Gunnison Ag Producers’ Water Future Workshop, May 3 #COWaterPlan

Ag Workshop Gunnison Flyer

Click here to register.

From the announcement:

A Gunnison Basin Ag Producers’ Water Future Workshop will take place on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Delta-Montrose Technical College in the Enterprise Room. The Colorado Water Plan encourages the use of “alternative transfer methods” to keep water in agriculture while addressing the anticipated gap in future water supply given projected population growth. What does this mean for agricultural water users in the Gunnison Basin? Irrigators will hear about opportunities for cost sharing of efficiency improvements, water leasing programs, and concerns about “use it or lose it” at this workshop sponsored by the Colorado Ag Water Alliance with assistance from Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and CSU’s Colorado Water Institute.

Brief presentations will be followed by dialogue in which agricultural producers will have a chance to discuss challenges and barriers to these opportunities. Those presenting include Carlyle Currier from the Colorado Ag Water Alliance, Frank Kugel from the Gunnison Basin Roundtable, State Engineer Dick Wolfe, Perry Cabot from Colorado State University Extension, Aaron Derwingson from The Nature Conservancy, Phil Brink from Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, and MaryLou Smith from CSU’s Colorado Water Institute.

Montrose County ponies up $50,000 for whitewater park engineering

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From the Montrose Daily Press (Will Hearst):

The greater Montrose community came one step closer to a collaborative application for a Great Outdoors Colorado grant Tuesday, after the city locked in an agreement with Montrose County for $50,000 toward the engineering of the whitewater park project.

All five city council members voted to accept the $50,000 offered, which will not only help cover the upfront design costs, but make for a much stronger application to GOCO because of the multi-agency participation. In exchange, the county asked that the city contribute an equal amount to an improvement project in the future to the fairgrounds or other county asset.

Councilor Bob Nicholson, while on board with the plan, hesitated at the way a letter worded the county’s agreement. Nicholson said he was more than willing to keep the city’s side of the bargain, but had assumed the county would ask for repayment only for fairgrounds improvements.

More Uncompahgre River coverage here and here.

Montrose: The Montrose County Commissioners endorse the the town’s whitewater park application

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From The Telluride Watch (Katie O’Hare):

City Councilors and the Montrose Recreation District board asked county commissioners to the table on July 31 to discuss if the county was willing – and at what cost – to support a project that would include creating a whitewater park along the Uncompaghre River at Riverbottom Park.

The city teamed up with MRD hoping to submit a Great Outdoors Colorado grant application by Aug. 29 that could provide $350,000 toward the project, which includes improvements to the MRD’s ball fields and surrounding areas, also in Riverbottom Park.

“In principal, it’s all about improving the community for all of us,” said Kerwin Jensen, City of Montrose community development director.

After a two-hour meeting, commissioners David White and Gary Ellis – who did most of the talking for the county – agreed to put the request for funding help on their regular commissioner meeting agenda for Monday, Aug. 6…

The city staff stressed the economic benefits the county could see from having a whitewater park in Montrose, which included increased tourism and new businesses to cater to those visitors, as well as the recreational opportunity it would provide county residents.

“Economic development is number one in our strategic plan, and things like this contribute to that,” Commissioner David White said.

Uncompahgre River: Work begins on $22 million South Canal hydroelectric generation project

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From the Montrose Daily Press (Will Hearst):

Ground was officially and symbolically broken Friday along Montrose’s South Canal just below the outflow of the Gunnison Tunnel for a $22 million hydroelectric project…The project will actually consist of two sites separated by a little more than a mile. The sites were selected from five identified more than 20 years ago as having a gradient steep enough to efficiently generate power without requiring a dam. From those two sites, DMEA will produce more than 6,000 kilowatts of power, which converts to 27 million kilowatt hours of electricity — enough to power more than 3,000 homes.

More hydroelectric coverage here and here.

The City of Montrose is hoping that Montrose County will pitch in some dough for a whitewater park on the Uncompahre River

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From the Montrose Daily Press (Katie O’Hare):

“We have a lot of requests this year, but we can put it in with the other requests in preparing for our budget season,” Commissioner David White said.

City officials are seeking the county’s help to build a proposed white water park on the river. White said he was leery about allocating the money to the white water park after the county just recently completed it fairgrounds master plan, which includes several capital improvement projects…

Although the park is projected to cost between $600,000 to $900,000, Erickson said the annual economic benefits the area would realize would be far greater.

More whitewater coverage here.

New whitewater park for Montrose?

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From The Telluride Watch (Peter Shelton):

Now retired from competition and fresh from the opening of the 2012 Olympic kayaking venue in London, which was built by his firm, S2O Design of Boulder, [Scott] Shipley made a pitch for a family-oriented whitewater park on the Uncompahgre River at Upper Cerise (Riverbottom) Park.

City Park Planner Dennis Erickson hosted the event at the Pavilion, which also included a presentation by lead planner Ann Christensen of DHM Design in Durango, who introduced the draft plan. Also on hand was Gabe Preston of CPI Consulting, who led the group in a keypad polling exercise on priorities within the draft plan.

Participants indicated their preferences – high priority, medium or low – for a number of goals being considered in the plan, including: developing new city-owned parks on the northern third of the 10-mile-long river corridor, building more pedestrian bridges across the river, connecting downtown Main Street more directly to the river, building tails to link existing and future parks, acquiring private property for river improvements, and preservation/enhancement of the river ecosystem.

A whitewater park scored high on the list. But the highest priority for the public on this night was clearly trails, bicycle/pedestrian trails, to connect parks and link existing segments of river trail, thereby providing alternate-transportation routes, not just for recreation, but for commuting and shopping as well.

More whitewater coverage <a href="

Ridgway: Spotted knapweed or herbicides on Uncompahgre River riparian areas through town?

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From The Telluride Watch (Gus Jarvis):

Majority opinion in Ridgway has forbidden the use of herbicides within town limits in the battle to eradicate weeds to the point where Town Council has passed a resolution that states that no chemical herbicides may be used. The problem, according to Mabry, is that the spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa), a non-native species, is spreading like wildfire along the banks of the river and something needs to be done about it. Spotted knapweed is designated as a “List B” species on the Colorado Noxious Weed Act and it is required to be either eradicated, contained, ore suppressed depending on the infestation. “My biggest concern is the spotted knapweed down along the river,” Mabry declared at council’s March 17 work session, showing pictures from last summer proving the weed has a stranglehold on the riverbanks. “As you can see, it is forming a monoculture by forcing out all the native species down there. I see this as a critical problem.”

More invasive species coverage here and here.