Colorado

The Value of McPhee Reservoir and the Dolores River, by Mike Preston

McPhee Reservoir is the centerpiece of the Dolores Project, which expanded irrigation to 28,500 acres of land from Yellow Jacket to Dove Creek and to 7,600 acres of Ute Mountain Ute Farm and Ranch operations. These irrigated lands produce some of the highest-quality dairy hay in the West, along with a variety of other crops, including 640 acres of native seed that is being used to restore BLM lands across the west. The project also provides water to a growing number of smaller vegetable producers.


Brennan Passes

Doris Brennan, a 12-year member of Animas-La Plata (A-LP) Water Conservancy District Board of Directors, passed away on May 20th. She was 94. Doris retired from the A-LP Board in 2009. Those who knew her commented on her “eye for detail and memory,” sense of humor, and perseverance.


Fitzgerald Award

Healthy forests directly contribute to healthy watersheds. Related to this, a local forester, Gretchen Fitzgerald, with the San Juan National Forest, recently received a distinguished Regional Forester’s Honor Award for her work to restore burned areas and help design for mitigations for potential stresses from climate change. Gretchen acquired two grants totaling $1.2 million through the National Forest Foundation. Funding came from Chevrolet and Disney corporations in exchange for carbon offsets.


Genualdi New CDWR Division 7 Engineer

The Colorado Division of Water Resources has appointed Robert Genualdi as the Division Engineer for the Dolores/San Juan Durango Office. The Division is responsible for administering water rights, groundwater well permitting, hydrography, and dam safety in the Basin.


Gunderson Steps Down

Steve Gunderson, Director of the Colorado Water Quality Control Division (WQCD), will retire after nearly a decade of service in which he helped to develop stronger regulations to protect the state’s rivers and streams. Steve has served with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment since 1989. He rose to prominence in the 1990s during his work with the state as a leader in the cleanup of the polluted nuclear weapons production site at Rocky Flats near Boulder.


Montgomery Chair of CWCB

April Montgomery is the newest chair of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). Montgomery, a longtime San Miguel County resident, was elected to the position in March. She will serve one term and has served on the board since 2009. April also served as the San Miguel County representative on the Southwestern Water Conservation District board for more than 12 years before becoming the representative for the Southwest Basin Roundtable on the CWCB.


New SWCD Board Members

The Southwestern Water Conservation District (SWCD) recently added three new members to their Board of Directors: Preston Gotezke, Rusty Hinger, and Jenny Russell.


MWCD Finishes Canal-Lining Project

The Mancos Water Conservancy District (MWCD) finished lining the Jackson Lake canal, which is no longer in danger of crumbling into a canyon. The life expectancy of the canal is now about 50 years after $3.9 million in improvements. The canal, built in the 1940s, winds its way for several miles along the edge of a mountain by way of closed pipes, box flumes and open canal, and provides water to about 250 irrigators and storage for the town of Mancos. The canal is capable of carrying 258 cubic feet per second during runoff. Based on snowpack this spring, MWCD Superintendent Gary Kennedy is hopeful the canal may fill the reservoir to 70 percent of capacity. The design work for the rehabilitation project started in 2003, and the MWCD focused on the areas of the canal that were at risk. Congratulations MWCD on much hard work, perseverance, and a job well done!


MWCD Considers Jackson Gulch Reservoir Ownership

The Mancos Water Conservancy District (MWCD) is looking into the process of taking ownership of the Jackson Gulch Reservoir, the canal, and all the associated land from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR). "It may be slow and hard and cumbersome," said James Hess, BOR's title transfer coordinator. He said transfers of ownership can take several years and some negotiations have stretched for 15 years or more depending on the complexity of the project.


PAWSD

The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) now offers AquaHawk Alerting for their customers. It is a free service that will allow customers to efficiently manage their water use. After registering, AquaHawk Alerting helps customers to manage water consumption, create a monthly water budget, and detect potential water leaks. For more information contact the PAWSD administrative office at (970) 731-2691.


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