Reclamation Releases Draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment on Ridgway Dam Hydropower Interconnection Facilities

February 27, 2013

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Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Steve McCall/Justyn Hock):

Reclamation announced today that it released a draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment on Ridgway Dam Hydropower Interconnection Facilities. The draft EA supplements the 2012 Ridgway Hydropower Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact and addresses additional details and information on the interconnection and transmission facilities.

The proposed action in the EA is to issue a license agreement and rights-of-way to Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association for construction of interconnection facilities to interconnect Tri-County Water Conservancy District hydropower facilities to the existing 115-kV transmission line that runs along U.S. Highway 550. In addition, a memorandum of agreement will be signed with Tri-County to relocate dry storage facilities and utilities operated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife as part of Ridgway State Park.

Tri-County is currently constructing the hydropower facilities at Ridgway Dam on the Uncompahgre River in Ouray County, Colo. and operates and maintains Ridgway Dam.

The draft supplemental environmental assessment is available on our website or a copy can be received by contacting Steve McCall with Reclamation in Grand Junction at (970) 248-0638 or smccall@usbr.gov.

Reclamation will consider all comments received prior to preparing a final environmental assessment. Comments can be submitted to the email address above or to: Ed Warner, Area Manager, Bureau of Reclamation, 2764 Compass Drive, Suite 106, Grand Junction, CO 81506. Comments are due by Friday, March 15, 2013.

More Uncompahgre River Watershed coverage here.


Weekly Climate, Water and Drought Assessment of the Upper Colorado River Region #codrought #coriver

February 27, 2013

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Click on the thumbnail graphic for the February 2013 precipitation summary. Click here to read all the summaries.

More Colorado River Basin coverage


Drought news: Colorado Springs to see Stage II watering restrictions starting April 1 #codrought

February 27, 2013

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From KRDO.com:

CSU said it is looking into implementing a Stage II restriction, which would limit watering to two days per week. “You don’t go on to three days a week and expect to see a savings and expect to get benefit from that, and so that’s why we’re having to go right into the two days a week,” said Abby Ortega,CSU water rights administrative supervisor.

Ortega said while the recent snow has been beneficial with respect to local soil moisture, the snowpack and moisture relied upon to replenish reservoirs remains limited. CSU said if restrictions are not implemented, water storage could drop below the designated risk tolerance threshold, which is enough water to supply the community for an entire year without additional inflow.


EPA: Fix a leak week March 18-24 #codrought

February 27, 2013

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From the Environmental Protection Agency Watersense Program:

Did you know that the average American family can waste, on average, more than 11,000 gallons of water every year due to running toilets, dripping faucets, and other household leaks?

Nationwide, more than 1 trillion gallons of water leak from U.S. homes each year. That’s why WaterSense reminds Americans to check their plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems each year during Fix a Leak Week.

WaterSense is teaming up with our partners to promote the fifth annual Fix a Leak Week, March 18-24, 2013.

From New Mexico’s search for bad flappers to leak detection efforts in Texas, West Virginia and across the nation, explore our list of some of the Fix a Leak Week 2012 events.


Forecast news: Lingering snow showers over the northern mountains today #codrought #cowx

February 27, 2013

Drought news: Augmentation water short in the Arkansas Valley this season #codrought

February 27, 2013

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Click on the thumbnail graphics for the current U.S. Drought Monitor map and the latest drought forecast from the Climate Prediction Center.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Some farmers in the Arkansas Valley who were already bracing for drought learned over the weekend that they will have no supplemental water this season. The Colorado Water Protective and Development Association mailed a letter to members Friday saying it would have no water available to supplement agricultural wells this year. “Knowing that farmers and ranchers are trying to get their plans in place by March 1, we notified them that we do not have the resources to provide water,” said Ann Lopkoff, general manager.

The engineering analysis of conditions will continue during March and April, and well owners will be notified if conditions change, but right now things do not look positive.

The decision does not affect municipal wells covered by CWPDA because there is sufficient water in storage to cover those depletions.

From the Commerce City Sentinel Express (Gene Sears):

…the keynote [at the Colorado Agriculture Big and Small Conference] featured a discussion on climate perspectives gleaned from the 2012 season. Given by Nolan Doesken, Colorado State Climatologist and Senior Research Associate, the talk highlighted the second year of drought for the state, coupled with record high temperatures. Doesken compared the recent weather patterns with other historic droughts, while assessing the long-term impacts.


Cranes make annual return to San Luis Valley

February 27, 2013

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Here’s the release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife:

In the San Luis Valley nature is now putting on one of its most memorable annual displays: the spring migration of greater sandhill cranes. In appreciation of this wildlife spectacle, area organizations, businesses and wildlife agencies are holding the 30th Annual Monte Vista Crane Festival, March 8-10.

“Everyone who lives in Colorado should see this migration stopover at least once,” said Rick Basagoitia, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in the San Luis Valley. “The sights and sounds are truly amazing.”

The cranes start arriving in mid-February, flying from their winter nesting ground in Socorro, New Mexico. Large wetland areas and grain fields in the San Luis Valley draw in about 25,000 birds every year. The cranes stop in the valley to rest-up and fuel-up for their trip north to their summer nesting and breeding grounds in northern Idaho, western Wyoming and northwest Colorado.

Cranes are among the oldest living species on the planet: Fossil records for cranes date back 9 million years.

The birds that migrate through Colorado are the largest of the North American sandhill subspecies standing 4-feet tall, having a wing-span of up to 7 feet and weighing in at 11 pounds. Besides their imposing size, the birds issue a continuous, distinctive and haunting call. At this time of year cranes are engaged in their mating ritual and the birds perform an elegant hopping dance as they attempt to gain the attention of other birds.

The birds are abundant in areas near the town of Monte Vista and are easy to spot. Wildlife watchers can see the birds most readily in the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge and in the Rio Grande, Higel and Russell Lakes state wildlife areas.

During the three days of the festival, free tours are offered at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the birds are most active. Visitors take buses to various spots on the wildlife refuge, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staffers talk about the migration and the refuge.

The number of cranes in the valley peaks in mid-March and many linger through the month. So, even if you can’t go the weekend of the festival there’s still plenty of time to see the birds.

Birdwatchers who travel on their own should be cautious when parking, getting out of vehicles and walking along roads. People are also asked to view birds from a distance with binoculars and spotting scopes, and to observe trail signs and closure notices.

Many other bird species – including eagles, turkeys and a variety of waterfowl – can also be seen in the area.

The festival headquarters and starting point for the tours is the Ski Hi Park building located near U.S. Highway 160 on Sherman Avenue on the east side of Monte Vista. Visitors can pick up maps, schedules and information at the headquarters. Besides the tours, a variety of workshops are put on by bird, wildlife and photography experts. An arts and crafts fair continues through the weekend at the headquarters building.

The crane festival is organized by the local crane festival committee, with help from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rio Grande County, SLV Ski Hi Stampede, Monte Vista school district, and the city of Monte Vista.

Approximate distances to Monte Vista: Denver, 220 miles; Colorado Springs, 182 miles; Salida, 85 miles; Vail, 175 miles; Durango, 135 miles; Grand Junction, 230 miles.

For more information on the Monte Vista Crane Festival, see: http://www.cranefest.com.

More Rio Grande River Basin coverage here.


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