New Poll Reality Check for Republicans — The Buzz

Click the link to read the post on The Buzz website (Floyd Ciruli):

A new poll from Colorado’s Fox news outlet shows Democrats still dominating the top races for senate and governor.

U.S. Senator Michael Bennet is 10 points ahead of GOP challenger Joe O’Dea, 46 percent to 36 percent with 14 percent undecided. Less surprising, Governor Jared Polis is 17 points ahead of Republican nominee Heidi Ganahl.

This poll is especially damaging for O’Dea, who was hoping for polls showing a close post-Labor Day race to attract the money and attention he needs to pull off an upset. Bennet is not yet over 50 percent but he’s winning the unaffiliated vote by 15 points.

The challenge is that both Republican candidates are still not well known by the voters and Democrats have a significant financial advantage in the races. The advertising, much of it negative, is just beginning.

Agencies looking into #water quality on Lincoln Creek: Mine drainage could be a cause of recent issues — @AspenJournalism #RoaringForkRiver

Lincoln Creek is one of several drainages that flow into Grizzly Reservoir, a collection pool for Twin Lakes Reservoir and Canal Company. Drainage from defunct upstream mines may be partly responsible for the water’s yellow color. Photo credit: Heather Sackett/Aspen Journalism

Click the link to read the article on the Aspen Journalism website (Heather Sackett):

State, local and federal agencies are working to figure out what is causing changes to the waters and streambed of Lincoln Creek.

In recent days, the water in Lincoln Creek below Grizzly Reservoir has turned a milky green color and a sediment — yellow in some places, white in others — has settled on the streambed. The water flowing into the reservoir from upper Lincoln Creek ran yellow on Saturday.

According to Andrew Wille, a concerned citizen and educator who has done a field study in the area, the discolored stream is not totally unusual.

“I would say (Lincoln Creek above the reservoir) is always like that, but it might be a little worse this year,” said Wille, who is also a member of Pitkin County’s Healthy Rivers board but clarified he was not speaking on the group’s behalf.

What is unusual, Wille said, is that the issue extends below the reservoir to the water flowing down Lincoln Creek to its confluence with the Roaring Fork River.

“I was just kind of concerned and upset it made its way into the Roaring Fork,” he said.

Prior to mining, snowmelt and rain seep into natural cracks and fractures, eventually emerging as a freshwater spring (usually). Graphic credit: Jonathan Thompson

A culprit could be defunct mines in the area, where prospectors mined gold, silver, lead and copper in the early 1900s. It includes the well-known Ruby Mine near the ghost town of the same name.

Bryan Daugherty, an environmental health specialist with Pitkin County, took samples of the water in the creek last week.

“It could be that we have had significant weather up there and it has opened up some of the channels or something that expose more of the mining waste,” Daugherty said. “We just don’t have a great answer as to why it looks different than it has in the past years.”

Officials may have more answers after Tuesday, when a team of water quality experts from different agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Roaring Fork Conservancy and others, are scheduled to test the waters of Lincoln Creek. It is part of an ongoing water quality monitoring program.

Water from the Ruby Mine adit — which is the mine’s opening — mixes with water from Lincoln Creek in late August. Defunct mines in the area could be affecting water quality downstream. CREDIT: ANDRE WILLE

Mines could be a cause

Jeff Graves, program director for the Colorado Inactive Mine Reclamation Program, said the Ruby Mine was brought to his attention last year when there was a fish die-off in Grizzly Reservoir. His agency, the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, joined other agencies in water quality sampling in early summer. Those results are not back yet.

But Graves said the problem may not be caused solely by the Ruby Mine.

“There’s obviously some legacy mining up there; that includes the Ruby Mine,” he said. “But there’s also a significant geologic component unrelated to mining. So there are a couple different things going on that we need that sampling data back to clarify what the actual cause of any potential problems are downstream.”

Graves estimated there are about 400 mines across Colorado that are discharging into waterways and potentially creating a water quality issue downstream. He said there has not been any reclamation done on the Ruby Mine and that it would not have fallen under any regulatory authority at the time it was mined around the turn of the 20th century.

Grizzly Reservoir will be drained next summer for a rehabilitation project on the dam, tunnel gates and outlet works. The reservoir serves as the collection bucket for water from the surrounding drainages before it’s diverted through the Twin Lakes Tunnel to the Front Range. CREDIT: HEATHER SACKETT/ASPEN JOURNALISM

Much of the water collected in Grizzly Reservoir from the high mountain drainage of Lincoln Creek is sent through the Twin Lakes Tunnel under the Continental Divide to be used in Front Range cities. Colorado Springs Utilities owns the majority of the water from the Twin Lakes system, which represents the city’s largest source of West Slope water and about 21% of its total supply.

Twin Lakes Reservoir and Canal Company Manager Bruce Hughes said on Monday that the Twin Lakes system was operating normally, which at this time of year means not diverting to the Front Range and instead letting the water from Grizzly Reservoir flow down Lincoln Creek.

Graves said in general, the environmental concerns associated with mines involve aquatic life like fish and the bugs they eat. The orange color of the water and stained streambed is from iron; the white is from aluminum, he said.

“Generally speaking, there is very little human health concerns associated with the sites,” he said. “Most of the time, it is aquatic life concerns and the specific concern is zinc. Fish are very intolerant to high levels of dissolved zinc in the water.”

As of Saturday [September 24, 2022], there were still plenty of fish swimming in Grizzly Reservoir.

Aspen Journalism covers rivers and water in collaboration with The Aspen Times. This story ran in the Sept. 27 edition of The Aspen Times.

Map of the Roaring Fork River drainage basin in western Colorado, USA. Made using USGS data. By Shannon1 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69290878

Federal Water Tap — Circle of Blue

Mapa de los Estados Unidos de Méjico, by John Distrunell, the 1847 map used during the negotiations of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Public domain.

Click the link to read the article on the Circle of Blue website:

At a conference in Santa Fe, federal officials outlined steps they are taking to respond to critically low reservoirs in the Colorado River basin.

The Interior Department is preparing now in case next year is another hydrological dud.

Officials are setting up the paperwork for releasing even less water from Lake Powell than anticipated. According to operating guidelines, 7 million acre-feet will flow out of the reservoir in 2023. If water levels recede to the point that hydropower generation is endangered, Interior could throttle back those releases, as it did this year.

Interior is also studying structural modifications that would allow for the release water from Powell when the reservoir is low, a move that environmental groups in the basin have called for.

Ute Mountain Ute Tribe installs hydroelectric generators for farm operation — The #Cortez Journal #ActOnClimate

South of Hesperus August 2019 Sleeping Ute Mountain in the distance. Photo credit: Allen Best/The Mountain Town News

Click the link to read the article on the Cortez Journal website (Jim Mimiaga). Here’s an excerpt:

Technology tied into irrigation pipelines will provide power for 7,600-acre farm and Bow and Arrow Brand corn mill

The kinetic energy that irrigation water produces as it surges through pressurized pipe on the Ute Mountain Farm and Ranch Enterprise is wasted as it is reduced to operate the center-pivot sprinkler system. Now, that precious power can be captured and used. The Ute Mountain Farm and Ranch Enterprise decided to capture the dissipated energy through a series of small hydroelectric power plants placed on irrigation lines that serve center-pivot sprinklers on the 7,700-acre farm southwest of Towaoc.

This summer, the tribe started up its first hydroelectric generator on an irrigation line for a field prepped for winter wheat on the farm, which has 110 center pivots. Two more generators are installed on nearby field irrigation lines and are staged to begin operations. By 2024, the tribe will have 10 hydropower plants capturing the energy from the pressurized pipes, which drop in elevation from the nearby Towaoc Highline Canal…

On the farm, nondescript buildings that house the turbines, piping, generators and electrical panels hum and whistle with the sounds of renewable energy. Water from the irrigation line surges into the turbine at more than 200 pounds per square inch as it drops 220 feet in elevation from the nearby Towaoc Highline Canal, engineers said. The plant captures 18 kilowatts of energy from the flow but leaves enough water pressure to power the center pivot. Once all online, electricity produced from all 10 plants covers electricity costs for the farm and the adjacent Bow and Arrow Brand corn mill.

Ute Mountain Ute Tribe area map via USBR/Ten Tribes Partnership Tribal Water Study

Poll: How worried are Utahns about the Great Salt Lake?: Results show a majority are concerned about declining lake levels — The Deseret News

Satellite photo of the Great Salt Lake from August 2018 after years of drought, reaching near-record lows. The difference in colors between the northern and southern portions of the lake is the result of a railroad causeway. The image was acquired by the MSI sensor on the Sentinel-2B satellite. By Copernicus Sentinel-2, ESA – https://scihub.copernicus.eu/dhus/#/home, CC BY-SA 3.0 igo, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77990895

Click the link to read the article on the Deseret News website (Amy Joi O’Donoghue). Here’s an excerpt:

A Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll went out in the field Sept. 3-21 and asked 815 registered Utah voters how they feel about the lake. Of those surveyed, 80% said they are concerned about the lake, while 19% said they are not concerned and another 1% said they didn’t know.

In a separate question posed about the possibility of Utah lawmakers dedicating more resources — dollars — to mitigate declining lake levels, 73% of those registered voters say they are up for that, 19% would disapprove and another 8% said they didn’t know.

The Native Three — #Colorado Parks & Wildlife #ColoradoRiver

Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s aquatic research scientists have embarked on multiple projects to protect the three fish species native to the Upper Colorado River Basin (Flannelmouth Sucker, Bluehead Sucker and Roundtail Chub). This video, ‘The Native Three’ helps tell that story.