Navajo Dam operations update: Bumping down to 850 cfs #SanJuanRiver #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

The San Juan River near Navajo Dam, New Mexico, Aug. 23, 2015. Photo credit: Phil Slattery Wikimedia Commons

From email from Reclamation (Susan Novak Behery):

September 19, 2023

Due to the forecast for the coming week indicating sufficient flows in the critical habitat reach of the San Juan River, the Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled a decrease in the release from Navajo Dam from 900 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 850 cfs for Wednesday September 20th, at 4:00 AM.

Reclamation continues to release project water to fulfill a project water release request by the Jicarilla Apache Nation’s subcontractors, The Nature Conservancy and the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, in addition to the normally scheduled release required to maintain the minimum downstream target baseflow.

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.  

Say hello to “The Ditch Project”, 150 years of ditches: Boulder’s constructed landscape

Rough and Ready Ditch – Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Library for Local History / Museum of Boulder Collection

Click the link to go to The Ditch Project website:

In May of 2009, three concurrent venues each showed different artwork, photo essays and educational material about ditches.

Exhibits and featured events at the Boulder Public Library drew crowds of curious Coloradans, while visitors to the Dairy Center for the Arts enjoyed eclectic displays inspired by local water scenes. Various bits of sculpture lined Boulder Creek near the headgates of the Boulder and Left Hand Ditch.

Special programs included tours, storytelling, films, and a symposium of expert speakers. Here, you can revisit parts of the Ditch Project with our comprehensive archive of images, podcasts, and movie clips.

New content will be added here sporadically. Check back here for more updates.

Forest Service spends nearly $70 million to plant trees in Mountain West — KUNC #restoration #ActOnClimate

Mrs. Gulch’s landscape in Denver September 14, 2023.

Click the link to read the article on the KUNC website (Emma VandenEinde). Here’s an excerpt:

The Forest Service is awarding more than $1 billion nationwide in grants to plant trees in cities, tackle climate change and make green spaces more accessible to less wealthy neighborhoods. Nearly $70 million will go to more than 30 projects in the Mountain West, which include expanding urban orchards in Nevada, improving tree canopies in Colorado and adding education programs in New Mexico. The goal is to help communities that do not have easy access to parks and forests, and are more vulnerable to the urban heat island effect. These areas have historically been overlooked when it comes to adding green spaces, and as a result, residents face increased energy bills, bad air quality and a greater risk of sickness and death…

“You’re focusing on places and welcoming people who might not have felt at home in the fancy neighborhoods with the big trees and making sure that people know that they deserve that, too,” [Xochitl] Torres Small said when announcing the funding. “That there is an opportunity for a cooler place for their kids to enjoy in a park nearby shaded by the trees.”

It’s all part of the agency’s Urban and Community Forestry Program. It received more than 800 applications requesting more than $6 billion in funding – showcasing the desire to grow more trees in urban areas. The grants are funded by the federal Inflation Reduction Act. Colorado and New Mexico received the most grant money in our region – more than $20 million each to fund green spaces projects. Nevada was not far behind with nearly $16 million, whileIdaho, Utah and Wyoming received less than $6 million each.

Torres Small said representatives are already knocking on people’s doors to ask if they want to plant a tree.

Denver skyline, view is west from City Park. Photo credit The City of Denver.

Reclamation awards second construction contract for Arkansas Valley Conduit #ArkansasRiver #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Arkansas Valley Conduit map via the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District (Chris Woodka) June 2021.

Click the link to read the article on the Reclamation website (Anna Perea and Darryl Asher):

President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law supporting major water infrastructure project to provide clean, reliable drinking water to 39 communities in southeastern Colorado

Sep 15, 2023

LOVELAND, Colo. – The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a contract for the second segment of trunkline of the Arkansas Valley Conduit to Pate Construction Co., Inc. for $27,216,950.00. This contract, partially funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, funds construction of Boone Reach 2, which includes a 5.4 mile stretch of water pipeline and 7.4 miles of fiber conduit. Construction will follow Colorado State Highway 96 from North Avondale to Boone, Colorado.

President Biden’s Investing in America agenda represents the largest investment in climate resilience in the nation’s history and is providing much-needed resources to enhance Western communities’ resilience to drought and climate change. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Reclamation is investing a total of $8.3 billion over five years for water infrastructure projects, including water purification and reuse, water storage and conveyance, desalination and dam safety. An overall $160 million has been allocated so far from the Law to complete the Arkansas Valley Conduit project.

This is a major infrastructure project that, upon completion, will provide reliable municipal and industrial water to 39 communities in southeastern Colorado. The pipeline will bring water from Pueblo Reservoir to Bent, Crowley, Kiowa, Otero, Prowers, and Pueblo counties. It is projected to serve up to 50,000 people in the future; equivalent to 7,500 acre-feet of water per year.

“We’re looking forward to this next project milestone,” said Jeff Rieker, Eastern Colorado area manager. “Today’s contract award allows the project to maintain the momentum we’ve built over the past year and helps us achieve the ultimate goal of bringing clean and reliable water supplies to the people of southeastern Colorado.”

“The Arkansas Valley Conduit is vitally important to the people of the Lower Arkansas Valley, so it is very rewarding to see the Bureau of Reclamation moving ahead,” said Bill Long, president of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, local sponsors of the Arkansas Valley Conduit. “The Southeastern District also is working to complete this project as quickly as possible to provide a better quality of water for the people of the valley.”

Work on the first segment of trunk line began in spring of 2023 with completion anticipated in 2024. Reclamation expects work on the second segment, Boone Reach 2, to begin in late 2023 with completion slated for late summer 2025.

As the Arkansas Valley Conduit project moves forward, under existing agreements, Reclamation plans to construct the trunkline, water tanks, and related components, while the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District coordinates with communities to fund and build the project’s water delivery pipelines. Eventually, the Arkansas Valley Conduit will connect 39 water systems along the 103-mile route to Lamar, Colorado. 

The project will use Pueblo Water’s existing infrastructure to treat and deliver Arkansas Valley Conduit water from Pueblo Reservoir to a connection point east of the city of Pueblo along U.S. Highway 50. The project will use water from either the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project or from a participant’s water portfolio, but not from Pueblo Water’s resources.

Congress authorized Arkansas Valley Conduit in the original Fryingpan-Arkansas Project legislation in 1962 (Public Law 87-590). This project does not increase Fryingpan-Arkansas Project water diversions from the western slope of Colorado; rather, it is intended to improve drinking water quality.

Currently, many people in the areas that will be served by the Arkansas Valley Conduit rely on groundwater supplies that contain naturally occurring radionuclides, such as radium and uranium, or use shallow wells that contain harmful microorganisms and pollutants. Alternatives for these communities consist of expensive options such as reverse-osmosis, ion exchange, filtration, and bottled water.  

If you have questions or need more information, please contact Anna Perea, public affairs specialist at the Bureau of Reclamation’s Eastern Colorado Area Office, at (970) 290-1185 or If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services.

Pueblo Dam. Photo courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife