Fort Lewis College launches the Four Corners Water Center — The Durango Herald @FLCwater

Swim class on the San Juan River. Photo: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

From The Durango Herald (Mary Shinn):

Group to focus on San Juan and Dolores watersheds

The new Four Corners Water Resource Center at Fort Lewis College aims to help educate professionals and bring the community together to make good water management decisions, Director Gigi Richard said.

“(Water) is a problem that is not going to go away as the population grows, as the climate warms, as we place greater demands on our existing systems and our infrastructure ages,” she said.

Richard co-founded the water center at Colorado Mesa University and is launching a similar center at FLC that will focus on the Dolores and San Juan river watersheds.

“We have called it the Four Corners Water Center because we don’t want to stop at the state line; the rivers don’t stop at the state line,” she said.

The center expects to educate students, convene community discussions and create an online data hub collected on the Dolores and San Juan river watersheds, she said.

Richard hopes to help highlight FLC water research and connect students with water-related classes, projects, research opportunities, internships and careers, she said. Fifteen FLC faculty are involved in water-focused research…

Richard also plans to assess the college’s water-related courses over the next year and determine how the school could expand its water-related curriculum. The school could offer minors, majors or certificates related to water studies…

The center also plans to create an online hub for data on the San Juan and Dolores river watersheds, such as native fish, sediment and channel morphology. She would like some of the data to be made into graphs that could be accessible to decision-makers, she said.

The center also hopes to convene forums that could promote education and discussion, Richard said.

For example, on Sept. 13, the center will host a forum called “Burned, Buried and Flooded: Water Resources Excitement in Southwest Colorado.” Panelists will discuss water topics including how the 416 Fire may affect the watershed, reservoirs and avalanches.

The center expects to work with many of the groups already working on water issues in the region such as Mountain Studies Institute and the Water Information Program.

Aspinall unit operations update: Flows in the Gunnison Tunnel ~= 1030 CFS

Grand opening of the Gunnison Tunnel in Colorado 1909. Photo credit USBR.

From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

Releases from the Aspinall Unit will be increased by 100 cfs, today, September 9th. Reservoir contents at Morrow Pt and Crystal have sufficiently recovered to allow for higher releases. Flows in the lower Gunnison River are currently above the baseflow target of 1050 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 1050 cfs for September through December.

Currently, diversions into the Gunnison Tunnel are 1030 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon are around 500 cfs. After this release change Gunnison Tunnel diversions will still be 1030 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon will be around 600 cfs. Current flow information is obtained from provisional data that may undergo revision subsequent to review.

@USBR advances water delivery project for Navajo and Jicarilla Apache Nations #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Survey work begins for the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project on the Navajo Nation. Photo credit: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation via The High Country News

Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Justyn Liff, Marc Milller):

The Bureau of Reclamation invites members of the press and public to a meeting to continue negotiations with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority. The purpose of these negotiations is to agree to terms for an operations, maintenance and replacement contract for the federally-owned Cutter Lateral features of the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, located near Bloomfield, New Mexico.

This operations, maintenance and replacement contract for Cutter Lateral will facilitate water delivery to the Navajo and Jicarilla Apache Nations. The negotiations and subsequent contract provide the legal mechanism for delivery of the Navajo Nation’s Settlement Water in the state of New Mexico. WHAT: Public meeting to negotiate the Cutter Lateral operations, maintenance and replacement contract.

WHEN: Friday, September 13, 2019, at 9:00 a.m. at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, Walter F. Wolf Conference Room 2nd Floor GM Suite, Indian Navajo Route 12, Fort Defiance, AZ 86504

WHY: The contract to be negotiated will provide terms and conditions for the operation, maintenance and replacement of specific project features. All negotiations are open to the public as observers and the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and offer comments pertaining to the contract during a thirty-minute comment period following the negotiation session.

The proposed contract and other pertinent documents will be available at the negotiation meeting. They can also be obtained on our website at: http://www.usbr.gov/uc/wcao/index.html, under Current Focus or by contacting Marc Miller at 185 Suttle Street, Suite 2, Durango, Colorado, 81303, 970-385-6541, mbmiller@usbr.gov.

#Wyoming Governor Gordon’s Big Game Migration Corridor Advisory Group Issues Recommendations

Pronghorn running. Photo credit: USFWS

Here’s the release from Governor Gordon’s office:

Members of Governor Gordon’s Big Game Migration Corridor Advisory Group issued a range of recommendations to the Governor. Among them is a call for the Governor to issue an Executive Order (EO) to create a state-directed program that would codify policies that balance conservation with multiple-use opportunities.

“I want to thank members of the advisory committee for their efforts,” Governor Gordon said. “They accepted the challenge of working collaboratively to identify potential solutions that would both conserve our wildlife and support our economy through multiple uses of public lands. This is what we do in Wyoming. I look forward to reviewing the recommendations and receiving feedback about them.”

The core aim of the recommendations is to have all types of development outside of corridors as a first priority. Inside corridors, the goal is to ensure the continued functionality and health of the corridors as well as the big game herds that use them.

The advisory group also recommended the EO include:

  • Changes to the process for officially designating a corridor
  • The development of local working groups for designated corridors
  • Direction to actively engage landowners prior to designation
  • A law change that would require commercial-electrical generation solar and wind power projects be reviewed by the Industrial Siting Council to ensure they do not impact the functionality of corridors.
  • The group included representatives from the oil and gas, mining and agriculture sectors, as well as conservation, recreation and sportsmen groups, and a county commissioner.

    A complete list of the group’s recommendations can be found here: https://sites.google.com/view/wywildlifemigrationadvisorygrp/home

    A webinar to review the complete list of recommendations will take place at 11 am on September 12. To register for the webinar, visit https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ErZtr8uLSzawtJGCIusVag

    Famed tunnel under Continental Divide brings water — and the juice — News on TAP

    Denver Water embarks on major upgrades to the Roberts Tunnel hydroelectric plant. The post Famed tunnel under Continental Divide brings water — and the juice… 6 more words

    via Famed tunnel under Continental Divide brings water — and the juice — News on TAP

    High Country Conservation Center: @BradUdall to discuss the future of the #ColoradoRiver, September 18, 2019 #COriver #aridification

    Senior water and climate research scientist at Colorado State University and one of the authors of the National Climate Assessment. Photo credit: Colorado State University Water Institute

    From The Summit Daily:

    Colorado State University research scientist Brad Udall will discuss the future of the Colorado River in a changing climate from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, at the Frisco Adventure Park Day Lodge, 621 Recreation Way.

    This event is free and is hosted by the High Country Conservation Center. There will be snacks, nonalcoholic beverages and a cash bar.

    #ColoradoSprings is exploring solutions to blue-green algae blooms

    Mechanism of operation of the SolarBee system. Graphic credit: Environmental Science & Engineering

    From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Liz Henderson):

    Warmer temperatures and higher nutrient levels in the water have led to more blue-green algae blooms, which are harmful to humans and potentially deadly to pets, said Erik Rodriguez a Health, Safety and Environmental specialist with the city. The daily temperature record in Colorado Springs has already been broken five times this year.

    While the city struggles to find a fix, other Colorado towns have used environmentally-friendly machinery that helps aerate the water. Better circulation gives algae less chance to accumulate.

    In the Green Ridge Glade Reservoir in Loveland, sit five SolarBee units — solar powered machines that float in the middle of the lake. They keep the water in the reservoir moving, disrupting the stagnant environment that blue-green algae likes, said SolarBee regional manager Dave Summerfield. Each unit costs about $40,000.

    Since the units were installed two years ago, the 150-acre drinking water reservoir has been free of algae.

    In the past, the popular method among water treatment agencies was to dump algicides such as copper sulfate into the water. But the solution wasn’t sustainable, said Summerfield.

    The bacteria would slowly adapt to the sulfate, forcing maintenance to use more and more of it, racking up costs and dangerous toxin levels…

    Rodriguez pointed out that several Colorado Springs lakes already have aeration features in them. Monument Valley Park ponds have a few aerators — devices that create small air bubbles to push the water around. Mary Kyer Park has a fountain in the middle that helps with circulation, he said.

    Cyanobacteria, which causes the blue-green algae, thrives off nutrients in the water, specifically nitrogen and phosphorous. Nitrogen and phosphorous get into water in runoff from agriculture, fossil fuels, fertilizers, yard and pet waste, even soaps and detergents. The city’s recent warm weather and heavy thunderstorms haven’t helped, Rodriguez said.