Posted on August 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Pumphouse site to get new play feature for boaters
FRISCO — Along with the incredible natural terrain of the Colorado River through Gore Canyon, boaters will soon also have an artificial place to play. The Kremmling Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management this week announced approval of the proposed Gore Canyon whitewater park at the Pumphouse Recreation area, west of Kremmling in the Upper Colorado River Valley.
Filed under: boating, Colorado, Colorado River, Environment, recreation, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado River, Gore Canyon whitewater park, kayaking, Pumphouse rafting, water | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 19, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Dwindling precipitation in the Southwest spells trouble for native fish. bberwyn photo.
Study shows significant loss of fish habitat by mid-century
FRISCO — Big sections of vulnerable stream habitat for native fish in the Southwest are likely to disappear by mid-century as global warming causes stream flows to dwindle.
By 2050, stream-drying events could increase by 17 percent, and the number of zero-flow days could go up by 27 percent in the Verde River Basin, affecting species like speckled dace (Rhinichthys osculus), roundtail chub (Gila robusta) and Sonora sucker (Catostomus insignis).
The drying trend will fragment aquatic habitat, hampering feeding and spawning. Some populations that are already isolated may very well disappear, said Ohio State University researcher Kristin Jaeger, an assistant professor at the School of Environment and Natural Resources. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, rivers, water | Tagged: climate change, drought, endangered species, extreme weather, global warming, Southwest, Verde River | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 16, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
More heatwaves, wildfires and water shortages in the outlook
Colorado will warm dramatically in the next few decades.
FRISCO — By the middle of this century, Denver’s average temperature could be 6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than today — on par with Albuquerque, according to a new climate report released by the Colorado Water Conservation Board in early August.
Even with deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, Colorado will continue to get warmer. An increase of at least 2 degrees Fahrenheit by mid-century is all but certain, and that will have a big impact on the state’s water supplies, state officials said, reinforcing the results of a series of studies all showing that rising temperatures will reduce the amount of water in many of Colorado’s streams and rivers, melt mountain snowpack earlier in the spring, and increase the water needed by thirsty crops and cities. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Environment, global warming, rivers, water | Tagged: climate change, Colorado, Environment, global warming, stream flows, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 9, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Tainted stormwater runoff is a significant threat to water quality in many Colorado streams.
EPA tackling major violations around the country
FRISCO — A Colorado construction company has been fined $310,000 after multiple failures to comply with an EPA stormwater permit. The civil penalty is outlined in a settlement agreement sanctioned by the U.S. District Court for Colorado.
Under the settlement, Hunt Building has agreed to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations at two military housing construction sites at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. The violations were discovered during EPA inspections at the site. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Air Force Academy, Colorado, Environment, EPA, stormwater runoff, water quality | Leave a comment »
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 26, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
July 30 site visit gives public a chance to see progress in $3 million remediation project at abandoned mine in Summit County
Heavy metal pollution from upstream sources has killed most aquatic life in the Snake River, near Keystone, Colorado. bberwyn photo.
Your contribution to this independent journalism project will be matched dollar for dollar by Beacon. Click to learn more and make a donation.
FRISCO — With recent increases in levels of toxic metals in Peru Creek, the ongoing remediation work at the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine, near Keystone, Colo., takes on an even greater importance in the context of water quality in the Blue River Basin and the Upper Colorado.
The mine, which produced huge amounts of silver 100 years ago, has been pinpointed as one of the main sources of acid mine drainage. Water seeping through the rocky ground trickles into the old mine workings, picks up contaminants along the way, then percolates back into Peru Creek near the head of the beautiful alpine valley.
During the last couple of summers, scientists and engineers have been working to reduce the pollution, and this coming week (July 30) there will be a public field trip to the site, led by Jeff Graves of the Colorado Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety, as well as other members of the Snake River Task Force. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, rivers, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news, water, water quality | Tagged: abandoned mine cleanups, acid mine drainage, Environment, EPA, Pennsylvania Mine, Peru Creek, Snake River, Summit County News | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 25, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Satellite data suggests more than 75 percent of water loss in drought-stricken basin is from groundwater pumping
A new study quantifies groundwater depletion in the Colorado River Basin. Map courtesy U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Groundwater pumping is a huge factor in the Colorado River Basin water equation, California-based researchers said this week, announcing the results of satellite study that for the first time quantifies how groundwater contributes to the water needs of western states.
Along with surface diversions and pipelines, water users in the basin are also unsustainably depleting underground aquifers. For example, mountain resort towns in Colorado tap underground water from headwaters streams like Tenmile Creek and the Blue River for municipal use.
The new study found that more than 75 percent of the water loss in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin since late 2004 came from underground resources. The extent of groundwater loss may pose a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought, the researchers concluded. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, Colorado, Colorado River, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado River Basin, drought, groundwater depletion | 1 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 23, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
More water from the West Slope? Not the best idea, says the U.S. Forest Service. bberwyn photo.
Current plan underestimates impacts to water and wildlife
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — As currently spelled out, Denver Water’s plan to divert more water from the headwaters of the Colorado River will result in unacceptable impacts to wildlife and other resources on publicly owned national forest lands, the U.S. Forest Service wrote in a June 9 comment letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Forest Service also wrote that the creation of a pool of environmental water in an expanded Gross Reservoir doesn’t compensate for the loss of two acres of wetlands and 1.5 miles of stream habitat that will be lost as a result of the expansion. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, public lands, rivers, US Forest Service, water | Tagged: Colorado, Forest Service, Moffat Tunnel collection system expansion, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 22, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Proposed new water rule in the works for western ski areas
Oh, oh, the water … bberwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — After being bullied by the ski industry in court and legislative arenas, the U.S. Forest Service has decided to shift its approach to administering valuable water rights associated with ski area operations in western states.
Instead of requiring resorts to transfer water rights, the Forest Service now proposes adding language to ski area permits that would ensure that enough water remains linked to ensure future operations. The water rights could not be sold separately from other resort assets like chairlifts and lodges.
That would address the main concern the Forest Service voiced when it first proposed changes to the administration of water rights a few years ago, but doesn’t address the bigger issue of resorts trying to establish total control over public resources. Continue reading
Filed under: commentary, Environment, op-ed, rivers, ski industry, water | Tagged: Forest Service, public lands, ski areas, water rights | Leave a comment »