Colorado Water Project Notes, September 2007

We assisted the CDOW with fish sampling on the Snake and Blue Rivers. The Snake continued to show the effects of a large runoff event that appears to have brought a lot of metals in from mines upstream. In other words, we only found two fish. Conversely, we sampled a recently restored stretch of the Blue River and found too many fish to count. Well, not really, but this is one happy fishery. CDOW is currently working up the resulting data. We are also continuing to assist the CDOW’s efforts to collect data for instream flow appropriations. We attended a retreat for Colorado environmental leaders to set a 2007-2008 strategic agenda and think about even longer term planning. At that meeting, Colorado's water future was one of the top three statewide issue campaigns (along with climate change/clean energy and habitat protection). There was much talk about the sportsmen-enviro alliance and hope that adding the land protection community (TNC, TPL et al) will make a strong voice more powerful. We have continued to focus on temperature monitoring in the Colorado River, Eagle River, and Roaring Fork River Basins. These efforts have not only been aided by other non-profits such as the Roaring Fork Conservancy, but by one of the big water districts, Northern. Northern have made their data available and are currently warehousing some of the data collected by the Grand County Water Information Network. Some of these data indicate some temperature exceedances. However, this winter the Colorado River Basin will go through the process of adopting the presumptive temperature standards. Until then, the less stringent and less enforceable interim standards are in effect.  We have been working to encourage Denver to release as much water as possible from the Williams Fork Reservoir this winter. Because the Shoshone Power Plant had a penstock explode this summer there will be no Shoshone Call this winter. Denver asked the CDOW to provide a minimum flow recommendation for the Williams Fork. Based on this analysis, they have agreed to release 25 cfs all winter long. This is more than the 15 cfs they are legally required to release, but somewhat less than they typically release.