Colorado

Colorado’s Buy-and-Grow vs. Buy-and-Dry Program

Agricultural buy-and-dry occurs when someone purchases land and moves the water into the municipal system. There are mounting fears, however, that permanent dry-up of agricultural lands could potentially cripple the farming industry in Colorado. Alternatively, a buy-and-grow plan would allow farmers to share their water rights with municipalities--essentially a sharing of water rights between rural and urban communities. According to a recent Durango Herald article, with the buy-and-grow plan governments and private interests could help farmers with investments in water-conservation technology and other equipment, thereby helping farmers grow. The farmers would then share the water that they don’t need anymore because of the savings. In the article, Kelly Brough said that “They’re still growing, still producing, they’re more efficient, and they don’t lose their water right.” Brough is the Chief Executive of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce (DMCC). At an early October meeting in Denver with state and local water officials, hosted by the DMCC, Brough indicated that the buy-and-grow plan could usher in a new wave of water policy. To view the full article visit the Durango Herald


Silverton and San Juan County Officials Authorize NPL Discussions

In response to the recent Gold King Mine incident on the Animas River, in November, Silverton and San Juan County officials participated in a tour of several Superfund sites in Colorado. Since then, both governments have authorized their representatives to meet with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, as well as the U.S. EPA to discuss what would be involved if the area were to be given a National Priority Listing (NPL) under the Superfund program. These discussions are preliminary and no decisions have been made, though one of the conditions desired by the local governments is that money be made available now to address the mining drainage in Upper Cement Creek.


DNR Director Resigns

In mid-December Mike King, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (CDNR), stepped down from his position. He had led the CDNR since 2010. King plans to take a new job with Denver Water as the Director of Planning. In this new position, he will oversee their climate change preparations, demand and supply management, environmental compliance, long-range planning for raw water and treated supplies, water rights, and watershed management. In a press release from Governor Hickenlooper’s office, he praised King for all the work he’s done during his administration, including helping to devise a statewide water plan and merging the department’s parks and wildlife divisions.


High Desert Conservation District, by Susan Thornton, Special Districts Association

In an effort to avoid confusion, the Dolores Conservation District recently changed their name to the High Desert Conservation District (HDCD). Among the services that the newly named HDCD provides is information about cover crops, erosion and salinity control, flood damage, irrigation management, noxious weeds, and practical management of crops and pastures. The District also publishes a resource handbook, Rural Living in Southwest Colorado. In addition, the District has hired an agricultural consultant to provide free on-site consultations with ranchers and farmers to help them establish best practices, which aids with more efficient water use. The free consultations are paid in part by a matching grant from the Southwestern Water Conservation District.


December 29, 2015--Local icon Fred Kroeger dies at 97 (Durango Herald)

Whether you call him the epitome of the Greatest Generation or the man who would not give up, former Durango Mayor Frederick V. Kroeger, who died Saturday at 97, left a legacy for generations of Southwest Coloradans to come. The most visible parts of that legacy?


December 25, 2015-- El Niño weather pattern taking shape (Steamboat Today)

After a week of persistent snowfall, snow remains in the forecast, but the early part of January could be dry. Steamboat Springs meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, who runs snowalarm.com, wrote that temperatures will be very cold today before the air begins to warm Sunday at higher elevations. The National Weather Service in Grand Junction is calling for a high temperature today of 1


December 22, 2015--La Plata County to ask EPA for $2.4 million for Gold King Mine cleanup (Denver Post)

La Plata County commissioners in southwestern Colorado voted Tuesday to ask the EPA to reimburse up to $2.4 million over the next decade in expenses related to the Gold King Mine disaster. The Environmental Protection Agency must sign off on the request, to be submitted by Jan. 15, county manager Joe Kerby said.


Interactive Forests-to-Faucets Teacher Workshop Maps

Beginning in 2012, the Water Information Program in conjuction with the Mountain Studies Institure and the San Juan Mountains Association began a series of two-day intensive teacher training workshops. Visit their websites to for an interactive workshop tour on the Animas, San Juan, and Dolores Rivers.


December 20, 2015--La Plata County tests for elements not previously sampled at Gold King Mine (Durango Herald)

An independent analysis of sediment at the Gold King Mine adit found trace amounts of uranium isotopes, but at levels far below typical screening thresholds. The study was done in September by Wright Water Engineers on behalf of La Plata County government.


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