From email from the Colorado Division of Water Resources (James Heath):
This is a notification that the Shoshone Power Plant is going down to one unit and their call will be released from the stream. The Shoshone Outage Protocol will not operate due to the target flow of 1250 cfs being insufficient to maintain flows in the Grand Valley to prevent a call from the irrigation water rights. Therefore, the call will be placed tomorrow morning at Cameo under a junior swing or bypass right.
Starting at 8:00 am on Thursday, July 30, 2020 the calling location will be the Grand Valley Canal (WDID 7200645), with the Con-Hoosier Tunnel water right (Admin Number 35927.00000).
Here’s the release from the Colorado Water Conservation Board:
The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) received a water court decree for an instream flow water right on Himes Creek, located in San Juan National Forest, to protect a rare population of Colorado River cutthroat trout. This lineage of trout is native to the San Juan River Basin and was previously thought to be extinct.
“This instream flow water right on Himes Creek is one of the most significant that the Colorado Water Conservation Board has appropriated in the program’s history,” said CWCB Stream and Lake Protection Section Chief Linda Bassi. “CWCB staff, along with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service, consulted with leading researchers and scientists for the past two years to develop a strategy to best protect this extremely rare and at-risk species.”
When this instream flow recommendation was initially brought to CWCB in 2017, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) was interested in protecting flows on Himes Creek to support a genetically pure population of Colorado River cutthroat trout. During data collection, genetic testing confirmed that the fish in Himes Creek have the same genetic markers as the San Juan lineage once thought to be extinct. Researchers estimate that the total number of San Juan lineage trout in all known populations is estimated to be as few as 1,000.
The CWCB approved the Himes Creek instream flow recommendation in March 2019, and the water court issued a decree for the Himes Creek instream flow water right on July 27, 2020.
“We are committed to working closely with the Boulder County community to ensure safety, be considerate neighbors and retain open, two-way communication channels during this construction project,” Jeff Martin, program manager for the Gross Reservoir Expansion Project, said in a recent statement…
At the same time, Denver Water has its own case with Boulder County, which initially denied the utility’s request to be exempt from a local review of its plan. A Boulder district judge ruled in December that Denver Water must go through the county’s review process. Denver Water has appealed that decision through the Colorado Court of Appeals and must file an opening brief by Aug. 4.
This means that ultimately county officials could have a say over approval of the expansion. Boulder County Deputy Attorney David Hughes said they have that power thanks to a series of Colorado statutes referred to as 1041 Regulations.
Boulder County could also request another hearing from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. But Hughes declined to say whether his office will do so.
After receiving that federal approval, Denver Water said it plans to finish the design phase of the expansion next year, followed by four years of construction.
“The FERC order is an important advance for the project,” a Denver Water spokesman said in an email to CPR News. “From here, related to legal matters, we’ll need to take some time to evaluate our options and the appropriate next steps.”
The sound of revving chain saws and crackling tree limbs filled Palisade’s Riverbend Park on Monday morning as Western Colorado Conservation Corps crews sawed through invasive Russian olive trees and ripped up tamarisk…
The work to restore the native habitat along the Colorado River in the park is thanks to a partnership between the Town of Palisade and RiversEdge West, which is working to remove the invasive species.
RiversEdge West is using a grant to fund the Conservation Corps work, which will continue for four days this week, moving east of the boat ramp. Costigan explained how the non-native plants harm the river ecosystem.
“They out-compete with the native plants, and they don’t let the native willows and cottonwoods grow how they’re supposed to,” Costigan said. “They also grow in so thick, it blocks wildlife from accessing the water. So there are a lot of reasons that we want to remove these invasive plants.”
Troy Ward, Palisade director of Parks, Recreation and Events, said the collaboration with RiversEdge began last year and is expected to continue for some time to fully restore the riverbank in Riverbend Park…
As part of its grant, Rivers- Edge West will also help Palisade plant native vegetation in the area.
It has already planted several cottonwood trees in the bank it had previously cleared. In addition to cottonwoods, Ward said it will plant willows and native grasses…
The town also has a new wood chipper it was able to purchase with grant funds, which will allow it to reuse the wood chips elsewhere in its parks. This will keep the town from having to dispose of the plant material in a less useful way, Ward said.
“Instead of us having to send this to the landfill or burn it, we can now chip it and then we can create mulch that we can use to augment some of our soils on the badlands, if you will, out in the disc golf area,” Ward said. “If citizens want some of this mulch, we can make it available to them as well.”
The CSU System is excited to announce Gary Knell, chairman of National Geographic Partners, as its keynote speaker for the 2020 Water in the West Symposium.
Prior to joining National Geographic in 2014, Mr. Knell served as president and CEO of National Public Radio (NPR), and CEO of Sesame Workshop. At the 2020 Symposium, Mr. Knell will share his perspective on the role of storytelling in connecting a broad range of water-related issues.
This year’s Symposium will be hosted virtually on Nov. 18-19 and will include dozens of diverse speakers focused on water issues and solutions. Additional details will be released in the coming months. Register today to reserve your spot.
Johnston County, North Carolina, saw just that when it lured Novo Nordisk to the area. The multinational pharmaceutical company revitalized the local economy by creating jobs and injecting new spending into the community. And in 2018, Alabama and its local governments offered more than US$800 million in incentives for the construction of a Toyota-Mazda plant outside of Huntsville. The plant is expected to bring $1.5 billion in new construction and 4,000 jobs to the region.
It’s only when incentives are strictly tied to job creation or job training that we found positive economic impacts. That means that locales that want to attract businesses with financial incentives would do well to focus on two things: job creation tax credits and job training grants.
Amazon, a prime example
Local governments that decide to help finance private businesses shouldn’t forget to keep an eye on their own fiscal health.
As Amazon searched for its HQ2 headquarters, local governments in Maryland put together incentive packages valued in the billions but with no clear plan to capture economic growth. The governments planned to receive income taxes on high employee wages, which would help defray the costs of the incentives. But the economic benefits from income taxes could take 15 to 20 years to materialize.
Amazon’s planned expansion into New York City fell flat after local opposition, led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, questioned the return in value to the community that the $3 billion tax incentives would have brought. Among the concerns were fears that HQ2 would drive up housing prices, increase traffic on public transportation and require increases in local taxes to cover the cost of the incentive.
Both Maryland and New York could have learned from our study that found incentives focused on job creation tax credits and job training grants work better than other types of incentives. These job-related incentives center on employing residents, either by helping businesses defray the cost of salaries or by funding on-the-job training programs for new employees. Both types of incentives transitioned people into better paying jobs and spurred growth.
These findings could prove essential as states respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We’re watching North Carolina, which has provided $6 million in training grants to help hire displaced workers by allowing businesses to recover the cost of training new employees during the pandemic. It will take at least a year before the impact of this program can be measured but our research suggests that their approach is on target.
Since the start of the outbreak, many state and municipal governments have expanded their incentive packages by adding new grants and loans for businesses to help cover operating expenses. In San Francisco, small businesses can apply for a 0% interest hardship loan of up to $50,000. Connecticut is offering loans of up to $75,000, or three months of operating expenses, to businesses impacted by the pandemic.
During the pandemic, the capacity of governments to afford financial incentives has emerged as a major concern. The recession has slashed state and local government coffers by reducing sales and income taxes they receive. Consequently, many governments have become fiscally unstable when demand for public services is at its highest.
Still, the U.S. Senate has refused to bail out state and local governments, further shrinking their abilities to kick-start their economies. Absent federal action, local governments would do well to focus economic development on incentives geared towards employment and training, which provide benefits to businesses and their communities.
Here’s the release from Colorado State University (Jayme DeLoss):
As COVID-19 cases start to climb again in Colorado, public health officials are seeking a scientific gauge to determine public policies and safety measures. Colorado State University researchers Susan De Long and Carol Wilusz will provide the indicator they need through a $520,000 project funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The CSU team will study a readily available source that will give them valuable insights into the infection rate of specific communities: human feces.
Sampling wastewater is a cost-effective way to test entire communities. By studying the wastewater of communities including Fort Collins, Denver, Boulder, Estes Park and Colorado Springs, the scientists and engineers can track trends in infection rates over time.
The proof is in the poop
Those infected with coronavirus often don’t exhibit symptoms for 10 to 14 days, and some remain asymptomatic. Regardless of their symptoms, or lack of symptoms, within two days, they start shedding the virus in their feces. Detecting the amount of virus in a community’s waste stream can warn of an impending outbreak four days to two weeks in advance.
“We believe this could be a promising supplemental tool for helping predict an outbreak in a community, possibly a couple of days before, so we can shift additional resources to that area,” said Nicole Rowan, clean water program manager with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
So far, 16 wastewater districts have signed on to the project, constituting up to 65 percent of the state’s population. The districts will take samples twice a week and send them to CSU. All of the testing will be done at CSU’s Molecular Quantification Core facility, with the ambitious goal of delivering data to the state in three days or less.
“It’s going to be a really important dataset for our community that will help make decisions regarding public health recommendations for distancing status and shutdown status,” said De Long, an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Wilusz, a professor and RNA biologist in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, pointed out how cost-effective this method will be, with tests costing only a few cents per person.
“We can test everyone in Fort Collins and it will cost pennies for each person,” she said.
In the lab at CSU, a technician will filter the samples to remove solids, concentrate the viral particles that are dilute in wastewater, and extract nucleic acids from the viral particles. COVID-19 is an RNA virus, so researchers will extract the RNA and use enzymes to make DNA copies of the target specific to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
“Isolating RNA from sewage is something I never thought I’d be doing,” Wilusz said. “I’ve learned a lot more about sewage than I probably ever needed to know.”
CSU had the specialized technology in place to perform this testing, thanks to purchase of a digital PCR machine in 2015 by the Office of the Vice President for Research and other CSU units, including the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
“The technology we are using – digital droplet PCR – is ideal for this particular application because it is resistant to the types of inhibitors found in wastewater,” Wilusz said.
Public health agencies across the state will provide current case data for the project. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will interpret all the data and convey what they’ve found to public health professionals working on the ongoing response.
The collaborative aims to make this information accessible with the help of Professor Mazdak Arabi, director of the One Water Solutions Institute at CSU. Arabi will create a GIS-based, interactive online map for displaying the data, incorporating socioeconomic insights to give deeper context to the results.
A grassroots effort
Wastewater epidemiology is not a novel concept. This method has been used to monitor polio and illegal drug use. In Colorado earlier this spring, some wastewater districts sent samples to an East Coast-based company for coronavirus testing, but it took several weeks to get results, negating any benefit from the data.
Jason Graham, Fort Collins director of plant operations, water reclamation and biosolids, instead contacted CSU to see if the testing and analysis could be done here. “My interest in bringing CSU in was to have a local partner, reduced costs and quicker turnaround time,” he said. “I always try to partner with CSU if possible.”
De Long saw an opportunity to expand the scope of the project beyond Fort Collins. If they were going to test local wastewater, why not also do this for the state? She reached out to Jim McQuarrie, director of strategy and innovation at Denver’s Metro Wastewater Reclamation District, and Liz Werth, laboratory support supervisor with Metro Wastewater, who already had organized a group of wastewater districts involved in COVID-19 testing. The CSU team was the solution to the high cost and long turnaround time that came with sending their samples out of state for analysis.
“This is the kind of thing we should be doing at CSU because we’re a land-grant university and we serve our community,” De Long said. Initially, she didn’t know whether she would be paid for the work or if she would be able to publish findings, but it didn’t matter.
“There’s a need here that we have the capacity to fill, we’re just going to do it,” she and her colleagues decided.
De Long and her colleagues put their summer plans on hold and got to work, thanks to $20,000 in seed funding from the Office of the Vice President for Research and donation of a $12,000 ultrafiltration device from Metro Wastewater Reclamation District.
De Long and Wilusz developed the protocol for this project with GT Molecular, a Fort Collins biotechnology company. GT Molecular will offer this testing service on their own to entities outside Colorado that are not covered by the project, and they are available to back up the CSU team, should the need arise.
Of the overall $520,000 contract, $490,000 will go to CSU. The rest will go to collaborator Metro State, which will support analyses and process some of the samples.
The light at the end of the sewage
Along with being a harbinger of rising COVID-19 cases, this detection method also will inform officials if there is a downward trend in infections.
“Not only is this an early warning signal for when things are getting worse, it’s a nice signal for when things are getting better,” De Long said.
Tracking the coronavirus pandemic could soon be a bit easier because of one simple fact: everyone poops.
Around the world , wastewater plants have become unlikely sentinels in the fight against the virus, allowing scientists to track the disease’s spread at the community level. The practice of testing sewage samples is spreading across Western U.S. states as well, with programs currently running in Utah, Nevada, Arizona and California.
Seeing success in large-scale wastewater testing, Colorado public health officials are finalizing the details of a program that will cover upwards of 65% of the state’s population and include more than a dozen utilities, two research universities and private biotech companies…
People infected with the virus shed it in their stool, often days before they start feeling sick, studies show . That is, if they develop symptoms at all…
Graham is one of the original partners in a statewide wastewater monitoring program that includes the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado State and Metro State Universities, and wastewater utilities in Fort Collins, Denver, Aurora, Colorado Springs and Estes Park, among others…
Because the Colorado program is still in the initial phases, it’s unclear how the collected data will be used. Officials in Utah and in Tempe, Arizona, have set up public dashboards where wastewater testing data is uploaded regularly. How it will inform decision-making at the state and local level is an open question…
Once Colorado’s program is officially up and running, tests for all the participating wastewater utilities will take place twice a week over the next year.