Colorado Towns Take Extra Measures to Protect Their Water From Gas Drilling

December 31, 2009

by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica – December 15, 2009 4:08 pm EST

The result is a 60-page Watershed Plan [5] (PDF) that dictates that Genesis will only use “green” hydraulic fracturing fluids, will reveal the chemical makeup of those fluids and will inject a tracer along with those fluids so any alleged contamination in the area can be quickly linked to its source.

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Water use projections are still just a draft

December 31, 2009
Denver Post Opinion – by Jennifer Gimbel, executive director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board

Re: “Front Range trims water use,” Dec. 21 news story.

The Colorado Water Conservation Board agrees that conservation is critical to meeting the needs of a growing population, and we appreciate The Denver Post’s close attention to the serious issues facing the state’s future water needs.

However, it’s important to remember that the State of Colorado 2050 Municipal and Industrial Water Use Projections is a draft report. It includes data that we believe needs refinement, and we are working with local entities throughout the state to refine the data. Therefore it is premature to attempt to draw conclusions about differences in water use rates between the Front Range and elsewhere in Colorado.

The draft report relied on data that was supplied to the CWCB. We believe the Pitkin County water use data, which was cited in your story, may be overstated. Pitkin County water providers are in the process of providing us with a more accurate reflection of their service area population and overall water use. This updated data appears to indicate that Pitkin County’s per capita water use rates are similar to those from the rest of the state.

CWCB will be incorporating this and other public feedback on the draft report, and release a final report in 2010. In addition, reports on agricultural water needs, and those for environmental and recreational needs, will be provided during the same time frame.

In the meantime, we want to continue to encourage The Denver Post to help provide Coloradans with information we all need to make responsible decisions about our water future.

Jennifer Gimbel, Denver

Denver water users should consider the source

December 31, 2009

From Denver Post Opinion

The impacts of Moffat/Gross Reservoir expansion are hardly “minimal.” Between the existing Moffat project and the expanded Gross Reservoir project, Denver Water will take nearly 80 percent of the Fraser River to the Front Range. This is a major, not minimal, impact.

The Denver Post editorial board’s trust that Denver Water and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will take care of the streams is, so far, misguided. The Corps’ environmental analysis doesn’t look at the impacts from reducing the river to 20 percent of its native flows. Denver Water has made no commitment of funds for mitigation of these impacts. Even if funds are finally committed, they would do little to save the river. The river needs water, not dollars.

Denverites have done a good job in reducing use, but much of Denver’s water supply goes to thirsty lawns. Other cities have drastically cut outdoor water waste and Denver should follow their lead. There is too much at stake.

Ken Neubecker, Carbondale

The writer is president of Colorado Trout Unlimited.

Strong Feelings About Felt

December 29, 2009

From National Trout Unlimited

One of the hottest topics in the fly-fishing industry today involves the use of felt soles on wading boots. The reason for the controversy is felt’s role in spreading aquatic invasive species, such as whirling disease and Didymo (“rock snot”).

Here is what we know: felt acts as a sponge, soaking in water and unwanted hitchhikers. It takes a long time to dry, and it is difficult to clean and inspect thoroughly because microscopic species such as whirling disease spores and Didymo can be impossible to detect with the naked eye. Moreover, since anglers like to travel—let’s face it, most people who fish the Beaverhead also try the Ruby, Big Hole, Madison or Jefferson—we run the risk of transporting an invasive species to a new watershed. And once something like whirling disease gets established, it can be almost impossible to eradicate.

Recognizing the role that anglers can and should play in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species, in 2008 Trout Unlimited called on fly tackle manufacturers to phase out felt by 2011. Simms was the first to step up, with L.L.Bean, Patagonia and other manufacturers close behind. Orvis will release its new rubber-soled boot in early 2010, and Korkers is offering an AIS-resistant Klingon rubber sole package for its interchangeable sole boot system.

But the debate continues. Many anglers do not think that the new rubber soles offer the same instream traction that felt does. Dave Kumlien, who oversees TU’s AIS work as the director of the Whirling Disease Foundation, believes that the industry is still adjusting, and thinks that the best solution may be the new rubber soles with metal studs. To avoid damage to the floor of his driftboat, Dave installed a simple rubber mat.

No one expects anglers to go out and throw away their felt-soled boots. If the boots never leave a particular watershed, there is no real danger that they will spread invasives. And if anglers clean, dry and inspect their boots, the threat of spreading invasives is greatly reduced. But eliminating felt in new boots is the right way to go, and several states have either already banned felt or plan to do it in the near future.

As anglers, giving up felt is a small price to pay for keeping our rivers and fisheries free from invasives. Read more

NYC watershed report bolsters case for DeGette FRAC Act

December 29, 2009

From The Colorado Independent – By David O. Williams

New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection last week issued a report that casts serious doubts on the common natural gas drilling process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which injects water, sand and chemicals deep underground to free up more gas.

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What the state is studying…

December 25, 2009

By Chris Woodka – The Pueblo Chieftain

The state is pondering proposed pipelines to move water from most areas of the state to the Front Range in an attempt to meet future water demands.

Not all will be built, and none has been officially endorsed.

Nevertheless, the Colorado Water Conservation Board looked at them in a preliminary report released last June.

Strategies in the report that move water from one basin to another include: Read more

Trout provide hands-on lessons at Thompson Valley High School

December 24, 2009

From: Loveland Connection, By Carl McCutchen 12/21/2009

Anyone walking into Tom Hewson’s chemistry class at Thompson Valley High School might disregard the 55-gallon fish tank near the doorway as home for a class pet, but for most of the students at TVHS, it’s far more than that.

The fish tank, currently full of about 85 infant rainbow trout, is an experiment, a project and a learning tool.

“We raise trout from eggs to small fingerlings to then be stocked in a local watershed,” Hewson said.

The project, which Hewson said wouldn’t be done until later this year, started when he received a phone call from officials with the Denver chapter of Trout Unlimited last spring. Read more