DOUGLAS County will release a redacted version of an attorney memorandum at the same time it gives its decision on whether to move ahead with a proposal by Renewable Water Resources to transport water from San Luis Valley aquifers to the affluent metro-Denver suburb.
The three county commissioners met for over an hour in a closed-to-the-public executive session Thursday to discuss which portions of water attorney Steve Leonhardt’s analysis and recommendations on the RWR plan would be redacted.
“We will release our decision alongside this redacted memorandum,” said Commissioner Abe Laydon, chair of the board. A disappointed Commissioner Lora Thomas said she was under the impression a redacted version would be released as early as Thursday but now the release will occur at a future board work session.
SLV WATER: Find more coverage of the RWR plan and other Valley water issues HERE
Laydon said a “large majority” of the information contained in Leonhardt’s memorandum to the commissioners would be made public. Redacted would be any information privileged to Renewable Water Resources or any information that would harm Douglas County in any future water discussions. Personal information of individuals Laydon and Leonhardt said they met privately with in the San Luis Valley would also be redacted.
Meanwhile, the SLV Ecosystem Council submitted 255 signatures to the Douglas County commissioners in opposition to the water exportation plan. In the letter, SLV Ecosystem Council Director Chris Canaly slammed the commissioners for canceling a public meeting in the San Luis Valley and for their treatment of water and environmental experts who took time to educate the commissioners on the Valley’s dire water situation.
“… SLV representatives compiled critical research and presented significant facts and valuable findings that embody generations of historical water knowledge of the Rio Grande basin. Your reaction to this good faith effort has been complete dismissal, even disdain.”
HB22-1379: Includes $20M investment from the Economic Recovery and Relief Cash Fund in order to address the health of our watersheds and forests and to seize on the unprecedented availability of federal funds through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. #coleg (2/4)
HB22-1379: Approximately 80 percent of Colorado’s population relies on forested watersheds to deliver water supplies. Healthy forests and watersheds provide critical ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, water supply, filtration, and purification. #coleg (1/4)
HB22-1011: $10 million to match dedicated local funding or programs for wildfire mitigation and forest management, incentivizing local investment in wildfire preparedness. #colegpic.twitter.com/pB5ZgOyXis
SB22-198: COGCC has established annual fees associated with wells to create a funding mechanism to address Colorado’s Orphan Wells that create transparency for industry to pay to clean up orphan wells, not taxpayers. @ColoradoOGCC#coleg (2/2)
HB22-1329: Adds an Assistant Director for Energy Innovation in the Executive Director’s Office to engage proactively and coordinate among DNR divisions and with other state agencies on a wide range of current and emerging energy issues. #coleg
Tweetstorm RECAP: This leg session, 15 priority bills passed for @ColoradoDNR to provide critical funding, enhance outdoor recreation, protect our wildlife and water resources, and improve forest health. Thank you @GovofCO & all of our #coleg champions for your support! #coleg
Click the link to read “2022 Colorado General Assembly session: Legislators wrap up work after tackling fentanyl, passing largest budget in history” from Colorado Politics (Marianne Goodland, Hannah Metzger, Pat Poblette and Luige Del Puerto) via The Colorado Springs Gazette website. Here’s an excerpt:
Record spending. Legislators passed and the governor signed a $36.4 billion spending plan — the biggest in Colorado’s history — that funds state priorities in the upcoming fiscal year. The budget allocates roughly $2.5 billion more than current spending levels. The budget includes major increases in several areas, notably health care and public safety…
Wildfires. The nature of the Marshall fire, which tore through a suburban neighborhood in the dead of winter, horridly illustrated Colorado’s new reality: a state that could face its worst wildfire season in history…
HB 1132 requires all controlled burns on private property to be reported to local fire departments. SB 7 implements an enhanced wildfire awareness month outreach campaign over the next two years. HB 1011 allocates nearly $27 million to match money that local governments designate for forest management or wildfire mitigation efforts, and HB 1012 spends over $7 million on forest health and restoration. Earlier this session, the legislature also passed HB 1007, which creates a grant program funding wildfire mitigation outreach; HB 1111, which increases insurance coverage of wildfire losses and SB 2, which spends $5 million on volunteer firefighting resources.
Click the link to read the article on the KUNM website (Emma Gibson):
As climate change shifts the norms of water management, a company is mapping the West to collect more accurate snow depth data. Airborne Snow Observatories flies planes over watersheds and beams hundreds of thousands of laser pulses each second to the snowpack below using a laser scanner or airborne lidar system. They’re creating elevation maps that aid in calculating snow depth and the water supply forecast across the West…ASO co-founder Jeffrey Deems says by comparing these maps to ones done in the summer, they can calculate the snow’s depth throughout the whole watershed, bringing more precision and scope to water forecasting and management.
“What can you do when you have higher confidence in your snow inventory and therefore your water supply forecast?” Deems said of the possibilities. “Can you start to make more informed decisions earlier in the year? Do you get early warning of floods or droughts within the year that can improve decision making come snowmelt season?”
Conventional methods used by the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service monitor snowpack via SNOTEL stations. A mountain watershed in Colorado could have several of these stations that continuously monitor snowpack weight and estimate the amount of water available when snowpack melts. But this method, Deems says, relies on comparisons to past data and can be less dependable as climate change alters snow accumulation and melt patterns.
“What we’re doing is mapping the snowpack everywhere,” Deems said. “It gives us an accurate snow volume and therefore decouples us from that reliance on the historic record.”