Colorado

EPA Releases Monitoring Plan for Animas and San Juan Rivers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency) released its final monitoring plan for the Animas and San Juan rivers following the August 5, 2015 Gold King Mine incident. They also posted on their Gold King Mine website the results of surface water and sediment sampling collected as part of their yearlong effort to gather scientific data to evaluate ongoing river conditions, as well as impacts to public health and the environment.


Animas River Water Quality

The Animas River Community Forum (ARCF) is a community group that formed in response to the Gold King Mine blow out in August 2015 to address concerns regarding response, recovery, and cohesive solutions for water quality in the Animas River. State Senator Ellen Roberts convened the group as she saw a need for the community(ies), including nonprofits, governments, citizens and business groups, to get involved in the issue working together; to learn from the experience; and to play a role in defining future actions including educating stakeholders from across Colorado and other audiences about the lessons learned.


CRRG Reports: Lake Mead Structural Deficit and a Call for Unified Management of Colorado River

A December 2015 report by the Colorado River Research Group (CRRG) calls for enacting strategies to deal with the structural deficit in Lake Mead. The lower basin reservoir of Lake Mead receives about 9 million acre-feet (AF) of water annually primarily the upper basin state’s Lake Powell. However, when evaporative losses are factored in, Lake Mead loses 10.2 million AF each year. This annual shortfall of 1.2 million AF of water has come to be known as the structural deficit. According to one of the report authors, Doug Kenney, while this is primarily a lower basin issue, the faster the structural deficit pulls down Lake Mead, more legal and political pressure will be on the upper basin states.


Colorado Water Plan and Growth

In an effort to better prepare for an estimated doubling of its population by the year 2050, from approximately 5 million people to an estimated 10.5 million, Colorado released their first Statewide Water Plan last November.


Jim Isgar

While most in Southwest Colorado and the state are aware, many newsletter subscribers from outside the area may not have heard that former State Senator Jim Isgar passed away on March 6th, he was 64. Jim served in the Senate from 2001 to 2009, where he was chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. In addition, he was the primary sponsor of the Colorado Water for the 21st Century Act (HB 1177), which created and funded the Interbasin Compact Committee (IBCC) and the Basin Roundtable Process.


Diane Hoppe

Former state legislator Diane Hoppe passed away on February 27th. She was a third generation Sterling woman, and spent nearly three decades helping to protect state agricultural and water resource interests. From 1999 to 2006 Diane served in the Colorado House of Representatives where she chaired the Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee, the Water Interim Committee, and the Water Resources Review Committee.


Southwestern Water Conservation District 75th Anniversary, by John Porter SWCD Board President

The Southwestern Water Conservation District (SWCD or District) was created by the Colorado General Assembly in 1941, thereby marking the District’s 75th anniversary this year! The SWCD encompasses Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, San Juan, San Miguel and parts of Hinsdale, Mineral, and Montrose counties. In a press release issued by SWCD board president John Porter, and recently printed in the Durango Herald, Porter shares some lessons learned in the past 75 years, ones that will be carried through the next 75:


Mancos Water Conservancy District 75th Anniversary

Similar to the SWCD, the Mancos Water Conservancy District (MWCD) also formed in 1941 and they are celebrating their 75th anniversary this year too! The mission of the MWCD is to provide irrigation water for over 13,000 acres of agriculture, municipal water for Mesa Verde National park, the Mancos Rural Water Company, and the Town of Mancos.


Dolores Water Conservancy District

In January, Mike Preston, General Manager of the DWCD, announced a new wildfire risk reduction group has formed to minimize impacts on the upper Dolores River watershed and McPhee Reservoir--the Dolores Watershed and Resilient Forest (DWARF) Collaborative. The specific target area extends from the Dove Creek pumps up to Lizard Head Pass--a mix of federal, private, and state lands.


High Desert Conservation District

The San Juan Basin Watershed recently launched a new website to strengthen the partnerships among the six conservation districts that define the Watershed: Dove Creek, High Desert, La Plata, Mancos, Pine River, and San Juan. It is a step to promote more collaboration among the individual districts and to maximize resources.


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