Posted on May 22, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New wilderness is in the works for Eagle and Summit counties, in the mountains of Colorado.
Congress Jared Polis introduces land protection measure
FRISCO — A proposal for new Colorado wilderness areas is back on the political table in Washington, where Congressman Jared Polis introduced a new bill that ‚ if passed, would add more than 39,000 acres of land to the wilderness roster.
“The areas that stretch along the Continental Divide in Summit and Eagle counties are the iconic playground of our state,” Polis said. “They are where Coloradans and out-of-state tourists alike go to ski, hike, mountain bike, hunt, and fish … and this bill will ensure they are preserved for future generations to enjoy,” he added. Continue reading
Filed under: Dillon Ranger District, Environment, Hidden Gems wilderness, politics, public lands, Summit County Colorado, US Forest Service, White River National Forest, wilderness | Tagged: Colorado, Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act, national forests, public lands, wilderness | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 20, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
In-depth coverage of the Colorado water plan is unfolding in a new series of stories for the Colorado Independent
Gotta love that Colorado River. Want to help save it? Conserve! @bberwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Colorado’s creeping water crisis isn’t as dramatic as a wildfire or a flood, but its consequences could be just as severe. State and federal water experts say the state will see a huge gap between supply and demand within a few decades, and possibly sooner if regional drought continues. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Colorado River, Environment, politics, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado River, Colorado water plan, Colorado water shortages, drought, Environment, water conservation | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
State water board, conservation group team up to create innovative new water rights agreement
Looking upstream towards the San Juans.
A dry section of the Little Cimarron River below the diversion.
A healthy section of the same river.
By Bob Berwyn
Photos courtesy Colorado Water Trust
* Tools like the Little Cimarron agreement could be used to improve environmental conditions in many of the state’s rivers, and the evolving Colorado Water Plan can help identify places where deals like this could be used. Read more about the Colorado Water plan here.
FRISCO —For thousands of years, the Little Cimarron River trickled out of the snowfields of the San Juan Mountains, coursing unimpeded through steep alpine canyons and rolling sagebrush foothills before merging with the Gunnison River.
That changed when European settlers arrived in the region. Eager to tame the rugged land, ranchers and farmers took to the hills with shovels and picks, diverting part of the river’s flow to water hayfields and pastures. The back-breaking work brought the imprint of civilization to the area, but just as surely wrought huge changes to natural systems that had been self-regulating themselves since the end of the last ice age.
Like nearly every other river in Colorado, the Little Cimarron was free-flowing no more. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, politics, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: ag water, Colorado, Colorado water, Colorado water plan, rivers, water conservation, water sharing | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 14, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Will Colorado get a new wilderness area this year?
Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act passed by Senate committee
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — In what may become a Christmas miracle, Congress is poised to actually pass a land protection measure before the end of the session. Lawmakers this week said they reached a compromise on a bill to protect the Hermosa Creek watershed near Durango.
As written, the legislation would create a 70,000-acre special management area and a 37,000-acre Wilderness area in the San Juan National Forest. The compromise includes opening a huge section of alpine backcountry around Molas Divide to snowmobiling. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, Colorado, politics, public lands, wilderness | Tagged: Colorado, Environment, Hermosa Creek, public lands, wilderness | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 31, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Near critical shortages in California prompt action
Heading downstream … bberwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — With Colorado River water supplies disappearing at a dizzying rate, and with a thirsty — and politically mighty — California parched by drought, the biggest water users at the table said this week they’ll invest $11 million to try and conserve significant amounts of water across all sectors, including including agricultural, municipal and industrial uses.
The Central Arizona Project, Denver Water, The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Southern Nevada Water Authority all signed on to what is being presented as a landmark water conservation agreement aimed at demonstrating “the viability of cooperative, voluntary compensated measures,” according to a press release from Denver Water. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Colorado River, Environment, politics, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado River, Colorado River Basin, conservation, Denver Water, drought, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 10, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Colorado business community weighs in on water principles
FRISCO — Vail and Eagle County residents will have a chance to get up to speed on an emerging state water plan today (July 10), with a lunchtime briefing at Donovan Pavilion in Vail, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Gov. John Hickenlooper ordered work to begin on the statewide water plan in May 2013; a draft is due to the Governor’s Office no later than Dec. 10, 2014, with the final plan complete by December 2015.
Business leaders have developed statewide business community water policy principles to be part of Colorado’s Water Plan and are seeking regional input to finalize the principles. Working through local business chambers, this statewide initiative seeks local feedback on the principles, which address the business and economic development needs of Colorado.
- Tom Binnings of Summit Economics will discuss the economics of water from a statewide perspective.
- Linn Brooks of Eagle River Water & Sanitation District will share local water operations and policy, and discuss needs in the Eagle and Colorado River basins.
- James Eklund, executive director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board – the state agency tasked with drafting the Colorado Water Plan.
- Bryan Blakely of Accelerate Colorado and Mizraim Cordero of the Colorado Competitive Council will discuss the business community water policy principles.
Filed under: Colorado, Colorado River, Environment, politics, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado River, Eagle River, state water plan, Vail, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 6, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Boulder County gets high-level backup on request for comment period extension on major new transmountain water diversion
Will the public get more time to review and comment on the final environmental study for the largest proposed water project in years?
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Boulder County’s request for more time to comment on the proposed Moffat Tunnel Collection System expansion got some high-level backup this week, as Sen. Michael Bennet formally asked the federal government for an extension.
Denver Water’s proposed new diversions from Colorado River headwaters in Grand County, specifically the Fraser River, are under federal scrutiny as the Corps considers issuing a permit for the enlargement of Gross Reservoir in Boulder County. The federal agency released the final version of a massive environmental study in April, setting a June 9 deadline for comment.
The agency received about 400 requests for an extension, many of them via a form letter. Boulder County also requested an extension, citing the need for more time to read the detailed technical reports and other documents that are part of the study, but regional Corps of Engineer Commander Joel Cross decided not to provide more time. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Colorado River, Environment, politics, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado, Denver Water, Environment, Moffat Tunnel collection system expansion, water | Leave a comment »