lauded the bill’s introduction.

“It’s simple: our drinking water should be clean,” Kristin Green, water advocate for Conservation Colorado, said in a press release. “That’s why (this bill) is so critical. Our state’s mining laws are in dire need of an update.”

The bill is meant to be just that – an update to the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Act, or CMLRA. Under the act, mining companies are required to reclaim and clean up the land they mine, but those same protections don’t extend to water quality. This new bill, which only applies to new mining permits, would make water as much of a priority as land is under the CMLRA.

First, it would require water quality – including treatment and monitoring – be a part of the calculations used to determine how much funding in the form of bonds needs to be set aside for cleanup. The bill also eliminates self-bonding, which is when the bond is backed only by the mining company itself. The concern with self-bonding is if the company goes bankrupt, Colorado taxpayers would be stuck with the bill. Finally, HB 18-1301 requires mining companies submit a plan for water-quality treatment and set an end date for operations.

“These common-sense updates to existing policy would move Colorado toward a more sustainable and responsible mining future,” Marcel Gaztambide, Animas Riverkeeper for the San Juan Citizens Alliance, said in a press release.

The next step for the bill is review by the Colorado House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee on Mon., April 2.