Annual Colorado Water Congress Summer Conference wraps up — Ark Valley Voice

Sunset on the Colorado River at Silt September 2022. Photo credit: Allen Best/Big Pivots

Click the link to read the article on the Ark Valley Voice website (Jan Wondra). Here’s an excerpt:

At the conference, [U.S. Senator] Bennet addressed his priorities for the return of Congress after the August break. At the top of the agenda will be writing the 2023 Farm Bill; which is normally approved and funded for a five-year period of time. This is expected to include protecting the $20 billion for agricultural conservation in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and $10 billion for forestry in the IRA and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law…Both [U.S. Senator] Hickenlooper and Bennet have advanced the role that must be played by the 30 tribes of the Colorado River Basin; recommending a permanent seat at the table on water renegotiations. The tribes did get attention from the infrastructure bill with about $5 billion set aside for their projects, said Bennet. But in Colorado River Basin negotiations, they have had no voice…

How much money? Bennet has estimated about $4 billion from the inflation bill for permanent and long-term reductions in the lower basin states, as well as $8 billion from the infrastructure legislation. The next step is to try to forge a consensus among the seven basin states of the Colorado River about how to reapportion the water, that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation can ratify. That could be easier said than done, given the friction between the Upper Basin states and the Lower Basin states. The Biden Administration has directed the Bureau of Reclamation to get the seven states to agree on a plan to handle the water crisis on the Colorado River. It’s not that they don’t agree on the science and the diminished flow of the Colorado. Regardless of being red or blue states they do — they are just not yet at the point of agreeing on what to do about it…

By the end of 2023, the Bureau is expected to have some rulemaking in place that will cobble the agreement among the states to the year 2026. But that is the limit of the extension because the current operating guidelines for the Colorado River expire then and there is no choice: they have got to be renegotiated.

Bennet is on record saying, “I do not want the Bureau telling the American West what this will look like.”

Native America in the Colorado River Basin. Credit: USBR

#Colorado Water Congress Summer Conference emphasizes collaboration, cooperation, urgent need to address Colorado #water issues — Steamboat Pilot & Today

Click the link to read the article on the Steamboat Pilot & Today website (Suzie Romig). Here’s an excerpt:

Rep. Joe Neguse, who represents the second congressional district including Routt County, Rep. Lauren Boebert as well as Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet discussed the importance of Colorado River water as a national-level concern…

Neguse, who once served on then Gov. Hickenlooper’s cabinet, said, “The governor would remind us that there was no margin in making enemies and that collaboration was ultimately the key ingredient to solving any problem or challenge facing our state.”


Neguse, Hickenlooper and Bennet used the word “we” repeatedly in their short remarks focusing on the importance of cooperation in complicated water issues. The four elected officials listed Colorado water projects that garnered millions of dollars in federal funds. Hickenlooper said the bipartisan Infrastructure Law in November 2021 included $300 million for Colorado River Basin drought contingency plans, and the Inflation Reduction Act from August 2022 included $8 billion for water infrastructure funding…

After the senators and representatives spoke and answered several questions from panel moderator Christine Arbogast, vice president of the Colorado Water Congress, Gov. Jared Polis addressed the ballroom full of hundreds of attendees for about seven minutes…Polis listed various active water-saving measures ranging from leak detection programs to “Colorado-scaping” education to swap turf for water efficient and climate-appropriate landscaping including tax credits for turf replacement. The governor encouraged people in the water community to speak up about the need to integrate water usage and planning, noting integration “had been done on a haphazard basis before but is at the level that we have to do this thoughtfully as a state.” The governor called housing a very important example of how to “achieve solutions that make sense” such as constructing more water efficient housing options such as duplexes, quad-plexes and multi-family housing…

The governor said the Colorado Department of Agriculture is hiring for the first time an agriculture water advisor.

Map credit: AGU

Management of John Martin Reservoir State Wildlife Area to revert to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Aug. 31 — #Colorado Parks & Wildlife #ArkansasRiver

Credi: Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Click the link to read the release on the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website (Bill Vogrin):

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is ending its management of the John Martin Reservoir State Wildlife Area on Aug. 31 after 55 years after being unable to reach a new agreement with the property’s owner, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

CPW will continue to manage John Martin Reservoir State Park, which is operated under a separate agreement with the Corps.

The 19,471-acre wildlife area surrounds the reservoir west of the state park and is a destination for hunting, fishing, boating, camping and wildlife viewing.

Beginning Sept. 1, any questions about the wildlife area should be directed to the Army Corps.

This view is from the top of John Martin Dam facing west over the body of the reservoir. The content of the reservoir in this picture was approximately 45,000 acre-feet (March 2014). By Jaywm – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,