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Old 02-15-2005   #1
Mike Harvey's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 805
SB 62, attack on recreational flows in Colorado!

SB 62 is having its hearing before the State Senate Ag committee this Thursday, 1:30pm, in Senate Committee room 353. I would encourage anyone who can make it to come and voice your strong opposition to this bill. If you can not make it in person call your State Senator and tell them this bill will damage the State's economy and tell them stories of the impact you have seen from whitewater parks in your community or parks you have traveled to.

To review...SB 62 is a bill that would change the state law that allows communities to file for RICD (Recreational In-channel, Diversion) water rights for their whitewater parks. Golden was the pioneer, since then Breckenridge, Vail, Gunnision, Steamboat, Pueblo and Salida and BV have filed for these rights. With out going into great detail, RICD's have been embraced by progressive thinkers around the State as a critical chink in the Armour of an outdated system of water rights appropriation which has never seen recreation or water left in the channel as a "beneficial use".

SB 62 will undue all of this forward progress....Here are some talking points on this bill:


$ The amended bill still subordinates recreational water use – Both the CWCB and the Water Court are required to consider the impact of recreational in-channel diversion water rights (“RICD’s”) on all “future upstream water storage and water development projects.” (Section 1). A water right that can’t call for water from junior upstream rights is not a water right. There is no grandfather provision to protect pending applications and decreed rights on this point.

$ Its unconstitutional – The Colorado Constitution directs that “the right to divert the unappropriated waters of any natural stream to beneficial uses shall never be denied.” Colo. Const. Art. XVI, § 6. If this means anything, it is that no current beneficial use of water can be denied based on speculative future needs.

$ Caps recreation flows at 350 cfs – This is a fraction of what is needed on larger rivers to draw boaters, and a fraction of what has been proved in Water Court as a beneficial use in repeated RICD trials. There is a grandfather provision here, but the protection does not extend to pending applications.

$ Limits RICD’s to a “minimum stream flow” – The previous definition of RICD limited the flow to the amount necessary for a “reasonable recreation experience.” That protection is gone and what is left is simply “minimum stream flow.” This will certainly be asserted to mean the minimum amount necessary to float a boat. There is no grandfather provision to protect pending applications and decreed rights on this point.

$ Eliminates fishing as a beneficial use of water in Colorado.

$ Changes the diversion statute so RICD’s must have a “control structure” – But even the sponsors cannot articulate what the required “control structure” looks like, and whether the existing structures that so many communities have already built would qualify. This can only be viewed as an attempt to limit RICD rights to the amount that will flow through a notch in a dam (the CWCB's interpretation of the Ft. Collins decision) and not a boating flow. If the current structures do not qualify, do the bill sponsors really want local communities to over-build with larger and more obvious structures simply to meet this new definition? There is no grandfather provision to protect pending applications and decreed rights on this point.

$ Applies retroactively to existing decreed rights and applications – The bill sponsors have explained that every provision except the 350 cfs cap is meant to apply retroactively to RICD claims that have already been decreed. Don’t change the rules on those cities and towns that have invested in these rights.

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Old 02-15-2005   #2
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 65
Info Meeting tonight in Vail

If you would like some more info and are up in the Vail area, there will be an informational meeting tonight at 6:00pm.
It will be at the Vail Town council chambers and an attorney helping to fight the bill will be there to answer questions and help get people up to speed.


Edwards, CO
Alpine Kayak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2005   #3
The next zone, .
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,200
Jack Taylor a "Denver Man." and a Republican from the Steamboat area. He is the sponsor of this bill. Make sure and get a hold of his office and let him know how you feel on this SB62. As Mike points out this bill is NOT in the best interest of any river user.

Colorado State Senator, District 8
Office Location: 200 E. Colfax
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-5292

Give him a call today and let him know how you feel. Let’s see if we can plug up that line all day long!!! Do your part and give him a call!! You will only get an answering machine on this # so leave him your opinion.
Jahve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2005   #4
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 177
Unfortunately Jack Taylor is in some deep pockets of ranchers around Steamboat but with enough phone calls and enough support for the rivers we will defeat this thing. Rally your local congressman and lets beat this thing.

Whiskey's for drinkin' and waters for fightin'
- Mark Twain
wycoloboater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2005   #5
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 65
Contact info

Here is some more contact info for anyone who wants to make a phone call or send an e-mail:

Entz, Lewis H., Phone: 303-866-4871
E-mail: lewis.entz.senate@state.co.us

Groff, Peter C., Phone: 303-866-4864
E-mail: peter.groff.senate@state.co.us

Grossman, Dan, Phone: 303-866-4852
E-mail: dan.grossman.senate@state.co.us

Hillman, Mark D., Phone: 303-866-6360
E-mail: mark.hillman.senate@state.co.us

Isgar, Jim, Phone: 303-866-4884
E-mail: isgarsenate@frontier.net

Taylor, Jack, Phone: 303-866-5292 (no email)

Tochtrop, Lois, Phone: 303-866-2931
E-mail: lois.tochtrop.senate@state.co.us
Edwards, CO
Alpine Kayak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2005   #6
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
bumping up this thread to go with the other thread......

cstork is offline   Reply With Quote

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