Navajo Dam operations update: Releases to bump down to 500 cfs October 4, 2021 #SanJuanRiver #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

View to the south into the snaking West Fork of the San Juan River as seen from US 160, halfway up to the summit of Wolf Creek Pass. By User:Erikvoss, CC BY-SA 3.0,

From email from Reclamation (Susan Novak Behery):

In response to increasing flows in the critical habitat reach, the Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled a decrease in the release from Navajo Dam from 700 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 500 cfs today, October 4th, at 12:00 PM. During this change, the Auxilary 4×4 release will be closed and all flow will be through the power plant.

Releases are made for the authorized purposes of the Navajo Unit, and to attempt to maintain a target base flow through the endangered fish critical habitat reach of the San Juan River (Farmington to Lake Powell).

The San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program recommends a target base flow of between 500 cfs and 1,000 cfs through the critical habitat area. The target base flow is calculated as the weekly average of gaged flows throughout the critical habitat area from Farmington to Lake Powell.

#Parker Water & Sanitation District and Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District announce pioneering water partnership #SouthPlatteRiver

The South Platte River Basin is shaded in yellow. Source: Tom Cech, One World One Water Center, Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Here’s the release from the two entities (Deirdre Mueller):

Parker Water & Sanitation District (PWSD) and the
project to use a new water right that the two entities own along the South Platte River near Sterling, Colo. The announcement kicks off a unique collaboration between a Colorado conservancy district and a municipal water provider.

Known as the Platte Valley Water Partnership, the project will make use of new and existing infrastructure to store and transport water for agricultural use in northeastern Colorado and municipal use along the Front Range. The project will increase the renewable water supply for PWSD’s existing and expanding customer base while preserving and supporting agricultural uses in the South Platte River Basin. This renewable water supply is predominately available during spring runoff and major storm events, and would otherwise leave Colorado.

LSPWCD General Manager Joe Frank said of the agreement, “It’s critical for our community to avoid the buy-and-dry issues that have become commonplace. By working together with Parker Water & Sanitation District on an agreement that meets both of our needs, we’ve found a solution that addresses both agricultural and municipal water shortages without further drying up irrigated agriculture.”

“We look forward to working together with Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District,” said PWSD District Manager Ron Redd. “We’ve been guided by the principles laid out in the Colorado Water Plan; by opening up a dialog we discovered we had many shared values and were able to create a regional solution that benefits us all.”

More information about the Platte Valley Water Partnership and the project agreement can be found at

From The Sterling Journal-Advocate (Jeff Rice):

According to Thursday’s announcement, the project will make use of new and existing infrastructure to store and transport water for agricultural use in northeastern Colorado and municipal use along the Front Range…

The partnership involves the phased development of the water right. The early phases would involve a pipeline from Prewitt Reservoir in Logan and Washington counties to Parker Reservoir, which supplies the City of Parker. Later developments would see a 4,000 acre-foot reservoir near Iliff on land owned by Parker, and a 72,000 acre-foot reservoir near Fremont Butte north of Akron. A pipeline, pump stations, and treatment facility will also be built as part of the project,

The LSPWCD and PWSD have been in talks with each other and with landowners for several years. Lower South Platte general manager Joe Frank publicly briefed his board of directors in December 2019 about progress on the project and negotiations have been ongoing since then.

The project will be used to capture excess water that would otherwise leave Colorado, primarily during spring runoff and storms. Colorado and Nebraska have an interstate compact that requires a certain amount of water to leave the state for downriver users, but in some cases millions of gallons of water in excess of that escape across the state line.

Frank said Thursday the Platte Valley Water Partnership is a win-win for urban and rural water users…

Forecasts show water supplies will not keep pace with demand by 2050 for agricultural (Ag) or municipal and industrial (M & I) needs if Colorado does not find new approaches. Source: 2019 Analysis and Technical Update to the Colorado Water Plan.

PWSD District Manager Ron Redd said the project is in line with Colorado’s Water Plan, a 2015 document that provides guidelines for providing an adequate water supply for the state’s growth through 2050.

#Loveland whitewater park won’t be built with state tourism dollars — The #Greeley Tribune

Colorado and Southern depot back in the day via

From The Greeley Tribune (Ken Amundson and Paul Hughes):

The city of Loveland has withdrawn from a state economic-development award process that it hoped to tap to help build a whitewater amusement park and hotel.

The move came Sept. 24; an announcement was made [October 2, 2021].

It puts plans for the state-supported whitewater park in limbo, but the park is only mostly dead and could be resurrected in another form, a city spokesperson said. The withdrawal means the park won’t be built with tourism money from the state…

Kelly Jones, city economic development director, said the city would be talking with local developer Martin Lind, who was among the parties first involved with the regional tourism effort that could have built projects in Windsor, Loveland and Estes Park…

The park’s costs were estimated at $200 million with $12 million coming from state grants.

“We’re not able to show ‘substantial progress’” to this point on the project, said Bruno, assistant to the city manager. The state deadline for evidence of progress would have been Nov. 12…

Three developers had responded to a new request for proposals from the city, and Loveland said in September it wanted to finish reviewing their proposals by early this month.

The three were Stand Rock Partners in Madison, Wisconsin, which developed the Wisconsin Dells Wilderness Hotel and Golf Resort; Johnson Consulting Services in Minneapolis, with, its website said, $4 billion worth of project experience; and Lind’s Water Valley Co. in Windsor, which has built projects in Weld and Larimer counties.

A finalist had been selected, and City Council review of a proposal or a development agreement was scheduled for Oct. 19. But the city decided it couldn’t meet the state EDC’s definition of substantial progress and it withdrew.

#LaJunta market grower optimistic despite challenges facing agriculture — The La Junta Tribune-Democrat

Flood irrigation — photo via the CSU Water Center

From The Ag Journal (Candace Krebs) via The La Junta Tribune-Democrat:

As seasonal farmers markets move into the final stretch, the produce is abundant, even if water availability in some cases curtailed production early on.

A sustained period of warm, dry days have been good for the peppers, tomatoes, melons and pumpkins, one La Junta area farmer said…

Every summer for the past 38 years, there’s been a Hanagan on this street next to the park selling produce, Hanagan said, serving multiple generations. The Old Colorado City market in Colorado Springs is one of the oldest in the state.

Frank Schmidt, owner of Schmidt Apiaries and the long-time operator of the market, said the venue was thriving. Even so, over the years it has become harder to retain actual farmers to anchor the market, while artisans and crafters proliferate, he said.

Schmidt is grateful to have around five or six farms still bringing produce, but he’s lost a few long-time produce vendors in recent years. Lusk Farms, of Rocky Ford, switched from growing produce to full-time hay production. Lippis Farm, of Florence, quit largely in frustration over the time, effort and expense involved in maintaining organic certification…

Farming is getting tougher, and most farmers feel like agriculture, in general, is under attack from a combination of rising costs, cumbersome regulations and controversial voter petitions backed by special interest groups, [Chuck] Hanagan said…

That’s why the agriculture community was so alarmed by the proposed PAUSE Act, short for Protect Animals from Unnecessary Suffering, which would have banned routine animal husbandry practices and required animals to live out a certain amount of their lives before slaughter, among other provisions.

It was struck down on legal grounds before ever being placed on the ballot, but it would have prohibited preg-checking and artificial insemination, practices Hanagan said are fundamental to good agricultural management, by conflating them with deviant sex acts…

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment is in the process of drafting the new bill, which is due for final adoption no later than Jan. 31. It is aimed at addressing overtime wages for farm workers and making sure they have access to key service providers and heat stress protections…

A Colorado Agricultural Labor Survey conducted by Colorado State University last year found that among 213 respondents, the median wage range was $13-$15 per hour, consistent with the most recent averages reported by the National Agricultural Statistics Service Farm Labor Survey…

Farms such as Hanagan’s that bring in Mexican farmworkers through the federal H2A program are already required to provide housing, utilities and transportation, he said.

“Farmers are very good with managing natural resources because they have to be,” he said. “People think of that as soil and water, but just as important — and maybe more important — is their labor. You have to take care of that or you’re not going to be successful.”

Hanagan said his family has worked with some of the same employees from south of the border for 30 or 40 years, which creates mutual trust and allows for a great deal of flexibility in how they do their jobs.