People & Organizations

Salazar Retiring

Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar is retiring at the end of the year. The San Luis Valley resident and sixth-generation farmer and rancher pointed to several achievements while serving as the state’s chief of agriculture since 2011, including consolidating the department’s divisions. He also highlighted double-agriculture exports from Colorado producers over 2009 levels.

Harris Steps Down, Wolff Appointed as Next SW Colorado CWRPDA Representative

After 16 years being the appointee from southwest Colorado on the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority Board of Directors (CWRPDA), Steve Harris, with Harris Water Engineering in Durango, is stepping down from this position—his term expired in October. Robert (Bob) Wolff was appointed by the Governor in November to be the next representative from southwest Colorado to serve a 4 year term beginning at the January Board meeting after confirmation by the Senate Ag Committee.

Cortez: McPhee Reservoir

Montezuma County is interested in taking over recreation management of McPhee Reservoir. Frustrated by the lack of services, County Commissioners urged San Juan National Forest supervisor Kara Chadwick to convey land and management of three key facilities (McPhee boat ramp, House Creek, and Sage Hen areas) of the reservoir. “In the last 15 years, services have digressed at the lake to near nothing, so it behooves us to look at taking over management,” said Commissioner Keenan Ertel.

Durango: Wastewater-Plant Upgrade Deadline Extended

The city’s wastewater-treatment plant will not have to make millions of dollars worth of improvements by 2017 to meet new clean water guidelines. This came after negotiations with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. While all the estimated $55 million upgrades will have to be made, the state health department agreed to extend the city’s deadline until 2023.

Pagosa Springs: Drilling and Grant Approved for Geothermal Project

At their December meeting the Pagosa Area Geothermal Water and Power Authority (PAGWPA) formally accepted a grant for nearly $2 million from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA). According to the grant agreement, DOLA will give PAGWPA $1,986,000 from the Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Fund “to confirm the presence of geothermal resources whereby such geothermal resources can be developed as a possible power source for the area.” The purpose of the Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Program is to help political subdivisions that are socially or economically affected by the oil and gas industry.

Telluride: Pandora Water Treatment Plant Up and Running

Twenty years after the Pandora Water Treatment Plant was proposed by local officials concerned about long-term municipal water supply, the facility is up and running, generating clean water. The Pandora Water Treatment Plant valves were opened on October 24th and everything worked, Telluride Public Works Director Paul Ruud said.


Shuffield New PRID Manager

Brian Shuffield is the new Superintendent of the Pine River Irrigation District (PRID) at Vallecito Reservoir north of Bayfield. He began his work there earlier this year. Prior to working with PRID, Brian was employed with Western Energy Services of Durango.

PRID Installs New Bubbler System

The Pine River Irrigation District (PRID) recently installed a bubbler system at Lake Vallecito. The system prevents freezing around the rubber seals of the flood gates and the gates themselves.

Colorado River and Southwestern Water Conservation Districts

The two water conservation districts that comprise the entire Colorado River basin in Colorado adopted implementation principles concerning how the current, extended drought conditions are addressed on the Colorado River’s storage system.
 
The Colorado River and Southwestern Water Conservation Districts met in a special joint meeting on September 18th in Montrose, CO to address the ongoing drought conditions in the Colorado River basin and its effects on storage and operations of Lakes Powell and Mead. The two boards unanimously adopted a recommended priority for a contingency plan in response to extraordinarily low reservoir levels. The boards resolved that changes in federal reservoir operations and additional investment in river augmentation programs must be the first priority.
 

Dolores River Restoration Partnership

The Dolores River Restoration Partnership (DRRP) has been awarded $50,000 to continue its work eradicating tamarisk along the river. The group's Tamarisk Coalition, along with The Nature Conservancy, and BLM, have worked with the Southwest Conservation Corps, and Canyon Country Youth Corps to hire and train more than 200 youth to implement and monitor much of the restoration work. As a result of their efforts, the DRRP has been selected as the winner of the 2014 Colorado Collaboration Award. The $50,000 prize recognizes excellence and innovation in nonprofit partnerships.

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