Trinidad Water Festival: Students celebrate ‘Aqua la Vida’ — #ColoradoSprings Military News Group

Photo credit: Trinidad Water Festival Facebook page.

From the Colorado Springs Military Newsgroup (Michelle Blake):

For the seventh year, Fort Carson staff supported the annual Trinidad, Colorado, Water Festival May 16, 2019, an event where students from kindergarten through 12th grade learn from local professionals about water conservation and the importance of water.

Event organizers said they believe investing in youth, education and the environment is a strong strategy for protecting and improving the natural environment. This year, more than 1,250 students from 14 different Las Animas County schools came to the Trinidad State Junior College campus to visit 40-50 presentations celebrating the theme “Aqua la Vida.”

Fort Carson staff provided four presentations. Jack Haflett, Directorate of Public Works (DPW) Environmental Division environmental protection specialist, used a colorful “Terminology Potpourri” poster to introduce the students to key concepts in pollution, mitigation and compliance and then encouraged them to practice soaking up mini oil spills with absorbent pads and beads.

A glass cylinder filled with cooking oil, a sports drink, isopropanol alcohol and syrup were used to demonstrate how different materials do not mix, and also how the properties of different substances determine which cleanup technique is implemented.

Students participated in the “Survey Says!” game with Craig Dengel, DPW Environmental Division Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site (PCMS) archaeologist, with the goal of identifying the seven key things that people require to survive (air, water, food, shelter, sleep, technology and family). The game was used to illustrate the historical settlement patterns of humans, which often coincide with proximity to reliable sources of water, such as oceans, rivers and lakes, and how water provides food and transportation opportunities.

DPW Environmental Division PCMS wildlife biologists highlighted some of the unique physical and behavioral adaptations that animals have developed in order to survive in a climate where water is a limiting resource. Students were able to examine a live bull snake to understand how the snake’s scales reduce water loss, reflect light and provide camouflage.

The biologists discussed the different ways that PCMS simultaneously supports the military mission and the environment through their Water for Wildlife Program, which uses solar powered wells and guzzlers. The presence of these reliable sources of water reduces the stress on individual animals, and helps offset the pressures from various training activities.

Finally, the students gathered around Directorate of Emergency Services PCMS Firefighter Kevin Filkins, Station 35, to learn how the Fire Department responds to wildland fires and implements prescribed burns to support a healthy, natural ecosystem. Filkins described the equipment that firefighters use on wildland fires, including water, personal protective gear and various hand tools.

Demand Management Feasibility Investigations within #Colorado — @DWR_CO

From email from the Colorado Department of Water Resources:

[Please find below] two documents relating to the investigation of demand management feasibility – both at the Upper Basin level and within Colorado. First, a statement from Director Mitchell on the path forward on demand management feasibility investigations within Colorado. Also, information regarding an upcoming workshop hosted by the Upper Colorado River Commission on the topic of demand management feasibility.

For more information on these topics email demandmanagement@state.co.us.

Demand Management Investigation: The Path Forward

Colorado water users, stakeholders, and interested parties:

Now that the Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) is finalized, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) is beginning its efforts to investigate the feasibility of a potential demand management program within Colorado.

The strong connection between Coloradans and our water has established a foundation of public input, deliberation, and participation in the decision-making process, which leads to informed and thorough policymaking. This is the model that informed the Colorado Water Plan, and it is this model that the CWCB will utilize to assess demand management: by Colorado, for Colorado.

At the March 2019 meeting, the Board of Directors of the CWCB approved the 2019 Work Plan for Intrastate Demand Management Feasibility Investigations. Below are highlights of the current and upcoming steps that the CWCB staff will be taking to implement the 2019 Work Plan, including opportunities for engagement, processes to inform the Board, and informational events. These elements are designed to ensure that the CWCB and all interested water users and stakeholders are fully informed of demand management concepts and challenges as they are identified. Through this process, the multitude of considerations demand management presents will be fully understood, to promote an informed and fully realized public policy discourse.

  • General Outreach: Staff will continue to work directly with interested water users and stakeholders to inform them of the process for investigating demand management feasibility within Colorado, and to solicit input on specific elements of potential implementation and solution identification. The direct interaction between staff and the various basin roundtables, policy boards, water users, and stakeholder groups is where the conversations begin. This will then lead to identification of considerations and development of potential solutions, which will be used to inform an evaluation of demand management.
  • Workgroups: Staff has begun to reach out to subject matter experts on various elements that must be considered for any potential demand management program within Colorado. The purpose of these workgroups is to help CWCB staff identify and frame the complex issues associated with demand management feasibility for public and Board consideration. In this capacity, workgroup members operate like “think tanks” to help CWCB staff prepare to conduct meaningful public discussion of the issues associated with demand management based on useful insight and understanding from experts in the field. Workgroup members have been selected for their subject matter expertise and willingness to work in assisting the State as it implements the public process to evaluate a potential demand management program.

    To respect the integrity of the workgroups, members are being asked to participate in a non-disclosure setting. This will allow the participants to brainstorm all sides of an issue, and to have open and frank discussions as they assist CWCB staff in framing demand management considerations for public discussion and evaluation. The decision-making process for consideration of demand management solutions and approaches for potential implementation will be achieved in public meetings and through the comment and input process established in the formulation of the Colorado Water Plan. The workgroups serve as the “think tank” for staff as they begin to develop an understanding of the full complement of considerations, issues, and challenges that demand management presents.

  • Transparency of Process – Demand management investigations and decision-making by the CWCB will be done through an open dialogue. Once the range and multitude of complex topics associated with demand management are identified and framed, they will be introduced in a process akin to the development of the Water Plan, including workshops, basin roundtable presentations, consideration of public comment, and the like. Additionally, the CWCB will be updated regularly in open session on the progress of the demand management investigation process, and provided with any staff recommendations as appropriate.

    Upcoming Demand Management Investigation Events

  • CWCB will be hosting an Orientation Webinar for members of the workgroups in July. This Orientation Webinar will be open to the public. The Webinar will provide an overview of the evolution of DCP and demand management, discuss the statewide perspective for analysis of demand management, and outline the timeline and process for the workgroups’ assistance in demand management issue identification. Information about the Webinar will be forthcoming as details are finalized.
  • The Upper Colorado River Commission will be hosting a Demand Management Stakeholder Workshop in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, June 21. The goal of this regional workshop is to provide a baseline understanding of the Colorado River DCP and discuss proposed next steps to examine the feasibility demand management in the Upper Basin. Additionally, Upper Basin State representatives will receive comment and input from interested water users and stakeholders on possible considerations in evaluating the feasibility of a successful demand management program throughout the Upper Basin. When the agenda is finalized, more information regarding the Workshop and registration will be posted on the CWCB website and circulated to interested parties.
  • CWCB staff will be scheduling public demand management workshops around the state, as outlined in the 2019 Work Plan. These workshops will be in addition to the usual array of roundtables, Interbasin Compact Committee, informational forums, and other water meetings in which staff participate to discuss and receive feedback on demand management. Staff hopes to schedule the first intrastate workshop in alignment with the summer conference of Colorado Water Congress.
  • The investigation of the feasibility of a potential Demand management program presents a challenge for the CWCB, water users, and stakeholders across Colorado. The Board and staff take this assessment very seriously, and are committed to providing an opportunity for everyone with an interest in Colorado River system sustainability to make their voices heard, while remaining true to the water values identified in the Colorado Water Plan. For more information, to provide comments, or to learn more about the 2019 Work Plan and demand management feasibility process, email demandmanagement@state.co.us or contact CWCB staff.

    DM Workshop Agenda

    #Snowpack News: Yes, we saw a lot of #snow this winter and spring. But there’s an important explanation for why #Colorado is at over 500 percent of its average snowpack — The Denver Post

    Statewide Basin High/Low graph June 3, 2019 via the NRCS.

    From The Denver Post (Chris Bianchi):

    We’ve made a big deal about these statistics, and snowpack is unquestionably far higher than where it normally is for the beginning of June. But, these numbers – while true, of course – might be a bit misleading and worth an extra note of clarification. On Friday, the Colorado Climate Center sent a series of tweets to help explain the significance behind some of the snowpack data figures that have garnered so much attention.

    So essentially, it’s the slow start to the melting season – fueled by cold late spring temperatures and, yes, some bouts of late May snow – that’s keeping Colorado’s snowpack so ridiculously high.

    Denver to host biggest water conference of its kind in June — News on TAP

    More than 12,000 people are expected to attend the international ACE19 meeting, focusing on ‘Innovating the Future of Water.’ The post Denver to host biggest water conference of its kind in June appeared first on News on TAP.

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    Denver Water employees to share knowledge and expertise with peers — News on TAP

    See what Denver Water experts will talk about when ACE19 rolls into town. The post Denver Water employees to share knowledge and expertise with peers appeared first on News on TAP.

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    #Runoff news: Some stream flooding possible as melt-out kicks in

    Statewide Basin High/Low graph June 3, 2019 via the NRCS.

    From the Sky-Hi Daily News (Kirk Mitchell):

    Forecasters are anywhere from concerned to alarmed about the potential for flooding in Colorado’s high country…

    The snow water equivalent, or SWE, of snowpack in the mountains peaked at 20.5 inches on April 15, but was still at about 16.5 inches on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder…

    “I wouldn’t say go out and get ready for a massive flood, but getting prepared is a good idea,” NWS meteorologist Natalie Sullivan said Friday. “These levels are definitely something to keep an eye on, but it is not overly alarming.”

    The SWE of 16.5 inches is more than three times higher than the normal for May 30, which is more typically 4.5 inches to 6 inches, according to the National Weather Service. The variations in normal levels are attributable to different areas of Colorado.

    2019 #COleg: Governor Polis signs HB19-1279 (Protect Public Health Firegfighter Safety Regulation #PFAS Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) and HB19-1264 (Conservation Easement Tax Credit Modifications)

    Widefield aquifer via the Colorado Water Institute.

    From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Marianne Goodland):

    At an Arvada fire station, Polis signed into law House Bill 1279, which bans certain kinds of foam used in firefighting training. Such foam contains so-called “forever chemicals” that have contaminated drinking water in El Paso County and elsewhere…

    The foam contaminated Fountain’s water supply, and it has since installed filters to deal with problem…

    HB 1279 bans Class B firefighting foams that contain “intentionally added” per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS. Such chemicals were used for decades at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs and have been found in the nearby Widefield aquifer, which serves Security, Widefield and Fountain.

    The foam was sprayed on the ground and used in a firefighting training area that was flushed into the Colorado Springs Utilities treatment system, which was ill-equipped to remove the chemicals. The effluent ended up in Fountain Creek, which feeds the Widefield aquifer.

    The Air Force since has replaced that foam with a new version that the military says is less toxic, though it still contains perfluorinated chemicals.

    Pond on the Garcia Ranch via Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust

    In Salida, Polis signed House Bill 1264, which is intended to resolve some of the long-standing problems with the state’s conservation easement program.

    Landowners say the Colorado Department of Revenue revoked tax credits awarded to those who entered into conservation easements with land trusts, with more than 800 credits revoked from the 4,000 granted in the program’s first 15 years.

    HB 1264 is intended to make the program more transparent, with a warning to landowners that easements are in perpetuity. The bill also requires the Division of Conservation Easements, within the Department of Regulatory Agencies, to set up a committee to determine how to repay those tax credits.

    The committee is to hold its first hearing June 25, an addition to the bill made by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling.

    Legislative leaders in both parties are to appoint the committee members, and lawmakers say they intend to include representatives for those who have been denied tax credits as well as other program critics.

    From The Ark Valley Voice (Jan Wondra):

    Colorado Governor Jared Polis chose the banks of the Arkansas River in Salida as the ideal location to sign an unprecedented nine bills into law on Monday morning, June 3. The location underscored both the importance of these bills to Colorado’s rural and recreation economies, as well as highlighting Colorado’s growing preference for collaboration to get things done…

    SB19-221 – CO Water Conservation Board Construction Fund Project

    This bill sponsored by Donovan and Roberts, is focused on the funding of Colorado water conservation board projects, and assigns an appropriation to protect those projects…

    SB19-186 – Expand Agricultural Chemical Management Program Protect Surface Water

    Another bill sponsored by Donovan, Catlin, Coram and including Rep. Jeni Arndt, seeks to protect Colorado surface water from contamination by the expansion of agriculture chemical management plans.