People & Organizations

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.

Hawkins: New Nature Conservancy Western Colorado Water Project Manager

Celene Hawkins is the new Western Colorado Water Project Manager for the Colorado Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. In this capacity she coordinates and implements projects with agricultural partners, federal, state, and local governments, and local conservation organizations to help optimize the use of water in western and southwestern Colorado. In addition, she fosters project work that supports water transactions that benefit environmental values while also supporting agriculture and other traditional water uses.

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.

Connor: Find a Fix or We Will

At the 70th Annual Conference of the Colorado River Water Users Association (CRWUA), Deputy Interior Secretary Michael Connor implied that if the lower basin states of Arizona, California, and Nevada can’t find a fix for their Colorado River’s problems, the interior secretary will find it for them. In an Arizona Daily Star article, Connor referenced the need to prevent Lake Mead from falling to dangerously low levels. Should this be the case there would be huge cutbacks in water deliveries to the agricultural sector, cities, and Indian tribes.

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.

CWCB/CWA Healthy Rivers Fund Eliminated but Alternative Funding Sources Available

The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) staff received a letter from the Department of Revenue dated November 12, 2015 stating that the Colorado Healthy Rivers Fund (CHRF) did not receive the $75,000 threshold amount of donations between January 1 and September 30, 2015. The program requires that the funding threshold level be met to stay in the voluntary tax checkoff program. The program was short of the mark with only $61,348 donated during that time period. It will not appear on the 2015 tax form. This is unfortunate news. However, in many ways the CHRF was the model for CWCB’s Colorado Watershed Restoration Program (CWRP).

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