Outdoor enthusiasts want access, land owners want property protection

Headwaters of the Arkansas River basin. Photo: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journlaism

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Robert Boczkiewic):

A 76-year-old fly fisherman who likes to fish near the small town alleges the owners of a nearby home resorted to violence, including firing a gun, to stop him and friends from using the fishing spot.

The lawsuit alleges that Mark Everett Warsewa, the property owner who allegedly fired the gun, contends the riverbed at that spot is his property. Records show he is an appraiser for Fremont County government.

The fisherman, Roger Hill, attached to his lawsuit a hand-written note, which he says Warsewa wrote in 2012, that says: “Guys There are 63 miles of Public Water on the Arkansas River, Use Them! There are no easements on the River in this section. I know, I work for the Fremont County Assessors’s Office, You can and will be charged with trespassing! I have your plate number. I’ll have Sheriff Jim Beicker run it.”

Hill wants a judge to declare the riverbed belongs to the state of Colorado “so he can again safely fish at his favorite fishing spot,” his lawsuit states.

Hill, of Colorado Springs, filed the lawsuit in February in U.S. District Court in Denver. He said he wades into the river from public land.

Linda Joseph is also a defendant. The lawsuit says she and Warsewa, 60, own the property and home nearest the fishing spot, where Texas Creek flows into the Arkansas.

The Spring Edition of the #Colorado Ag Water Alliance Newsletter is hot off the presses

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

Water Legislation

A set of bills deal with new uses for reclaimed water: domestic wastewater that has received secondary treatment by wastewater treatment works, as well as additional treatment needed to meet standards for approved uses. In the past, this water has been restricted to landscaping irrigation and some commercial and industrial uses. Separate bills expand this use to edible crops (HB18-1093), industrial hemp (SB18-038), and marijuana cultivation (HB18-1053).

The bills codify rules promulgated by the water quality control commission by creating three categories of water quality for reclaimed domestic wastewater and the allowable uses for each water quality standard category. The bills require the water quality control division to develop policy, guidance or best management practices for use of reclaimed domestic wastewater.

Only the bill expanding reclaimed water use to edible crops has been sent to the governor. The bills for industrial hemp and marijuana cultivation are still in the legislature.

Another bill, HB18-1199, pertains to aquifer storage-and-recovery plans. HB18-1199 authorizes a person to apply to the groundwater commission for approval of an aquifer storage-and-recovery plan and requires the commission to promulgate rules governing the application process and requirements for a plan.

This bill was signed by the governor.

One last significant piece of legislation was HB18-1151: Colorado Water Conservation Board Approve Deficit Irrigation Pilot Projects. Current laws allows the water conservation board to approve up to 15 pilot projects for agricultural water leasing or fallowing projects. The bill expands the types of projects to include deficit irrigation in water divisions 2 and 3 and within the boundaries of the Upper Gunnison Water Conservancy District. The bill also excludes the determination of historical consumptive use decreases in use resulting from deficit irrigation projects. The bill was set aside this year and may be brought up next legislative session.

Paper: #ClimateChange and #Drought: From Past to Future

West Drought Monitor August 23, 2016.

Click here to read the paper (Benjamin I. Cook, Justin S. Mankin, Kevin J. Anchukaitis). Here’s the abstract:


Drought is a complex and multivariate phenomenon influenced by diverse physical and biological processes. Such complexity precludes simplistic explanations of cause and effect, making investigations of climate change and drought a challenging task. Here, we review important recent advances in our understanding of drought dynamics, drawing from studies of paleo climate, the historical record, and model simulations of the past and future. Paleoclimate studies of drought variability over the last two millennia have progressed considerably through the development of new reconstructions and analyses combining reconstructions with process-based models. This work has generated new evidence for tropical Pacific forcing of megadroughts in Southwest North America, provided additional constraints for interpreting climate change projections in poorly characterized regions like East Africa, and demonstrated the exceptional magnitude of many modern era droughts. Development of high resolution proxy networks has lagged in many regions (e.g., South America, Africa),however, and quantitative comparisons between the paleoclimate record, models, and observations remain challenging. Fingerprints of anthropogenic climate change consistent with long-term warming projections have been identified for droughts in California, the Pacific Northwest, Western North America, and the Mediterranean. In other regions (e.g.,Southwest North America, Australia, Africa), however, the degree to which climate change has affected recent droughts is more uncertain. While climate change-forced declines in precipitation have been detected for the Mediterranean, in most regions, the climate change signal has manifested through warmer temperatures that have increased evaporative losses and reduced snowfall and snowpack levels, amplifying deficits in soil moisture and runoff despite uncertain precipitation changes. Over the next century, projections indicate that warming will increase drought risk and severity across much of the subtropics and mid-latitudes in both hemispheres, a consequence of regional precipitation declines and widespread warming. For many regions, however, the magnitude, robustness, and even direction of climate change-forced trends in drought depends on how drought is defined, with often large differences across indicators of precipitation, soil moisture, runoff,and vegetation health. Increasing confidence in climate change projections of drought and the associated impacts will likely depend on resolving uncertainties in processes that are currently poorly constrained (e.g., land-atmosphere interactions, terrestrial vegetation) and improved consideration of the role for human policies and management in ameliorating and adapting to changes in drought risk.

How traffic impacts today reduce headaches down the road – News on TAP

Two disruptive pipeline projects underscore the challenges of updating critical water infrastructure.

Source: How traffic impacts today reduce headaches down the road – News on TAP

All aboard the conservation trolley – News on TAP

Modes of transportation may have changed, but our water-saving message remains the same.

Source: All aboard the conservation trolley – News on TAP

A finely tuned machine: Denver Water’s Recycling Plant – News on TAP

With an eye on always improving, treatment plant changes are expected to save $600K annually in labor costs alone.

Source: A finely tuned machine: Denver Water’s Recycling Plant – News on TAP