Colorado’s Green Industry Donates $100,000 to Support CSU Horticulture Research

February 3, 2013

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From Colorado State University (Jennifer Dimas):

Leaders of the state’s green industry – encompassing all the plant producers and professional services that bring to life yards, gardens, golf courses and public spaces – have donated nearly $100,000 to Colorado State University for research in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.
The donation will be invested, and annual earnings from the endowment will provide a steady flow of research funding for many years to come.

A group of Colorado industry associations jointly provided the gift. The group has annually funded research for nearly four decades; the endowment will allow a continuation of this support in perpetuity.
The funding will continue to bolster research of special interest to the green industry, said Stephen Wallner, head of the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

“This research support is a nice example of partnerships our department and land-grant university have with Colorado agriculture. Our department is pleased to support industry needs with new discoveries, which ultimately help not only producers, but also home and public gardeners,” Wallner said. “We particularly appreciate this dependable research funding, which will continue in perpetuity.”

Donna Ralston, former executive director of the GreenCo Foundation and a leader in providing the donation, said the green industry is especially interested in research that suggests solutions to water scarcity for lawns and gardens.

“Most of the issues in the industry revolve around water conservation, water use and plants that are more drought-tolerant in our semi-arid climate. We’re interested in understanding everything from plant varieties to better irrigation techniques,” Ralston said. “Our industry continues to evolve, and research findings are critical to that.”

The green industry is a critical component of Colorado agriculture.

Total revenues for the green industry were estimated to be about $1.8 billion dollars in 2007, according to the most recent economic survey. The green industry provided almost 35,000 jobs with $1.2 billion dollars in payroll, the survey showed.

The industry encompasses the following sectors: landscape architecture, landscape contracting, nurseries and greenhouses, garden centers, sod production, lawn care professionals, and tree and shrub care.
“By donating these assets to an endowment established through the CSU Foundation, we can continue to support horticulture research that benefits the entire green industry for years to come,” said Troy Sibelius, former president of the GreenCo Foundation.


Lake Mead: Quaggas have become the dominant lake-bottom organism #coriver

February 3, 2013

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Here’s a report about the recent USGS assessment of water quality at Lake Mead, from Bob Berwyn writing for the Summit County Citizens Voice. Here’s an excerpt:

Overall, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said that Lake Mead’s water quality is good and that fish populations are holding their own. Lake Mead is even providing habitat for an increasing number of birds. But the report also acknowledges that invasive quagga mussels have become the dominant lake-bottom organism, posing significant threat to the Lake Mojave and Lake Mead ecosystems. The report also acknowledges the long-term threat of climate change, which will bring reduced water supplies to the entire Colorado River Basin.

“While the Lake Mead ecosystem is generally healthy and robust, the minor problems documented in the report are all being addressed by the appropriate agencies, and are showing substantial improvement since the mid 1990′s,” said U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist Michael Rosen.

Major findings detailed in the report include the following:

  • Basic water-quality parameters are within good ranges of Nevada and Arizona standards and EPA lake criteria. Potential problems with nutrient balance, algae, and dissolved oxygen can occur at times and in some areas of Lake Mead. The Lake Mead-wide scope of monitoring provides a solid baseline to characterize water quality now and in the future.
  • Legacy contaminants are declining due to regulations and mitigation efforts in Las Vegas Wash. Emerging contaminants, including endocrine disrupting compounds, are present in low concentrations. While emerging contaminants, such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products, or plasticizers have been documented to cause a number of health effects to individual fish, they are not seen at concentrations currently known to pose a threat to human health. In comparison to other reservoirs studied by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lake Mead is well within the highest or ‘good’ category for recreation and aquatic health.
  • Lake Mead and Lake Mohave continue to provide habitat conditions that support a rich diversity of species within the water, along shorelines, and in adjacent drainage areas, including organisms that are both native and non-native to the Colorado River drainage.
  • Sport fish populations appear stable and have reached a balance with reservoir operations over the past 20 years and are sufficient to support important recreational fishing opportunities. Native fish populations within Lake Mohave are declining, but the small native fish populations in Lake Mead are, stable without any artificial replenishment.
  • Lake Mead and Lake Mohave provide important migration and wintering habitat for birds. Trends include increasing numbers of wintering bald eagles and nesting peregrine falcons. Lake Mead water-level fluctuations have produced a variety of shorebird habitats, but songbird habitats are limited. Although some contaminants have been documented in birds and eggs in Las Vegas Wash, mitigation efforts are making a positive change.
  • Invasive quagga mussels have become the dominant lake-bottom organism and are a significant threat to the ecosystems of Lake Mead and Lake Mohave because they have potential
to alter water quality and food-web dynamics. Although they increase water clarity, they can degrade recreational settings.
  • Climate models developed for the Colorado River watershed indicate a high probability for longer periods of reduced snowpack and therefore water availability for the Lake Mead in the future. Federal, state and local agencies, and individuals and organizations interested the future of the water supply and demand imbalance are working together to examine strategies to mitigate future conditions.

  • H.R. 267 — Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013 passes the House Energy and Commerce Committee

    February 3, 2013

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    From The Telluride Daily Planet (Collin McRann):

    The bill is called The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013, and it is getting close to being put to a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill was reintroduced to the House on Jan. 15, and then put to committee review. By Jan. 22, the House Energy and Commerce Committee granted approval for the bill, which means it’s on track to be considered by the House. Last year the House unanimously passed a bill with identical wording, but it failed to pass the Senate.

    U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) co-sponsored the bill, and one of its major supporters is the Colorado Small Hydro Association.

    “We’re expecting it to move through the House fairly quickly,” said Ophir’s Kurt Johnson, who is president of the Colorado Small Hydro Association. “There haven’t been any substance disagreements with the bill. The question is, what’s the broader context? But if it gets through the House it would then get referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.”

    Johnson said he hopes the bill is able to make it through the House as quickly as it did last year due to its noncontroversial nature. He said ideally, the bill would be before the Senate by this spring or early summer.

    Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton said in a press release that he wants senators to take notice of actions in the House and quickly pass the small hydro bill, along with four other bills his committee approved.

    “There could be a number of things that could happen in the Senate,” Johnson said. “It could go through different hearings and end up in some broader energy package, but it’s hard to say — it’s still too soon.”

    The bill’s main focus is to simplify the permitting of small hydroelectric power projects, mainly those generating fewer than than 5-megawatts of electricity. The bill states that only about 3 percent of the nation’s 80,000 dams currently generate hydropower. With Colorado’s many small streams and rivers, the Small Hydro Association estimates that around 200-megawatts of new, potential hydroelectric development is possible in the state.

    More hydroelectric coverage here and here.


    Drought/snowpack: ‘We have some real concerns about the availability of water in the Arkansas Valley’ — Steve Witte #codrought

    February 3, 2013

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    From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

    As the drought moves into its third year in the Arkansas River basin, there are concerns about having enough water to meet typical needs. “We have some real concerns about the availability of water in the Arkansas Valley,” Water Division 2 Engineer Steve Witte told a state forum last week.

    Witte spoke as part of a panel of the state’s seven division engineers at the Colorado Water Congress annual convention. Divisions are determined by water basins in Colorado.

    The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor shows the entire Arkansas Valley east of Pueblo is in the worst stage of drought in the nation, and projections offer little hope for relief. Water supply could be further crippled because snowpack remains below average. This means less water than normal will be coming from the Colorado River basin through transmountain diversions.

    Compounding the problem are:
    ● The winter water storage program, which allows farmers to use water at optimum points in the growing season, is at its lowest point in 25 years.
    ● Less water is available for lease by farmers.
    The Pueblo Board of Water Works and Colorado Springs plan to rebuild storage supplies this year.
    ● There is more demand for Fryingpan­Arkansas Project return flows, even though less water is available.

    Ironically, Colorado has a 57,600 acre­foot surplus in delivery of water to Kansas under the Arkansas River Compact. “It was so dry this year that Kansas did not take any deliveries from John Martin Reservoir,” Witte said. The surplus is recorded on a 10­year average, and Colorado is planning on slowly adjusting the formula to determine presumptive depletions from well pumping. Witte said one bright spot is that less water for replacement by farmers is needed under surface irrigation rules designed to hold consumptive use in check. If farmers can find the water.

    From the Boulder Daily Camera (Alex Burness):

    The few inches of snow that fell on Boulder late Monday night and early Tuesday boosted the season’s total to 24.5 inches. Winter sports aficionados welcomed the snow, as a mild winter has left Boulder almost 3 feet short of the total accumulation at this time last year, according to meteorologist Matt Kelsch, of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. The storm dropped 2.9 inches of snow in Boulder, 4 inches in Louisville and just 1 inch in Nederland, Kelsch reported Tuesday.

    Nonprofit ski industry trade organization Colorado Ski Country USA reported that all of the state’s 21 ski and snowboard resorts received new snow, though the Front Range got the least of it. While resorts such as Steamboat, Powderhorn and Sunlight all reported at least 20 inches, Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain and Eldora all had fewer than 6 inches of snow…

    February and March historically have accounted for more than 25 inches of snowfall, giving Boulder plenty of time to catch up. Last February alone accounted for more than 32 inches.

    From Steamboat Today (Nicole Inglis):

    With just 8 inches of snow falling through Jan. 24, last month was about to go down in Steamboat Ski Area history as the driest January in more than 30 years. By the time January officially came to a close Thursday night, the month ended with a respectable — but still below average — 56.5 inches of snow. Historically the snowiest month of the year, January typically brings an average of 74.89 inches to the slopes of the Steamboat Ski Area…

    Including the 4 inches that were reported Friday, the ski area has received 197.25 inches of snow this season, with two-and-a-half months left of lift-served skiing. Last year at this time, only 110 inches had fallen.

    From The Denver Post (Brandon Swedlund):

    Snowfall is not uncommon this month, but snow events are not as strong as late autumn and early spring storms. Denver averages a little less than 6 inches of snow during February, which is the sixth highest throughout the year. High temperatures can also fluctuate, but on average continue to warm throughout the month. The latest forecast from the Climate Prediction Center calls for near to above normal temperatures with near to below normal precipitation across Denver and much of northeastern Colorado.

    As was expected, the weather pattern in Denver during January was largely dry with fluctuating temperatures. About 4 inches of snow fell last month at DIA, with the bulk of it coming late in the day on Jan. 28 into the early morning of Jan. 29.


    Cañon City: Cotter Corp, Inc. gets Colorado’s blessing to decommission their mill site at Lincoln Park

    February 3, 2013

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    From the Cañon City Daily Record (Rachel Alexander):

    Cotter applied for termination of its operating license in January 2012 after announcing it did not intend to resume uranium milling operations at the site. Therefore, the license was amended to delete references to operations and to shift existing requirements from operations to decommissioning and reclamation.

    “Amending Cotter’s license coordinates regulatory activities and the facility decommissioning and closure process,” said Gary Baughman, Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division director. “The state, EPA and Cotter will now focus on the planning and work that needs to be done to successfully terminate the license, close out the Consent Decree from 1988 and remove the site from the National Priorities List.”

    Because Cotter is no longer authorized to operate the mill, the license was amended to delete references to operations and to shift existing requirements from operations to decommissioning and reclamation.

    More Lincoln Park/Cotter Mill coverage here and here.


    Colorado Springs Utilities’ funds to pay for stormwater facilities?

    February 3, 2013

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    From the Colorado Springs Independent (J. Adrian Stanley):

    After the election, Council did away with the Stormwater Enterprise and its hated “fees,” but quickly found a loophole that allowed Utilities to continue paying the city about $31 million a year.

    Now, Mayor Steve Bach is seeking an even bigger loophole in Issue 300 — one that would allow Utilities to foot the bill for $687 million in needed city stormwater projects. That funding is especially crucial after the Waldo Canyon Fire, because flooding off the burn scar this spring is expected to be catastrophic.

    In a recent interview with the Independent, City Attorney Chris Melcher said he had brainstormed several ways to get the money on Bach’s behalf, including: charging Utilities for the use of city land and water rights; reducing Utilities’ overhead costs and passing the savings on to the city; and creating an entirely new utilities service with its own charges (much like water or electric).

    Echoing Bach, Melcher said he believes Utilities can fork over the money without increasing rates.

    Yet Utilities spokespeople and City Council President Scott Hente — both of whom are also supposed to be represented by the city attorney — say it’s virtually impossible.

    “[Bach and Melcher] think there’s this pot at the end of the rainbow laden with money, and it’s there for the taking,” Hente says. “It shows their complete lack of experience in dealing with large organizations that have large business and large obligations.”

    During his campaign for mayor in 2011, Bach pledged not to raise taxes while in office. But the right thing to do for stormwater, Hente argues, is to ask for an increase…

    Of all Melcher’s ideas for making Utilities pay, the most intriguing involves water and property ownership.

    “Remember, the city owns the water,” Melcher says. “The city provides — all the water rights of the entire city are held in the name of the city, so the city provides the water to the utility company. The city also provides free access to all the right-of-ways in the city to the utility.

    “For example, if you have a private utility, they pay taxes, [a] right-of-way fee, [a] franchise fee. So there’s a number of different things that need to be examined and researched to see if there are funds or monies that could be available for other purposes, such as stormwater.”

    Of course, Utilities already pays the aforementioned $31 million to the city annually to cover some of these costs; Melcher just believes more may be justified.

    But asking a municipally owned utility to pay for the use of city water rights appears to be unusual. The Independent contacted four Colorado water attorneys on the issue to see if such a scenario was legal, or had been used before. Two said they didn’t know the answer and wouldn’t comment anyway, because their work was connected to Utilities. The other two did not call back. Utilities’ own lawyers could not comment objectively on the issue because Melcher is their boss.

    The Independent also called water service offices in Pueblo, Aurora and Denver. Each utility owns its own water rights.

    The Colorado Municipal League says it doesn’t know enough about its member cities to comment on such an issue. The American Water Works Association did not return phone calls.

    Only Aurora Water offers any guidance. Spokesperson Greg Baker says that leaders in his organization aren’t sure about the legality of charging for water rights, but they think such a scenario could run into problems with the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and the state constitution, given language about the separation of municipalities and their enterprises…

    Utilities spokespeople roundly object to the notion that the business is a cash cow ripe for the slaughter.

    Nor do they buy into the notion that they haven’t done enough for their hometown. Spokesperson Steve Berry notes that Utilities already performs city stormwater projects, because they often protect pipes from damage. Those projects also incidentally benefit bridges, roads and neighborhoods. This year alone, Utilities will spend $12.8 million on such projects.

    As for extra money, Utilities is about $30 million short in funding for its own capital projects this year, due to a sagging economy. That means fewer upgrades and less maintenance to the system, and a greater risk of costly failures.

    If Utilities were suddenly saddled with paying for all the city’s stormwater issues, Berry says, rates would have to increase to cover those bills. And Utilities could be hit in another way, too, through higher interest rates on its billions in debt.

    “The more you start bringing in another function, what then does that do to your ability to borrow at a low interest rate?” Berry asks. “Because that’s considered increased risk.”

    More stormwater coverage here.


    Mancos Water Conservancy District water workshop recap

    February 3, 2013

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    From The Mancos Times (Jeanne Archambeault):

    Gary Kennedy, superintendent of the Mancos Water Conservancy District (MWCD) , started the day off with a talk about the organization and what it does for the Mancos Valley. He gave information and statistics about Jackson Gulch Reservoir – how much water it can hold, what it holds now, and where the water comes from. He said the MWCD is #36 priority for water and can capture about 250 cubic feet of water from the Mancos River between March and May. The MWCD fills water priorities as they come up and are called in…

    Mike Rich, of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) gave a talk about what’s been going on in the last 10 years with the Mancos River and the watershed that surrounds it.

    Then, Kirsten Brown, of the Colorado Department of Reclamation Mining and Safety, and Cathy Zillich, of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) gave an extensive talk about the East Mancos River and the mining impacts on it. Ann Oliver talked about the Middle Mancos River and the management measures they are doing.

    George San Miguel talked about the part of the Mancos River that runs through Mesa Verde National Park, and Colin Laird, a water quality specialist, talked about the lower watershed on the Ute Mountain Ute land.

    The workshop was the beginning of an an ongoing discussion. There will be more workshops and informational sessions to come.

    More Mancos River Watershed coverage here.


    Ongoing Research Illustrates Benefits of Acequias

    February 3, 2013

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    From the New Mexico Acequia Association (Quita Ortiz):

    For the past decade, Dr. Sam Fernald, a watershed management professor in the Range Sciences Department at New Mexico State University, has led an effort to research acequias, New Mexico’s centuries-old irrigation and water governance system, in the community of Alcalde in Rio Arriba County, specifically surrounding the hydrology characteristics of acequias and how they interact with shallow groundwater. This acequia hydrology research dates back to the early 2000’s and a few years later a land use change analysis in Alcalde was incorporated into Dr. Fernald’s hydrology research to gain a better understanding of how land use change can impact water management, riparian ecosystems, and acequia culture. Knowing that acequias were at particular risk due to increasing urbanization pressures and the potential impacts on actual water use, water quality, and riparian vegetation along irrigation ditches and streams, the connections between land use and water management were apparent.

    Dr. Fernald’s early hydrology studies were promising for acequias, indicating a reciprocal relationship between flood irrigating and groundwater recharge as well as contributing to the riparian vegetation in our communities, generating ecosystem services by providing a diverse habitat for wildlife. He’s been persistent at obtaining funds to continue and expand this research and was successful in obtaining a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which is currently funding a four-year multidisciplinary research effort to model the sustainability of acequias. This study is taking acequias into account as holistic systems that link water, environment, and cultural livelihood. This research aims to understand how and why acequias have remained resilient in face of urbanization, ever increasing water demands, and climate change. Project partners include NMSU, UNM, New Mexico Tech, Sandia Laboratories, and the New Mexico Acequia Association.

    The human aspect of acequias has now become part of this process and researchers are now studying acequias in a much more inclusive manner, characterizing them as the sustainable water management systems that they embody. Furthermore, they’re being researched on a larger geographic scale by establishing the link between the valleys that acequias irrigate and their upland watershed, not only as the source of water but also taking into account the land base from which acequia users harvest timber and graze livestock.

    The current research effort, which is now in its third year, expanded the study site from Alcalde to also include acequias along the El Rito (Rio Chama tributary) and Rio Hondo (Rio Grande tributary) stream systems in north central New Mexico. All three sites support acequia-related activities, but they differ in their physical geography, water availability, and spatial patterns such as proximity to urban centers.

    There are number of threats to acequia communities that have been identified including population growth, climate change, and policies that regulate land and water resources. Acequias have a good track record for their ability to adapt to changes that have been induced largely by urbanization and modified economic structures. But they are now facing challenges with increased intensity and complexity. Examples include prolonged drought and determined water markets aimed at transferring water out of rural communities to other uses.

    Using different modeling approaches, the hydrology results show that seepage from earthen ditches and field percolation recharge the shallow aquifer. This, in turn, becomes groundwater flow for future use as it holds the water upstream for a longer period. Floodplain models indicate that groundwater recharge would be affected if earthen canals and their related activities were eliminated, reducing overall aquifer recharge. So even though there are technologies that are intended to conserve water, they don’t address the fact that there’s a key connection between surface and groundwater supplies. Drip irrigation, for example, might conserve upfront water use, but it’s also allowing more water to run downstream sooner.

    Dr. José Rivera, a UNM professor at the School of Architecture and Planning, has led the sociocultural research surrounding this study and was assisted by retired UNM professor, Dr. Sylvia Rodriguez, and the New Mexico Acequia Association staff. Focus groups were conducted in summer 2012 at the different study sites and gleaned a wealth of sociocultural data surrounding acequia water sharing and distribution customs; water governance; food, seed and agriculture traditions; land use and land ownership trends; livestock and ranching trends; and mutualism, which involves community cohesion such as shared cultural values and participation in other community endeavors (for example, livestock associations and mutual domestic water associations). In other words, this facet of the research attempts to understand why acequias maintain their traditions despite the many external forces working against rural livelihoods.

    Other data that were incorporated into this study include economics and land use. Future steps include integrating all of the quantifiable data into a model which can then simulate different scenarios that depict the sustainability of acequias. This involves using the two major stressors, population growth and climate change, to determine amount of stress that would impose irreversible impacts to the entire system. Hopefully this data will provide acequias with a framework that assists them in recognizing steps that would help to evade potential negative scenarios. The goal of this research is to determine how acequias can provide insight into resource sustainability by understanding their capacity to adapt; and identify potential strategies for acequias to continue adapting to ongoing changes in the areas of economics, resource policy, and climate change.
    From an academic perspective, we’re beginning to understand the relationship between acequia irrigation ditches and the natural environment at the regional watershed scale. Most acequia research endeavors to date have been segregated into different fields—policy, local water governance, water rights adjudication, water transfers, land use change, agricultural economics, etc. However, this study is the first in New Mexico that views acequias as the complex system that they symbolize. An acequia is not simply an irrigation ditch; rather it represents a multifaceted system characterized by humans that have historically worked with the environment in a sustainable manner by combining water governance, agriculture, resource management, and cultural identity.

    As part of this NSF-funded research effort, the group will host a symposium, “Acequias and the Future of Resilience in Global Perspective” which is being coordinated by Dr. Sylvia Rodriguez. It will bring together scholars from around the world to share their research on similar human-environment systems. The symposium will be followed by a workshop featuring panelists that are working on acequias issues in New Mexico to discuss the future steps that are necessary regarding research and policy to ensure ongoing acequia resiliency. It will be held at the Las Cruces Convention Center on March 2nd and 3rd. To register for this event visit http://globalperspectives2013.wrri.nmsu.edu/. If you have questions about this event or this project, feel free to contact NMAA.

    More Rio Grande River Basin coverage here.


    Fraser River: Denver Water’s Moffat Collection System Project is focus of short film from Trout Unlimited #coriver

    February 3, 2013

    From The Denver Post Spot Blog (Lynn Bartels):

    “It’s a lighthearted effort to highlight a serious problem: diversions are killing the Fraser River,” David Nickum, executive director of Colorado Trout Unlimited, said in a news release.

    “Trout and other aquatic life need cold, clean water to survive,” said Nickum. “But at present, Denver Water is sucking many tributaries to the Fraser completely dry through its Moffat Tunnel Collection System. We’re in danger of destroying a priceless state resource and major recreation area for Front Range residents. Coloradans need to tell Denver Water: don’t kill the river.”[...]

    “Denver residents care about our mountain resources — as customers, we’re asking Denver Water to be a good steward of these resources,” said Becky Long of Conservation Colorado…

    “Denver Water understands the importance of a healthy river,” said spokeswoman Stacy Chesney. “We understand that water supply projects do have impacts, but not only will we offset those impacts through required mitigation, but also we will go above and beyond to make the river better.”

    Here’s the release from Colorado Trout Unlimited (David Nickum):

    Denver Water already sucks 60% of the annual flows from the Fraser River, and they now want to take more: another 15%. Sign the Defend the Colorado petition today and tell Denver that before they take more water, they need to protect the Fraser River. Tell Denver Water: Don’t Suck the Fraser River Dry!

    If you see a lost-looking trout walking the streets of downtown Denver in coming weeks, don’t be alarmed. He’s just looking for some water. Any water.

    He urgently needs your help.

    We recently filmed this trout’s sad dilemma. Left high and dry in the Fraser Valley, where Denver Water is sucking the life out of the Fraser River and its tributaries, our refugee trout hitchhiked to Denver to try to find out who moved his water and where he can get a few drops.

    Check out the short video– it’s a lighthearted effort to highlight a serious problem: Denver Water is diverting the Fraser River to death…

    You might not know that much of Denver’s water comes from across the Continental Divide, in Grand County, where the Moffat pipeline each year drains 60 percent of the Fraser River’s annual flows, leaving dozens of tributaries sucked completely dry. Denver Water’s proposed expansion of that pipeline would take another 15 percent of flows, leaving an already damaged river on life support.

    It’s not just trout and wildlife at risk—our mountain towns and state tourism economy are also threatened. If you love to fish, ski, raft, hike, camp or otherwise recreate in the mountains, this hits you where you live.

    We simply can’t keep sucking the lifeblood out of the Fraser and expect it to remain a living river.

    If Denver Water is to move forward with the Moffat expansion, they must take steps to ensure it is done in a way that won’t destroy the Fraser River. For months, a coalition of conservation organizations, landowners, and recreation businesses have been calling on Denver Water to take a few responsible, cost-effective steps to protect the Fraser:

  • ensure healthy “flushing” flows in the river to clean out silt and algae.
  • avoid taking water during high water temperatures, when trout and aquatic life are vulnerable.
  • monitor the river’s health and take action as needed to prevent further declines.
  • We’ve presented these concerns to Denver Water, but so far they’ve been unwilling to work with us to adopt this common-sense package of protections.

    This is where you come in. Denver Water will listen to their customers. We need Denver-area residents—and anyone who cares about Colorado’s rivers and wild places—to tell Denver Water that you want them to “finish the job” of protecting the Fraser River.

    Please—go right now to the Defend the Colorado webpage to sign a petition asking Denver Water board members to protect the Fraser. We know they will respond to public pressure—but that means you need to take a few minutes and sign the petition. It will make a difference for the Fraser River and for our homeless trout, but only if you act now.

    Denver Water won’t act if they think Coloradans don’t know enough or care enough to demand a higher level of river stewardship.

    So do something good for our rivers today. Sign the petition and tell Denver Water: don’t suck—protect the Fraser River.

    More Moffat Collection System Project coverage here.


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