Colorado & Western Water Project Notes

April 2010 WWP staff testified about the SECURE Water Act in mid-March in D.C. While in DC, staff met w/ Asst Secretary of the Interior for Water & Science, about TU's approach to hydro. Staff also presented on SECURE at the University of Denver Water Law Review annual conference.

We had a month stocked full of meetings with both our NGO partners, consultants and the Bureau on how we're going to get the Basin Study -- and other decision making in the Basin -- to incorporate some level of protection for environmental flows, and how the rest of the study is moving along. Colorado released its final water availability study for the CO R Basin in CO.

CTU had its big annual auction in Denver and national staff bought a table. Later this week, various members of the Water Project staff will be attending and making presentations at the CTU Rendezvous.

We’ve been working on responses to the Million pipeline project, which threatens Flaming Gorge fishery and other sensitive habitat:

CWP staff submitted comments to the Army Corps of Engineers on the proposed expansion of Denver Water’s trans-basin Moffat Collection System Project. If the expansion moves forward, cumulative depletions to the headwaters of the Fraser River and Colorado River mainstem could reach 70% to 80% of native flows. CWP staff recommended that the project not move forward unless an adaptive management plan can be agreed to by east and west slope interests.

The CWP staff also continues to provide environmental perspective on several large cooperative endeavors including the Colorado River Wild and Scenic Management Plan Alternative, Halligan Seaman Shared Vision Plan and the Chatfield Reservoir Reallocation process.

The CWP staff is cooperating with the United States Forest Service, Colorado Division of Wildlife and Bureau of Land Management staffs to reconnect several headwater streams containing conservation populations of Colorado River cutthroat trout. In general, these projects involve either barrier removal (i.e., culvert removal and replacement) and/or installation of fencing to exclude cattle from the riparian areas. These projects will start back up early this spring once funding and access become available.

We are working with the Forest Service and a private contractor on preparation of an RFP seeking bids for a watershed restoration plan focusing on Colorado River cutthroat trout for the Elkhead Creek Basin.

The CWP staff and local Colorado Trout Unlimited Chapter members worked with Colorado Division of Wildlife staff to sample fish in the Eagle River. The sampling has been conducted for several years to evaluate improvements to the trout fishery attributable to past mine reclamation activities and stream habitat improvements in the Eagle River. Based on the results of this sampling effort, the trout fishery in the Eagle appears to be doing quite well with some 200 meter sample reaches holding up to 490 fish including lots of trout within the 14” to 16” range.