Newsletter Article

Cloud Seeding Study

The results of the most scientific study of cloud seeding done to-date were just released in December. University of Wyoming researchers conducted a $14 million randomized blind statistical experiment that was designed and evaluated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Forest Service Issues Wolf Creek Decision

Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas announced his decision in November to approve a land exchange between the Rio Grande National Forest and Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture (LMJV), the developer for the Village at Wolf Creek, which will provide Highway 160 access to the development. The proposed development dates back nearly 30 years to a 1986 land exchange that provided LMJV with the acreage near the ski area to develop the Village, but unintentionally not the legal access the development would need.

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.

First Kokanee Spawning at Lake Nighthorse

In late October members of a Colorado Parks and Wildlife team spawned kokanee salmon in Lake Nighthorse for the first time. Members of this first graduating class of kokanee were stocked as fingerlings in 2010. Stocking 75,000 kokanee each year since means spawning will occur annually. They are the only fish being taken from the lake, which is off limits to the public until a recreation plan is in place. The lake also has stocked rainbow trout and suckers.

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.


West Slope Roundtables Meeting

A West Slope roundtable meeting was conducted in mid-December in Grand Junction. There were about 75 members of the four roundtables, plus another 75 or so members of the public and Colorado’s professional water community, that discussed and heard a number of topics related to the Colorado Water Plan. One of the items on the agenda was the draft seven-point framework developed by the Interbasin Compact Committee (IBCC) that lays out conditions for future discussions on the potential new trans-mountain diversion (TMD) in Colorado. Those seven points include:

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