Posted on May 19, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A gage along Straight Creek, near Dillon, Colorado.
More cuts possible for critical stream monitoring efforts
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — It’s hard enough to make water management decisions if you have all the information at your fingertips, but the job is about to get even more difficult for resource managers.
The U.S.Geological Survey recently announce it will discontinue operation of up to 375 streamgages nationwide due to budget cuts as a result of sequestration. Additional streamgages may be affected if partners reduce their funding to support USGS streamgages.
Currently, the USGS is looking at shutting down three gages in Colorado: on Halfmoon Creek, near Malta, on the Arkansas River below John Martin Reservoir and along the Gunnison River, near Grand Junction. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Drought, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado, Gunnison River, rivers, Stream gauge, streams, United States Geological Survey, USGS, water | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 17, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Wet spring brightens water picture
Will Dillon Reservoir refill this summer? Bob Berwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — With the Roberts Tunnel turned off and Summit County’s streams starting to surge with runoff, the water level in Dillon Reservoir has already come up about two feet since May 1, according to Denver Water’s Bob Peters, who recently issued the latest update for Denver Water’s storage and diversion system.
The Roberts Tunnel is used to shunt water from the Upper Blue Basin beneath the Continental Divide and into the South Platte Basin, where it can be stored in other reservoirs until its needed for municipal use in Denver Water’s service area.
With average precipitation the next few weeks, Denver Water anticipates that Dillon Reservoir will peak at an elevation of about 9,010 feet sometime in July. That’s about seven feet below a complete fill, equal to about 235,000 acre feet. If wet weather continues through May, the reservoir could fill completely in July, rising to 9,017 feet, equal to about 257,000 acre feet. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Dillon Reservoir, Environment, rivers, Summit County news, Summit County snow and weather, water | Tagged: Colorado, Denver Water, Dillon Reservoir, drought, Roberts Tunnel, South Platte River, Upper Blue Basin, water | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 16, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Water pours down the Blue River in the high runoff of July 2011. Bob Berwyn photo.
Governor says state must figure out a way to address impending shortages
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Colorado water experts will try to figure out how to manage the state’s most precious resource in an era when all signs points to increasing shortages and the potential for growing conflicts within the state and the region over its allocation.
Under an executive order issued this week by Gov. John Hickenlooper, the Colorado Water Conservation Board will lead the effort to address the growing gap between supply and demand. Especially worrisome is the gap in the South Platte Basin, the state’s most populous and at the same time, the most productive agricultural basin.
Hickenlooper acknowledged that the recurring drought could hasten the impacts of the gap between supply and demand, noting that the past two decades have been Colorado’s warmest on record, dating back to the 1890s. Read the order here. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Drought, economy, Environment, politics, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado Water Conservation Board, drought, John Hickenlooper, Russ George, water, water conservation | 3 Comments »
Posted on May 7, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Two years ago
In early May 2010, Dillon Reservoir was mostly melted and almost full.
FRISCO — Our human memory spans are pretty much oriented to a short scale, so when it comes to things like weather, I’d rather rely on my photographic archives to make comparions. Monday afternoon, I looked back at several years worth of May photos, recalling that May 2010 was also cool and blustery, with on and off showers for much of the month. The big difference, of course, is the amount of water in various storage reservoirs, including Dillon. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, seasons, Snow and weather, Summit County Colorado, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: Colorado, Denver Water, Dillon Reservoir, Environment, Summit County photography, water | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 4, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
State-held instream flows to help protect trout
A BLM map identifies sections of the Coloado River with wild and scenic values.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Battered by drought and drained to a trickle by diversions, the Upper Colorado River got a bit of a boost as a state water court finalized a decree for three important instream flow rights that could help protect trout populations during low-flows.
The instream flows, meant to protect the environment to a reasonable degree, are very new compared to most established water rights, and they wouldn’t prevent any existing diversions. But the new instream flow rights will have to be satisfied before water rights filed in later years can take water. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado River, instream flows, public lands, Upper Colorado River, water, wild and scenic rivers | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 25, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Antero Reservoir, in Park County, won’t be drained.
April snowpack boost is good news for anglers
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — With a rebounding snowpack, Denver Water officials said this week they won’t drain Antero Reservoir, in Park County, as previously planned.
“Managing water supplies through a drought is an ever-changing process,” said Dave Bennett, water resource manager for Denver Water. “While we are still in drought and need our customers to save water, the recent snow has helped our supply situation. Keeping Antero open will be a benefit to Park County and those who love to fish there. If we drained the reservoir, it would take about three years to refill.” (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Antero Reservoir, Colorado, Denver Water, drought, Park County, water | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 22, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Forest Service looking to ensure long-term viability of ski areas
With water a premium in the West, the Forest Service and ski resorts are discussing how they will administer water that originates on national forest lands. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — In comments submitted to the U.S. Forest Service, the National Ski Areas Association is suggesting a fresh start in developing a policy to determine ownership and future use of water that originates on national forest lands.
“Our new approach assumes that all previous water clauses are no longer in effect, null and void, and unenforceable. It would result in a consistent water policy across the board going forward,” said NSAA policy director Geraldine Link.
The ski industry comments came as the Forest Service held a series of hearings around the West in the early stages of developing a new water rights clause that eventually will become part of agency permits for businesses operating on public lands.
The ski industry and the Forest Service have been at odds over water rights for years, and most recently faced each other in federal court over a 2011 version of the permit language. The court said that the Forest Service failed to follow required procedures in rewriting the clause, and also noted that the agency has adopted a series of clauses that aren’t being applied consistently. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado, drought, National Ski Areas Association, ski industry, water, water rights | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 14, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
After legal showdown, agency, resorts start down collaborative path to address critical water questions
Who owns the water originating on national forest lands? Bob Berwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — After losing a court showdown, the U.S. Forest Service will restart a process to try and clarify the future of water rights associated with permitted uses on national forest lands, especially with regard to ski areas in the West. Click here to see related Summit Voice stories.
In December, a federal court ruled that the Forest Service failed to meet legal requirements when it updated the rule administratively. Now, the agency will hold a series of public meetings, starting April 16 in Denver, to take input from the public and key stakeholders. Additional meetings are set for Salt Lake City on April 17, and Lake Tahoe, Calif., on April 18. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, ski industry, skiing and riding, water | Tagged: Colorado, Public land, ski industry, Ski Resorts, U.S. Forest Service, water, water rights | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 7, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Ever wondered about mountain pine beetle genetics? Read Summit Voice.
Water, forests and more …
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — In the age of a global economy and a global environment, nearly all news is local. Case in point is last week’s report from the Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General. The IG audited the U.S. Forest Service’s oil and gas drilling program, and found that there is quite a bit of room for improvement when it comes to being prepared for potential spills, and even just keeping track of required inspections.
Since the IG’s office documented a total of almost 200 spills on national forest lands in 2010 and 2011, it’s more than just a hypothetical exercise, and with oil and gas activities expected to ramp up on the White River National Forest, there are implications close to home. Read the story here. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Dillon Reservoir, Drought, events, Frisco, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Colorado drought, Colorado news, Environment, forests, water | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 2, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Antihistimines are drying up rock-coating algae
Research shows that pharmaceutical waste is affecting basic stream ecology.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Antihistimines used to treat allergies do more than dry up runny noses. Remnant traces of the pharmaceuticals, now commonly found in many streams and rivers, are having a significant effect on basic biological processes, with as-yet unknown impacts on aquatic life and water quality.
“Pharmaceutical pollution is now detected in waters throughout the world. Causes include aging infrastructure, sewage overflows, and agricultural runoff, said Dr. Emma Rosi-Marshall, a scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, lead author of a study that examined how common pharmaceuticals influenced similar-sized streams in New York, Maryland, and Indiana.
The study looked for traces of Caffeine, the antibiotic ciprofloxacin, the antidiabetic metformin, two antihistimines used to treat heartburn (cimetidine and ranitidine), and one antihistamine used to treat allergies (diphenhydramine). (more…)
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Environment, persistent pollutants, pharmaceutical pollution, rivers, streams, water | 1 Comment »