FIBArk: Sign up now

Hooligan Race 2009

From The Mountain Mail:

FIBArk organizers are encouraging volunteers, athletes and parade entrants to register for the 69th annual whitewater festival at FIBArk.com.

FIBArk will take place June 15-18 in downtown Salida.

According to a press release, several hundred volunteers are needed to assist in many capacities, helping with everything from beer tent duties to merchandise sales and athlete registration. Volunteers with river-related experience are especially needed.

Shifts are usually a couple of hours and provide a way for businesses, clubs, organizations or individuals to see friends and neighbors and greet out-of-town guests, FIBArk organizers said in the release.

All volunteers will receive a FIBArk volunteer T-shirt.

Athletes and parade entries also may register at FIBArk.com. Each year almost 800 athletes participate in FIBArk events, and organizers said registering in advance online will cut down on congestion and wait times at the boathouse.

Each year since 1949 the festival has included a parade. Sponsored by Moltz Construction, this year’s parade will begin at 10 a.m. June 17 with its traditional route along F Street. All Hooligan Race participants receive free entry into the parade.

Fryingpan-Arkansas Project via the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District

From the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District via The Pueblo Chieftain:

A hefty snowpack and relatively full municipal storage means farms will get a larger than usual share of Fryingpan-Arkansas Project water this year.

About 80 percent, or 44,000 of the 55,000 acre-feet allocated by the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District board Thursday, will go to irrigation companies throughout the Arkansas River basin. In addition, agricultural interests were allocated 20,000 acre-feet in return flows. A total of 28 ditches and three well groups will benefit.

That water comes on top of about 12,000 acre-feet leased earlier this year by Pueblo Water to farms, ditches or well associations…

“The extra water which the municipalities have no place to store is always welcome in Crowley County and the Arkansas Valley,” said Carl McClure, a Crowley County farmer who heads the allocation committee of the district.

The Southeastern allocation is about 25 percent above average, thanks to a snowpack that remains heavy and is still growing. The Fry-Ark water is imported from the Upper Colorado River basin through the 5.4-mile long Boustead Tunnel into Turquoise Lake.

More than half of the water is reserved for cities, but if they have no place to store it, it is allocated to agriculture. Fry-Ark water sells for $7 per acre-foot, plus surcharges that pay for programs that benefit water users. By comparison, Pueblo Water leases averaged $55 per acre-foot this year.

The district expects to bring more than 68,000 acre-feet into the Arkansas River basin this year, but prior commitments such as the Pueblo fish hatchery, evaporation and transit loss adjustments are made before the amount of water sold can be determined.

The Southeastern district guarantees 80 percent of the water, holding back some in case the runoff fails to meet projections. The Boustead Tunnel can only take a certain amount of water at one time and only when sufficient flows, as determined by court decrees, are available on the Western Slope. The remaining 20 percent is delivered when the district determines flows will be sufficient.

That should not be a problem this year, as the Bureau of Reclamation projected imports to be about 77,000 acre-feet, well above the amount Southeastern factored in.

For municipal allocations, the Fountain Valley Authority was able to take about 7,000 acre-feet, or half of its entitlement. Pueblo Water and Pueblo West are not seeking any water. Cities east of Pueblo claimed 3,132 acre-feet, while cities west of Pueblo were allocated 1,164. Most chose not to request their full allocation.

Allocating Fry-Ark water is the primary function of the Southeastern District, which was formed in 1958 to provide supplemental water to the Arkansas River basin.

#Colorado Springs turns dirt on first project under Ballot Issue 2

Colorado Springs with the Front Range in background. Photo credit Wikipedia.

From KRDO.com (Mekialaya White):

City crews are officially starting work to repair stormwater drainage after Colorado Springs voters passed Ballot Issue 2 back in April.

It comes with a price tag of $12 million dollars in excess revenue.

“This multi phase project will address flooding in the hardest hit area in the Little Shooks Run neighborhood by making several improvements to the drainage system through the end of 2017,” Mayor John Suthers, with the city of Colorado Springs explained.

The project will use $6 million this year and another $6 next year.

“It’s just an example of how we can take needed dollars and fix issues that have been around for a long time.” said Water Resources Engineering Division Manager Rich Mulledy.

The projects directly impact other parts of Southern Colorado. Pueblo county and city leaders have dealt with their share of storm water issues also, stemming from Fountain Creek.

“A lot of erosion and occasionally a sewer spill,” said Steve Nawrocki, Pueblo City Council President has said.

Salida receives loan forgiveness from #Colorado

Salida water park

From The Mountain Mail (Brian McCabe):

Salida will receive $666,069.72 in loan forgiveness for its $1,505,000 loan from the Colorado Water Protective and Development Association for the city’s ultraviolet disinfection compliance project, City Administrator Guy Patterson announced in the Tuesday city council meeting.

“The CWPDA had a unique situation last year where a sizable amount of design and engineering grant money was not utilized,” Patterson wrote in a report to the council.

“The fact that Salida was the first community to execute the loan in 2017 and the disadvantaged community status made us eligible for disbursement of the funds, along with several other communities.”

“This is very fortunate for the community to be recognized like this and get the grants,” Mayor Jim LiVecchi said. “We were trying to do what we could to get this project paid for without having to raise water rates or spend taxpayer money.”

LiVecchi said the city also received $755,000 in an Energy/Mineral Impact Assistance Fund grant from the Department of Local Affairs.

Emails from The Mountain Mail to Patterson, Public Works Director David Lady and Finance Director Jana Loomey about the project went unanswered.

The Mountain Mail asked city officials the following questions:

•The loan from the CWPDA was for $1,505,000, the loan forgiveness was $666,069.72, leaving the remaining loan amount at $838,903.28, which knocks off about 44 percent of the loan. How much of this loan has been paid off thus far? Also, there was another loan listed for $120,000. Does that mean the total cost of the UV project was $1,625,000, or was it more?

•It was stated that because the loan was passed under an emergency measure to keep construction costs within a single fiscal year, the water and wastewater funds will lose their enterprise fund status for 2018. Does this still apply with the loan forgiveness taken into account?

•Patterson said in his report to council that Salida’s “disadvantaged community status” made the city eligible for the disbursement of the funds “along with several other communities.” What is “disadvantaged community status” and how did Salida qualify? Also, do we know which other communities received funds?

•What is the status of the UV project? Is it finished? If not, what is the basic timeline for completion?
Deputy City Clerk Christian Samora said Wednesday the city will send out a press release in the next day or two.

#Colorado Springs: Rain barrel workshop

Photo from the Colorado Independent.

From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Rachel Riley):

Twenty plastic barrels once used to ship Mountain Dew syrup were reborn on Saturday into water conservation tools for local gardeners.

The barrels, purchased from a recycled materials provider in Denver, were distributed at a “make and take” rain barrel event hosted by El Paso County’s Colorado State University Extension. The $60 class, the second that the local CSU Extension office has held since the state legalized the use of rain barrels last year, quickly filled up. Two more classes, already full, have been scheduled for the coming weeks.

Organizers said it’s a sign of residents’ growing curiosity about rain barrel use, which Colorado was one of the last states to allow. Under a law passed in May 2016, single-family homes are permitted two rain barrels with a combined storage capacity of up to 110 gallons. Rainwater can only be collected from rooftop downspouts and must be used on the same property where it was collected for outdoor purposes, such as watering lawns and gardens…

The CSU Extension estimates one rain barrel can save the average homeowner roughly 1,300 gallons of water during the hottest months of the summer, when landscape watering accounts for nearly 40 percent of all household water usage.

In addition to conserving water, collecting rainfall during downpours can help reduce the pressure on the city’s stormwater system, said Sean Holveck, who is in charge of marketing and events for The Greenway Fund of Colorado Springs.

#Runoff news: The Cucharas River is swollen with rain and snowmelt

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Anthony A. Mestas)

Sandbags were delivered to the [Town of La Veta] Tuesday, and emergency crews worked all night to keep bridges clear of debris, said Larry Sanders, emergency manager for Huerfano County. The level of the river is between 70 and 80 percent of capacity, and more rain is expected Wednesday, he said.

Sanders deferred to La Veta Mayor Doug Brgoch for information relating to evacuation plans should the situation worsen. Brgoch was unavailable for comment, however, as he was out of the office assisting with sandbag efforts.

Sanders said the latest figures he has indicated the river was running at 220 cubic feet per second; the normal reading is less than 20 cfs.

Fountain Creek district update: RFP on the way for first project

Fountain Creek erosion via The Pueblo Chieftain

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Tommy Purfield):

As part of the 1041 permit for SDS, Colorado Springs is obligated to pay the Fountain Creek district $10 million per year through 2020, for a total of $50 million, which would pay for flood or erosion control measures along the creek that benefit Pueblo County. The district already has received $20 million for 2016 and 2017.

“This is the first of what we hope are many projects utilizing the money from the land-use permit for SDS for the betterment of Fountain Creek,” said Pueblo County Commissioner Terry Hart, who represents the county on the Fountain Creek district. “The purpose is to do everything we can to limit the amount of flood waters, the amount of sedimentation and the amount of damage that flows south on Fountain Creek into Pueblo County.

“The Masciantonio project is the first one where we’re literally taking knowledge that we’ve gained from past experiences and applying it. If it works successfully the way the engineers think it will, it could be a model that is used all along the creek and protect lands for generations to come. We’re very excited to get the first one going.”

The district has a budget of $3 million for the project on the Masciantonio property to encompass all costs through completion.

“The district’s goal is to stop the erosion, stop the loss of farmland, reduce downstream sedimentation and improve water quality,” said Larry Small, executive director of the Fountain Creek district.

The project on the Masciantonio property includes constructing seven bendway weirs — or rock diversionary structures — along the west bank of the creek just downstream from the mouth of Young Hollow Tributary. The weirs are intended to redirect the flow of water as it comes into the bend, slow its velocity and help redeposit sediment behind the weirs.

“As water flows over the weirs, water slows down and sediment drops out,” Small said. “It helps the creek bank build back up, weir-to-weir.”

A “bench” will be constructed at the base and abutted against the bank to anchor the weirs, which will be 7-8 feet wide at the base and run 8 feet deep into the creek bed. The length of each weir varies, to maintain a fixed radius from the center of creek flows.

“It’s a pretty prominent, stable structure,” Small said, “almost a pyramid structure.”

Although Young Hollow is dry most of the year, strong storms can cause it to run as high as 6,000 cubic feet per second, which rushes into Fountain Creek with strong force just upstream from the location of the project. Small said the placement of the first two weirs in the series of seven are important to redirecting water as it comes out of Young Hollow.

As the land above the creek slopes from west to east, a berm also will be constructed above the structure to prevent erosion from the back side of the bank.

“Rains get pretty heavy down there and it doesn’t take a whole lot to start the damage again,” Small said.

Small hopes to complete the competitive bid process and have a contract in place by June. Work could start in July, with the weir structures, and their required large rocks, accounting for the bulk of construction. Flow conditions on Fountain Creek will factor heavily into when work can be conducted and how long the project may take to complete.

The last stage of the project will include revegetation along the bank with the planting of cottonwood and willow along and above the “bench,” which likely will take place next March. The roots will help anchor soils and rocks, providing another layer of protection against erosion.