The Colorado Water Conservation Board has been serving the State of Colorado for almost 80 years. Our mission is to conserve, develop, protect, and manage Colorado's water for present and future generations.
We hope to share the ins and outs of our agency and local partner groups so you understand how we provide water policy direction and programs that enhance the vitality and prosperity of our state. No better place to start than with how our hard-working CWCB staff serves Colorado.
This newsletter is designed to highlight the efforts of not only the CWCB staff, but the outstanding work of the CWCB Board, IBCC, Basin Roundtables, and local communities within each river basin and metro Denver. We live in a beautiful, thriving state and we hope to showcase the people and projects that make it so.
SMART THINGS FROM SMART WATER PEOPLE
April Montgomery: CWCB Board Member April has been a dedicated CWCB Board member representing the Southwest Basin since 2009. She is currently the Vice President of Programs for the Telluride Foundation, where for the past nine years she has helped to manage their nonprofit building capacity efforts, grant program, and initiatives. She lives in Norwood and is a passionate and thoughtful leader in the community.
April put on her journalist hat to bring us a taste of the Southwest Basin: A Flowing Dolores River Brings Much Celebration & Renewed Conflict: Can Irrigators & Boaters Support Each Other?
"At least there will be ice cream, once again, at the end of a Dolores River trip - now if we can just count on Mother Nature and predictable boating flows!" - April Montgomery
How does ice cream, Mother Nature, and boating all come together on the Dolores River?
Above: April Montgomery hooting and hollering on the lower Dolores River.
Tom Browning, CWCB Deputy Director - Agricultural Fallowing-Leasing Check out what Tom has to say.
Written for the Colorado Municipal League August issue of Colorado Municipalities.
STATE OF THE WATER STATE
What you missed at the CWCB July Board meeting in Steamboat Springs...
Our newest Board member, Jim Yahn, was sworn in to represent the South Platte River Basin. Jim is the manager of the North Sterling and Prewitt Reservoirs where he oversees the diversion and distribution of water to over 350 farmers.
Carlee Brown attended her first Board meeting as the new Section Chief for the Interstate, Federal, and Water Information Section. Previously, Carlee was the Policy Advisor for water at the Western Governors’ Association (WGA), where she led WGA’s bipartisan efforts on drought, the Clean Water Act, water data, and groundwater.
The implementation of Colorado’s Water Plan is in full swing. Some highlights:
Distributed over $5M in WSRF funds from statewide and basin accounts since the beginning of November 2015. This $5m has been successfully leveraged against over $25M in matching contributions.
CWCB staff are working with other stakeholders to provide water loss trainings statewide over the next few years. These trainings will update water managers on proper water loss reporting and accounting.
A LEAN event was held between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), and local regulators, such as the Northwest Council of Governments (NWCOG) to improve the efficiency of the permitting process. Water providers and environmental groups were also involved. Stakeholders are creating a Permitting Handbook.
The CWCB Board and staff have developed a creative funding plan for up to five years, in its conception phase, that proposes:
$50 million one-time investment in a repayment guarantee fund
$10 million annually to the WSRF
$5 million annually to the Watershed Restoration Program
$10 million annually to non-reimbursable programs
The Non Native Fish Subcommittee is working to reduce non native fish populations through education, outreach, and harvest incentives. In the Ridgway Reservoir, the Smallmouth Bass adult population has been reduced by 36 percent.
Instream flow water rights have been decreed on Alkali Creek, Armstrong Creek, Brush Creek, East Douglas Creek, Schaefer Creek, Terror Creek, and Timber Springs Gulch, totaling 22 miles in length.
The Board approved a loan to the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District for the Pueblo Dam Hydroelectric Project. This is the first phase of the Arkansas Valley Conduit project, which was a part of the original Fryingpan-Arkansas project signed by President Kennedy in 1962. The Board also approved a loan to the North Poudre Irrigation Company for rehabilitation of the Livermore Irrigation Tunnel. This project will help to ensure continued deliveries to more than 36 square miles of irrigated acreage.
The Board approved seven WSRF grants at this meeting, totaling $270,572.
Above: Geoff Blakeslee addressing the CWCB Board and staff on a tour of the Yampa River Valley.
Colorado's Water Plan Channel
Colorado's Water Plan was approved by Governor Hickenlooper and the CWCB Board in November of 2015. Since November, Coloradans have been busy implementing the plan in their communities. It is safe to say we are in full implementation phase now.
Colorado’s Water Plan describes our collective challenge: between now and 2050, water projects will cost Colorado at least $20 billion. Learn how the CWCB is getting creative to help meet Colorado's water needs.
The CWCB needs your help to track the good work happening across the state, so please fill out this form to let us know what is happening in your community.
Get to Know the IBCC
The Interbasin Compact Committee (IBCC) was established by the Colorado Water for the 21st Century Act to facilitate conversations among Colorado’s river basins and to address statewide water issues.
The IBCC met in Salida on May 24, 2016. They discussed education and outreach, legislation from this past session, conservation and land use, WSRA criteria and guidelines, the LEAN process for water permitting, and water funding. Catch up here.
The next IBCC meeting will be held on August 17, 2016 in Denver.
Above: The IBCC hearing from the Arkansas Basin Public Education, Participation, & Outreach (PEPO) workgroup.
Coming Down the Pipeline
Did you hear about the Colorado Supreme Court case decision in April that impacts state and local funding of water projects? Get up to speed.
DEPTH OF THE BASIN
Take a deep dive into the unique happenings in each river basin in Colorado and metro Denver.
Then, get involved!
ARKANSAS Salida Water Festival – August 13th, 2016: The inaugural Salida Water Festival will make a splash in Riverside Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The family-focused festival will include exhibits, activities and demonstrations related to various aspects of water use, including agricultural, municipal, commercial, environmental and recreational uses.
Website: The Arkansas PEPO workgroup's new website is up and running! Please visit the website at www.pepoarkbasin.com.
Check out the first clip from the documentary on storage: Colorado’s Water Plan has set an objective of attaining 400,000 acre-feet of storage by 2050. Storage and the management of storage is essential for the success of all water activities and the protection of water for future use. The need for improved storage techniques has become more acute than ever and understanding the need for storage is critical. Our first clip that will be embedded in our final documentary explores the needs, new techniques, and concerns surrounding storage. We hope that this film will provide some insight on water management and storage in the Arkansas River Basin. You can check it out at www.pepoarkbasin.com under the tab Documentary.
Student Water Field Conference, September 23-25, Fruita, CO: Undergraduate and graduate students from across Colorado are invited to camp along the Colorado River and learn about water issues on the West Slope and throughout the Colorado River Basin. Learn more!
The Upper Colorado River Basin Water Forum, Nov 2-3, Grand Junction, CO: The theme of this year’s forum is “Complex Systems in Flux: Changing relationships between water, people and the environment.” Don't miss it.
METRO/SOUTH PLATTE Metro/South Platte Basin Roundtables Joint Workshop: On June 7, 2016, the Metro and South Platte Basin Roundtables convened a joint meeting along with CWCB staff for the purpose of exploring and identifying specific actions that both roundtables can work on together. The main goals of the meeting were to 1) identify specific actions in response to recent developments such as the HB16-1256 South Platte Storage Study; 2) to build consensus around next steps for preparing WSRA grant applications, to hire a BIP coordinator and Outreach coordinator; and 3) to further develop the priorities for allocating WSRA funds.
Website: The Metro and South Platte Roundtables are moving forward with building a useful website to reach both internal and external audiences.
NORTH PLATTE North Platte Basin Roundtable Video: The North Platte has been working with Christi Bode of Moxicran Media to develop a video featuring aspects of the Basin Implementation Plan. The project is one element of the Education Action Plan. The goal is to feature all seasons of the water year, as well as consumptive and non-consumptive uses of water in the North Platte Basin. During her February trip, North Platte Roundtable member and IBCC Representative, Mike Allnutt, with his son Wade, helped Christi develop a clear understanding of the importance of water to the North Platte Basin’s production agriculture…it takes water to grow the hay to feed the cattle during the winter! Roundtable member, Randy Miller, took her on a snowmobile "show and tell" ride to illustrate the importance of snow-based winter recreation to the local basin economy. The North Platte’s video will be released in the Spring of 2017.
A DROP IN THE BASIN
Time to delve deep into the education and outreach efforts happening in each basin led by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about connecting Coloradans to their water. And, they have a lot to share about the basin's goals, projects, and events coming your way.
ARKANSAS BASIN PEPO WORKGROUP
The Arkansas Basin Public Education, Participation & Outreach (PEPO) workgroup has a packed year ahead with a water festival, reading program, documentary, and much more. Check it out and spread the word!
A LITTLE MORE BEFORE YOU RUNOFF
Diane Hoppe Memorial Water Scholarship Fund
The Colorado Water Conservation Board and the family of Diane Hoppe have established a Memorial Water Scholarship Fund in the name of Diane. The scholarship was Diane's wish to encourage students to learn about water issues in Colorado. The fund is held by the Denver Foundation. Give in honor of Diane.
Congratulations to CWCB Section Chief Kevin Houck, P.E.
Kevin Houck recently received the "Public Sector Engineer of the Year Award" from the National Society of Professional Engineers - Colorado Society. Kevin was competitively selected from a group of nominees throughout the state. Kevin has been working tirelessly on major flood recovery efforts following the devastating 2013 events in Colorado. He is highly regarded by his peers and works hard on behalf of the CWCB to help make our state a better and safer place to be. Learn more about the award.
Colorado Water Conservation Board Receives WateReuse Colorado Award
WateReuse Colorado is pleased to announce that the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) has been selected as the 2016 “Institution of the Year” for promoting water reuse throughout the state. The Colorado Section of the national WateReuse Association awards outstanding programs, projects, and people each year for promoting and supporting water reuse. The CWCB was selected for having greatly helped advance interest in and opportunities for water reuse as a water supply in Colorado. Learn more about the CWCB's contributions and WateReuse Colorado.
Strengthening Collaborative Capacity for Better Water Decisions
November 9-11, 2016 // Sylvan Dale Ranch - Loveland, CO
This highly interactive, hands-on training is designed to help water professionals, leaders, and stakeholders deepen and strengthen their skills, tools, and capacity for collaboration and consensus around complex water challenges. Find out more!