Colorado & Western Water Project Notes

December 2009 We attended a national staff communications meeting in Santa Fe, NM, and brainstormed with the group on a range of communications issues, including how to better coordinate messaging themes across programs, how to make better use of video and social media, and new ideas for the Web site and Trout magazine.

TU staff continues to provide environmental perspective on several large cooperative endeavors including the Halligan Seaman Shared Vision Plan and the Colorado River Wild and Scenic Management Plan Alternative. TU  is also continuing to evaluate and/or monitor the progress of several Environmental Impact Statements for various water development projects around the state such as the Windy Gap Firming, Denver Moffat Expansion, and Northern Integrated Supply Project. The deadline for submitting comments on Denver’s Moffat Expansion is currently set for the end of January 2010.

TU staff continues to work with state and local governments, water providers and other environmental groups to draft an Upper Colorado River Wild and Scenic Management Plan Alternative (MPA). Most recently, the east slope and west slope water users have been trying to finalize a concept for protecting the outstandingly remarkable recreational fishing and floatboating opportunities.

We have been working with several other conservation groups and a contractor on an analysis of the gap between water supply and demand on Colorado’s Front Range. We submitted two letters to the state – one on future water demands and the other on tools for meeting that demand.

TU staff and local chapter members are working within the Chatfield Reservoir Reallocation process to negotiate winter baseflows in the South Platte River below Chatfield Reservoir.

We have had several discussions with other conservation groups, the Yampa Valley Agricultural Alliance and faculty of Colorado State University about designing a study of opportunities for making irrigation water available for stream flows without requiring the complete dry-up of irrigated lands.

TU and the Forest Service completed a number of culvert removal projects in Colorado River cutthroat trout habitat in the South Fork Slater Creek basin. We will be removing a number of additional barriers in cutthroat habitat in the Elkhead Creek drainage next summer. We recently submitted a pre-proposal for an exclusionary fencing project to benefit cutthroat on the South Fork Little Snake River.