Planning for July 10 Drought Contingency Plan public briefing underway

Arizona Water News

Lake Mead bathtub ring Mark Henle Arizona Republic

Lake Mead and the infamous “bathtub ring” photo courtesy Mark Henle/Arizona Republic

The next step toward bringing a Drought Contingency Plan in Arizona to closure is scheduled for Tuesday, July 10, at the Heard Museum in central Phoenix.

Co-hosted once again by the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, the public meeting is set for 1-4 pm at the museum auditorium, located at 2301 N. Central Ave.

The first step in this process – which is expected to open the door for legislative authorization for the ADWR Director to sign the system-wide DCP – began with a three-hour briefing on June 28.

The briefing, as well as the renewed commitment to drought-contingency planning in Arizona, is spurred by the serious conditions facing the Colorado River system, especially the Lower Basin region and Lake Mead.

The risks of Lake Mead falling below critically low reservoir…

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Arizona Water Protection Fund Accepting Applications for Fiscal Year 2019 Grant Cycle

Arizona Water News

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                    

CONTACT: Sally Stewart Lee (602) 771-8530  sslee@azwater.gov 

water protection fund logo

PHOENIX- The Arizona Water Protection Fund (AWPF) supports projects that develop or implement on the ground measures that directly maintain, enhance and restore Arizona’s river and riparian resources.

The AWPF Commission is now accepting applications for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 AWPF grant cycle. The deadline to submit applications is September 7, 2018 at 3:00pm.  The AWPF Commission awards grants under three categories: capital projects, research and water conservation.  The grant cycle schedule, grant application manual, and electronic forms are available on the AWPF website at: www.azwpf.gov .

AWPF staff will be hosting one grant application workshop*:

Location Date Time Address
Phoenix, AZ

August 10, 2018

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Arizona Dept. of Water Resources

1110 W. Washington St. Suite 310

Phoenix, AZ  85007

Middle Verde Conference Room. 4th Floor

*Staff will also be hosting…

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#Wildfire update

Screen shot of the Inciweb Website (https://inciweb.nwcg.gov) July 6, 2018.

From The Canon City Daily Record:

The Quarry Fire that erupted Saturday night near Fremont Peak is 90 percent contained, according to fire officials.

In an update late Sunday afternoon, officials said 67 fire personnel are working the fire with one KMAX helicopter assigned to the incident.

The fire, which officials said was started by a lightning strike, is estimated to be at 8.5 acres.

Firefighters battled two fires in Fremont County on Saturday evening. The Twin Fire off of CR 3A near the former Buckskin Joes and the Royal Gorge Park was less than one acre and was fully contained Saturday night.

From The Summit Daily (Lance Maggart):

Grand County’s Sugarloaf Fire, located in a remote segment of US Forest Service land southwest of the town of Winter Park, continued its slow growth over the weekend.

As of Sunday afternoon the fire was listed at 1,270 acres on the interagency information management website InciWeb. Sunday’s burn area represents only a slight increase from early last week when federal officials were listing the fire at slightly less than 1,200 acres. Fire officials calculate the Sugarloaf Fire’s containment at 20 percent and are still listing Aug. 31 as the estimated containment date.

“With the existing weather conditions, the fire has slowed its spread, but it continues to creep and smolder, back down slopes with some single tree torching,” stated fire officials. “With fire behavior today, we expect the fire to continue to spread in the upper reaches of the Darling Creek drainage.”

Officials stated they expect increased fire behavior and fire growth if the Sugarloaf blaze crosses Darling Creek. Weather in the Fraser Valley was overcast with scattered rain showers Saturday afternoon but according to officials no moisture had fallen in the area of the fire as of Sunday.

All necessary work for structure protection, including homes in the area as well as Henderson Mill and Mine infrastructure, has been completed, according to federal reports.

From The Aspen Daily News (Madeleine Osberger):

The Lake Christine Fire, which has burned 5,916 acres outside Basalt, was 30 percent contained as of Sunday night, according to Keith Brink, chief of fire operations, during a public meeting at Basalt High School.

That will allow for the release of about 200 people over the next few days, who can then be routed to some of the other wildfires that are raging across the west.

“We’re making some good headway on this fire,” Brink shared with a crowd of more than 70 attendees on Sunday evening. However, he cautioned that heavy smoke on the hillside will still be visible for weeks and asked that people not call 911 to report the fire.

Mike Almas, incident commander of the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team, told the audience at the high school: “The fuels have burned out around those larger fuels that you see as candles out there.”

Brink confirmed that the fire had spread about 200 acres between Saturday and Sunday morning, but said the kind of containment progress made over the weekend was expected to continue.

From The Denver Post (Kieran Nicholson):

SPRING CREEK FIRE

The human-caused Spring Creek fire, which has burned more than 60,700 acres in Costilla County, has destroyed at least 104 homes, fire officials said Monday night. A 52-year-old man from Denmark, Jesper Joergensen, has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on June 27 about 9 miles northeast of Fort Garland. Joergensen is in the United States on an expired visa, according to an arrest warrant.

The fire has formed two distinct columns, fire officials said. The Rocky Mountain Incident Management team blue will manage the north column and the RMIM team black with manage the south column. U.S. Highway 160 remains closed in the area because of fire activity and Colorado 12 is also closed in the Cuchara Valley area.

On Monday, single-digit humidity, hot weather and winds prompted the National Weather Service to post a Red Flag Warning for “extreme fire behavior” in the area. Winds gusted to 30 mph and relative humidity dropped to 8 percent in some areas…

416 FIRE

“There are no remaining evacuation orders or pre-evacuation notices in place due to the 416 fire” as of late Monday afternoon, according to La Plata County officials.

The fire, which started on June 1 about 10 miles north of Durango, has burned about 51,000 acres and was 37 percent contained on Monday afternoon, fire officials said.

At 4 p.m. Monday, pre-evacuation notices were lifted for the Falls Creek and High Meadows subdivisions. The lifting of the notices affected 447 residences and five commercial structures…

HIGH CHATEAU FIRE

About 200 firefighters are battling the High Chateau fire, which has burned more than 1,300 acres about 7 miles northwest of Cripple Creek. The fire is burning through tall grass, ponderosa pine and mixed conifer, according to fire officials.

On Monday afternoon, the “fire behavior on the northeast portion of the fire increased and the fire spotted across High Meadows Drive,” according to firefighters. Single engine air tankers dropped multiple loads of fire retardant and helicopter drops were also carried out on Monday afternoon.

The fire has been moving north and east. There’s been no recent rain in the area and the fire’s size may continue to increase because of dry weather and fuel conditions. The active fire has been doing “short crown runs” and “group torching.” The blaze’s “resistance to control is high,” fire officials said. The fire started on June 29 and the cause is under investigation.

WESTON PASS FIRE

The fire grew to more than 6,400 acres Monday afternoon, fire officials said. The blaze, caused by a lightning strike, broke out on June 28 about 9 miles southwest of Fairplay. Firefighters expect the fire to grow as winds continue in the area. A containment date has been set for July 29. About 300 firefighters are battling the blaze.

CHEDSEY FIRE

A 5-acre fire was reported Monday in Jackson County, burning in Routt National Forest about 15 miles southwest of Walden. The Teal Lake campground was evacuated because of the fire, 80 firefighters are battling the blaze.

ADOBE FIRE

The 6-acre fire was reported Monday burning through timber about 6 miles west of Wetmore. Air support efforts on the fire included a lead plane, one heavy air tanker and two helicopters.

From The Farmington Daily Times:

Weekend storms that are expected to help douse some of the stubborn 416 Fire near Durango, Colorado, bring with them the possibility of flash floods in the fire zone.

The 416 fire area was put under a flash flood watch today by the National Weather Service in effect from this afternoon through this evening.

“Meteorologists are forecasting heavy rainfall over the burn area, which may lead to flash flooding and debris flows,” the fire team said. “Residents near this wildfire and along the Highway 550 corridor near Hermosa should prepare for potential flooding impacts. … The probability of rain increases through the weekend, with amounts ranging from .10 to .25 inches expected daily.”

[…]

Clearing the air

The fire has burned 54,129 acres and remains 45 percent contained as it keeps 383 personnel busy. The cost so far is $29.5 million.

The rains will be good news to local communities suffering from smoke pollution.

“As the amount of rain increases, it will penetrate the canopy, wetting fuels and making them less available to burn,” the team’s morning report said today. “Smoke impacts to surrounding communities should diminish rapidly as fuels become saturated.”

Crews are redeploying or removing equipment as needed, and some areas are still off-limits to the public.

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Kate Langford):

A lightning-sparked wildfire burning seven miles northeast of Nucla has grown to 500 acres and is at 10 percent containment, according to officials with the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests.

The Tabeguache Fire was first reported Friday night and grew to 155 acres on Saturday.

While firefighters were aided by rainfall over the weekend, the steep terrain and dry pinon-juniper and brush are a challenge for crews, said Spokesman John Abernathy.

Crews are currently focused on securing the south and west flanks of the fire, Abernathy said, because they border Bureau of Land Management and private lands.

From The Canon City Daily Record:

Fremont County officials are reporting that the Twin Fire near the Royal Gorge Park is now out and those firefighters are attending to the Quarry Fire.

The Quarry Fire is burning about 10 acres near Fremont Peak. According to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, the Eastridge Campground was evacuated as a precaution.

Busy summer on the High Line Canal corridor – News on TAP

Tree trimmers protect High Line’s greenway as botanists and volunteers study the canal’s wildlife and plants.

Source: Busy summer on the High Line Canal corridor – News on TAP

#ArkansasRiver: Voluntary Flow Management Program helps rafting industry and Gold Medal fishing

Browns Canyon via BrownsCanyon.org

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Tracy Harmon):

“The whitewater boating has been spectacular to date,” said Rob White, manager of the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area. “With the hot weather, (visitors can) cool off by enjoying a whitewater boating trip on the Arkansas River.”

White credits the cooperation between federal, state and local officials working with public and private water users to manage flows in the river.

“In such a dry year as this, it takes a lot of cooperation from a variety of water interests to ensure a great whitewater boating season,” White said. “We appreciate the fact that Pueblo Water moved some of its water from Clear Creek to Lake Pueblo in late June.

“In addition, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District has assured us that we will have 10,000-plus acre feet of water available for the Voluntary Flow Management Program this summer.”

The flow management program is used to buoy water flows of 700 cubic feet per second through Aug. 15, so rafters and kayakers can take advantage of summer boating opportunities.

“The additional flow management program water helps ensure great flows for rafting and kayaking through the hottest of the summer months,” White explained…

During the rest of the year, the flow management program is used to protect and enhance the fishery by boosting minimum flows to protect trout. As a result, the Arkansas River has been named a gold medal fishery because of its world-class brown and rainbow trout fishing opportunities.

#Drought news: Temperatures in the White River nearing danger level for cold water fish

Lake Avery. Photo credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

From Colorado Parks and Wildlife via The Rio Blanco Herald Times:

Due to low flows, dry conditions and extreme heat, water temperatures in the White River are nearing dangerous levels for cold-water fish. Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are encouraging anglers to fish in the early morning, when water temperatures are cooler and less stressful to fish.
To help mitigate current conditions, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is considering releasing water from Lake Avery to increase flow in the White River, and potentially lower river water temperature.

To answer questions and address concerns about the possible release, CPW invites the public to a roundtable session, 7 p.m., July 9 at Kilowatt Korner (White River Electric Association—WREA), 233 Sixth St., in Meeker, Colo.

“We’ve been here before, and we know what we need to do, “ said Bill de Vergie, Area Wildlife Manager from Meeker. “It’s important that ranchers, landowners, ditch users, fishing guides, anglers, and other members of the public attend our meeting so that we can work together to protect this important fishery.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials and the Colorado Water Conservation Board entered into a water lease agreement in 2012. The agreement allows the release of CPW’s water stored in Lake Avery to help meet the minimum instream flow on the White River of 200 cubic feet per second.

Anglers at Lake Avery will see declining water levels in the lake beginning when the release is initiated.

“When the flow from Lake Avery begins, we will ask users to avoid taking the additional water and instead leave it in the river to give fish a chance of surviving,” said de Vergie. “Everyone around here knows how important this river is to our economy, and we expect that people will comply to ensure the river continues to be a destination fishery.”