Pearl Harbor altered Colorado’s path after 1941, and Covid-19 will also — The Mountain Town News #coronavirus #COVID19

Boring of the Eisenhower Tunnel began in 1968 and was completed in 1973 at a cost of $117 million. The Colorado Department of Transportation estimated the cost early in the 21st century would have been $1 billion to $1.1 billion. Photo/ C-DOT.

From The Mountain Town News (Allen Best):

This pandemic has started feeling like something more than an extended snow day or having the mumps when you’re a child. Perhaps it’s now more like 1941, after Pearl Harbor.

The potential for a pandemic has been amply reported over the years. People in the early 1940s knew we would inevitably go to war. When abstraction became reality on that December day, so much changed in the context of Colorado.

In the late 1930s, ski areas were about to blossom. The Union Pacific’s Averell Harriman in 1936 opened Sun Valley in Idaho, and resorts were taking off in New England. Colorado had a few smaller ski areas, including Berthoud and Winter Park, plus town ski areas at Steamboat Springs and Gunnison.

Others were thinking bigger. In Aspen, a boat-tow had been installed, primitive but effective in transporting people uphill. One of them was Elizabeth Paepcke, the wife of a wealthy Chicago industrialist. She wanted her husband to see Aspen, to see the potential she saw. Others saw a different resort, one on Mount Hayden, in the Castle Creek Valley southwest of Aspen. Colorado legislators gave the venture $650,000, which was backed by a federal fund.

Closer to Denver, tunnel crews had begun boring an exploratory tunnel under Loveland Pass, with the idea of creating a highway under the Continental Divide. To the west, the state government had used federal New Deal funding to upgrade the horse trail across the Gore Range to a two-lane gravel road. They called it Vail, to honor Charlie Vail, then the boss of the Colorado Highway Department.

In Washington, D.C., President Franklin Roosevelt had had engineers develop plans for a national system of highways with separated lanes.

In Colorado, work had begun on Green Mountain Reservoir. The intent was to provide a service to the Western Slope as a result of the giant trans-mountain diversion planned at Grand Lake to benefit farmers in northeastern Colorado.

And in northeastern Colorado, my father was working on a dryland farm near Fort Morgan and lopping off the tops of sugar beets in that quiet before the distant clouds of war arrived.

Pearl Harbor changed everything.

The war brought the 10th Mountain Division to Colorado, to a high valley along the Continental Divide between Leadville and Red Cliff called Eagle Park. The Army named it Camp Hale, and at the height of the training it was among the largest cities in Colorado, with 14,000 people, mostly men.

After the war, in 1946, Elizabeth Paepcke’s husband, Walter, finally visited Aspen and saw what had so impressed her. But he put a new touch on it, the idea of invigorating the body and challenging the mind, a DNA that lingers to this day. 10th Mountain Division veterans returned in droves to Colorado to convert Aspen from a derelict mining town into an international resort. A resident, for a time, was Pete Seibert, who had grown up in New England dreaming of creating a ski resort. But he wanted his own resort. That dream in 1962 became Vail.

In time, my father was inducted into the Army, leaving behind the dryland farm where he was reared and its house, which had neither indoor plumbing nor electricity, and took the train to California for basic training, then a posting at the Presidio, near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Eventually he was shipped to India at the foot of the Himalaya Mountains.

The bore under Loveland Pass was completed in 1943, but it revealed too much difficult geology for a highway tunnel. Later, a different alignment was chosen, and that tunneling work resulted in the first of two tunnels in 1973.

The idea of superhighways that many people want to attribute with singularity to Dwight Eisenhower finally was given a federal sponsorship in 1956. Among the Senate sponsors was Albert Gore, father of the future vice president. But if not for the war, it might have happened sooner.

First water through the Adams Tunnel. Photo credit Northern Water.

As for that big New Deal-era water project, the Colorado-Big Thompson, it was finally completed in 1957.

And my father returned to northeastern Colorado, married the girl he had met at a gathering of young Baptists in the 1930s and took up work as a carpenter. He never flew again, never traveled abroad, but he did have a taste for curry that was never satisfied. He died before the spread of Indian restaurants in Colorado.

Vail probably would have happened eventually. The mountain itself and the proximity to Denver made it a natural. But World War II put Pete Seibert into Colorado. Aspen would have flourished, but perhaps in a different way. As for Mount Hayden, it came to nothing, in its own way perhaps a casualty of World War II.

This pandemic is different than World War II, and we have to go back further to see precedent. In 1918, Gunnison quarantined itself and survived with little loss of life, while Silverton, as remote a town as there may be in Colorado, isolated in the icy fastness of the San Juan Mountains, lost 10% of its population.

In this COVID-19 pandemic, the first case in Colorado was a visitor to Summit County who had recently been in Italy, then Australian visitors to Aspen-Snowmass. But then Eagle County flared, and as of early this week had 22 cases from the Vail area compared to 24 in Denver County, which has a population about 12 times as large. County officials on Thursday said they suspected hundreds, if not thousands, had contracted COVID-19.

A century ago the influenza spread globally, but by rail instead of by air. The world has shrunk, with consequences both good and bad.

We will survive this pandemic, but there will be changes. I sincerely doubt we’ll see the significant expansion at DIA that had been announced just a few months ago. That may actually be good.

Can other good also result? Many of us hope that it will result in greater acceptance of facts, more acceptance of science. Ideology played a powerful role in the sluggish, or worse, acceptance of the virus by powerful people, most notably the president. That same ideology, the same denial, has shrugged off or rejected the power of accumulating greenhouse gases to produce costly changes in our climate.

I hope we develop a greater sense of a global community. It could easily take us the other way, one exemplified by the run on guns and ammunition. What we see early on, the sniping between President Trump and his counterparts in China, is not encouraging.

This was first posted by the Colorado Independent.

The latest @Northern_Water E-Waternews is hot off the presses

Southern Water Supply Project Map via Northern Water.

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

Final pipeline pieces get put into place for Southern Water Supply Project II

The contractors for the Southern Water Supply Project II reached a significant milestone last month with the installation of the final portion of pipeline.

The final piece was placed along the 20-mile route near Carter Lake in southern Larimer County. The pipeline, funded by the City of Boulder, Left Hand Water District, Longs Peak Water District and the Town of Berthoud, will bring water supplies to those communities year-round.

While the installation of pipeline is complete, additional work remains. Northern Water technicians are installing and programming equipment for integration into its SCADA system, and testing of the pipeline segments for quality assurance is ongoing. Northern Water anticipates the pipeline will start carrying water to its destination at Boulder Reservoir in April.

Beyond the pipeline, however, work will continue on another important aspect of construction: reclamation of disturbed ground. The pipeline runs through easements on a variety of public and private properties, and reclamation crews will be working with those entities to ensure lands are reclaimed to their owners’ satisfaction.

Garney Construction was the lead contractor for the $44 million project.

A video of the final pipeline is available here.

To learn more, go to http://swsp2.org.

Rising cost of water rights in Loveland squeezes local developers — the Loveland Reporter-Herald

Lake Loveland

From The Loveland Reporter-Herald (Carina Julig):

Water in Loveland comes from the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, which diverts water over the Continental Divide to the Front Range. Over the past several years, units of water from the project have soared in price as Northern Colorado’s population has grown and development increases.

From 2010 to 2019, the average price of C-BT units rose from $7,000 to $55,000. The amount of water in a C-BT unit is set yearly by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District — Northern Water — and fluctuates based on the amount of snowpack and forecast streamflows for that year. In 2019, it was set at 70 percent of an acre-foot…

The city of Loveland requires developers to bring their own water rights to a project or to purchase water from the city. The city’s cash-in-lieu price for water rights is pegged to the market value and has steadily risen alongside it.

At the Loveland Utilities Commission meeting Dec. 18, the city approved raising the cash-in-lieu price of C-BT units to $47,640. It last raised the price in July to $39,330.

The city asks developers to pay their own way so that they don’t cut into the city’s water resources for the future, said Joe Bernosky, the director of Loveland Water and Power.

“What we’re doing is we’re to trying to make them pay their own way so the existing citizens don’t have to pay or we don’t kick the can down the road,” Bernosky said. “And that’s not a good way to do business when you’re a utility.”

Cash-in-lieu money the city receives from developers all goes toward firming up the city’s water portfolio, said Larry Howard, a senior civil engineer in the Water and Power utility.

There’s no profit incentive to increasing the cash-in-lieu price, Howard stressed. The city is just reacting to market conditions and doesn’t have a lot of options.

The rising cost of water is making it harder to build more affordable housing in Loveland, something the city badly needs. Jeff Feneis, director of the Loveland Housing Authority, said water rights are one of the organization’s biggest challenges.

In order to help mitigate the increasing cost of water, the city recently recalculated the water rights necessary per building unit. The change, which went into effect this September, applies only to residential buildings.

Due to more efficient building practices such as more efficient appliances, new houses require less water than older ones do. In light of this, the city reduced the required amount of water for a single-family dwelling from about one-quarter of an acre-foot to about one-tenth.

@Northern_Water district’s fall symposium recap

From The Loveland Reporter-Herald (Carina Julig):

More than 300 people attended the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District’s fall symposium [November 20, 2019] at the Embassy Suites in Loveland to discuss the region’s water future.

Several city officials from Loveland attended, including City Council member Steve Olson…

Map of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project via Northern Water

The majority of Northern Colorado’s water comes from the Colorado River, over the Continental Divide. Water is diverted through Rocky Mountains by the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, and stored in reservoirs.

As water flows become more unpredictable, with droughts some years and heavy snowfalls in other, having the infrastructure to store larger quantities of water is becoming increasingly important…

The city has rights to water from the Colorado-Big Thompson Project and the Windy Gap Project as well as rights to water from the Eastern Slope.

Green Ridge Glade Reservoir

Most of Loveland’s water comes from the Green Ridge Glade Reservoir, which stores water from the Colorado-Big Thompson Project.

Water & Power is currently updating its raw water master plan, which details how the city will provide water to customers for several decades, Bernosky said.

As Loveland’s population has grown, water usage has remained relatively flat, due to more efficient home and building construction. The city has been on a 20-year trend of reducing its gallons per capita per day, said Larry Howard, a senior civil engineer in the city of Loveland’s water resources division.

Map from Northern Water via the Fort Collins Coloradan.

If the Chimney Hollow Reservoir project goes through, Loveland will have adequate water supply through 2060, Howard said. The city has rights to 10.5% of the water in the proposed reservoir, which is currently being held up by a lawsuit.

Brian Werner 38 Years With Northern Water, A Celebration at the Source and Heart of Western Water Education! — Greg Hobbs

Eric Wilkinson, left, and Brian Werner, on the job. Photo: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

Brian Werner 38 Years With Northern Water,
A Celebration at the Source and Heart
of Western Water Education!

When we look to the future
it’s no more fortuitous

than finding each other
on the journey of the great

surveys of our lives.

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@Northern_Water Symposium, November 20, 2019

Map of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project via Northern Water

Click here for all the inside skinny:

Video: The Colorado-Big Thompson Project — @Northern_Water

First water through the Adams Tunnel. Photo credit Northern Water.