People & Organizations

Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs Steps Down

After almost two decades on the bench, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs officially retired on August 31st. When Governor Romer appointed Hobbs to the state’s highest court in 1996, it was the realization of a career-long goal for the attorney. But Greg jokes a little about the day he learned he would be Romer’s pick. When asked why he should appoint Hobbs to the Court, Greg replied that he holds the institutional knowledge of the various panels that work on natural resources issues, he’s drafted bills for the Legislature, and he has worked collaboratively with citizens’ boards and commissions. That’s what Romer wanted—someone who knew how to get along with what was then a fractious group. Upon appointing him, however, Romer said “Get a tie—a real tie.” Twenty years later Greg is still known for wearing his characteristic bolo ties. “Like Sam did!” says Greg. While counsel for the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District for 17 years, Greg worked closely with Frank “Sam” Maynes on many pieces of state and federal water legislation affecting the state.

U.S. Forest Service & Wildfires

According to a recently released report, costs to battle ever-increasing and massive wildfires have “decimated” the budget of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) charged with fighting the blazes. For the first time in its 110-year history, the USFS reports it spends more than 50% of its annual budget on firefighting at the expense of other programs to prevent the infernos.

CWCB Finalizes Dry Gulch Loan

The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) officially approved an agreement with the San Juan Water Conservancy District (SJWCD) to restructure the financing of the Dry Gulch water storage project. In 2002, after a severe drought and massive wildfires, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) began working with the SJWCD to develop a water storage facility at Dry Gulch.

Mancos Water Conservancy District

At a September public meeting, the Mancos Water Conservancy District (MWCD) board continued discussion about obtaining title transfer of irrigation facilities from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR). At the meeting they heard from two out-of-state irrigation managers who benefited from title transfer. Invited guests were Gary Esslinger, Manager for the Elephant Butte Irrigation District in New Mexico, and Tom Knutson, retired General Manager of the Farwell Irrigation District in Nebraska. Both reported that the title process was time consuming and not easy but that it was worth it in the end for their districts.

Telluride’s San Miguel River Restoration Project

In July, the Town of Telluride Open Space Commission approved nearly $1 million in funding for a project to reroute the San Miguel River back to its original course on the Valley Floor. Approximately 125 years ago, the river was channelized, or straightened, to hug the southern edge of the valley and make transportation of goods down the waterway easier. In 2008, the town purchased the Valley Floor, and one of the main goals of that purchase was to restore the river to its original, meandering course across the conservation easement west of town.

Dolores Conservation District Changes Name

According to a recent Mancos Times article, the Dolores Conservation District (a WIP participating entity) is changing its name and embarking on a marketing campaign to raise awareness of its agricultural services. The first step is the name change to High Desert Conservation District. "The old name has been confusing for people," said district manager Judy Garrigues. "It's hard to promote ourselves when the public isn't clear about what we do." The High Desert Conservation District provides farmers and ranchers with resources to better manage their operations.

La Plata-Archuleta Water District

Bayfield's water treatment plant will get a major expansion in the next few months, but the town won't be paying for it, the La Plata-Archuleta Water District (LAPLAWD) will. LAPLAWD is also a partner in the Water Information Program. Town trustees approved the low bid of $7.1 million from Integrated Water Services on May 5, and the LAPLAWD board approved it on May 14. The rural water district serves customers with water treated in the Bayfield plant through a joint agreement signed in 2012. The 1 million gallons per day water plant expansion paid for by LAPLAWD is part of that agreement.

Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District

In April our WIP partner, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD), water loss report update indicated that the district’s total water loss fell to nearly half of the prior month. Much of that improvement is contributed to a significant water break that was discovered and repaired.

Lawn Gone: Durangoans Remove Grass to Save Water and Make a Statement

On May 15th, local water engineer Steve Harris and his wife Lourdes, conducted a ceremonial lawn removal party at their home in Durango. They invited a few other concerned residents to join them, and together they made a statement: It’s time to stop wasting water. One place to start is on lawns we don’t need. “If the only time you walk on your lawn is to mow it, you probably have more lawn than you need,” has become the mantra of Harris. Or another way to think of it, stated Harris, “Unneeded lawn is the like tamarisk." Of course, one lawn is literally a drop in the bucket in the overall picture, but it’s a reasonable start, Harris said.

Dolores Water Conservancy District: Water Law and Legislative Expert David Robbins to Review Dolores NCA Proposal, by Mike Preston

A recently released draft bill would ask Congress to designate portions of the Lower Dolores River as a National Conservation Area (NCA) and Wilderness Area. The much-anticipated proposed legislation was created over a five-year period by a legislative subcommittee put together by the Lower Dolores Plan Working Group.

Syndicate content