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Old 01-09-2009   #11
caspermike's Avatar
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1999
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Posts: 5,507
deepsouth you are thinking i would love to see pathfinder dam and alcova dam blow up same with semino but we need to keep one at least.

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Old 01-09-2009   #12
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Gosh I love water talk!

If you really want to figure this all out, you'll need to take a systemic look at Colorado water use, and water use throughout the west.

So, who uses the most water in Colorado? (and most western states?)
Cities? ski areas? manufacturing? oil and gas?
Most of the water in Colorado (~85%) goes to agriculture. Most of that goes to alfalfa and hay. A lot of the rest goes to corn to feed cows.

OK, so before everybody flames me for hating farmers, let's just look at the implications of these facts. If farmers can conserve just 10% of their water, we can increase the amount of water available elsewhere by over 50%. Of course, that costs money that farmers don't have, but cities do.

So, why not have cities pay for ag water conservation (lined canals, drip irrigation, etc).
Presto! No more dams needed.
If we had the same water efficiency that the Israelis do, we'd be awash in water.

And if you really, really, really care about water, don't eat beef. There's about 2000 gallons of water in every pound.

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Old 01-09-2009   #13
rhm's Avatar
steamboat springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 93
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 199
Originally Posted by View Post
That I-80 pipe is going to come out of the Green, not the Yampa. It still will put a major hurt on recreation flows though.
Yampa valley water users are terrified of this plan. Their municipal water rights are all dated after the Flaming Gorge development. So if the Front Range water manages to secure BuRec FG water rights, with their 1950 dates, Steamboat Springs might have to turn off the taps in order to fulfill a downstream call. Or, more likely, they'll get aggressive about building storage upstream of the towns - hurting Yampa peak flows even more than Shell's pumping. Either way, I think the basin just lost it's last major undammed tributary. Our biggest hope for a savior might come from California. If Colorado decides it needs that water flowing downstream in order to fulfill a Compact call, the state could block all of this. They'll probably just screw some farmers instead though...
i've said this before on this forum, and i'll say it again, i hardly think you can call the yampa an "undammed tributary". there is stillwater reservoir high in the flattops at the very headwaters of the yampa. then there is stagecoach lake. then catamount lake. this is all in the first thirty miles of the headwaters. the yampa is not fee flowing. it is a dammed watershed already. so how about we quit misleading people into thinking it is some wild and pristine free flowing river, and tell it like it actually is.
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Old 01-10-2009   #14
Dreamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 230
Im thinking all the reservoirs on the Yampa are of the spillway type.. they fill up and flow downstream. correct me if im wrong. I think the bottom line is that Yampa is a valuable resource to allot of people out their(boaters/fisherman/dirty frontrangers who want green lawns/energy/ ag). Chances are its going to be used by someone at some point. What's going on to help protect the Yampa. How can we all help slow this process down? Is there any process that questions a developers plan in regards to sustainability? If we don't have the resources to sustain growth then maybe we shouldn't grow. All of the plans i've heard (shell/pumpback) seem like a really expensive band-aid on a really big problem. What can we do??
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Old 01-11-2009   #15
rhm's Avatar
steamboat springs, Colorado
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in the summer of 2002 when the water was so warm and low that the trout were congregating around the confluence at fish creek for some cooler water, the stagecoach reservoir was letting extra water out to keep the fish from dying. as soon as you hold back water and then release it down the river when it suits your purposes, the river is no longer free flowing. stillwater reservoir definitely goes up and down. i've been there when it is almost full and also when it is way low. if they are holding and releasing water at will, then that isn't free flowing either.

i understand that the yampa is a valuable resource that a lot of people want to use for their own purposes. i'm not trying to downplay the impact that these things will have on the river. all i'm saying is that i've heard people on this forum call the yampa both free flowing and undammed. both of these are wrong. it is neither undammed or free flowing.

i'll admit that it does sound better when you are trying to persuade people to vote or fight against a dam when you say, "please help us save the yampa from this water project. it is one of the last untouched, undammed, free flowing watersheds in colorado. help us keep it that way."

you might make some people think that it is a pristine wild and scenic river, but there are a lot of people who are going to call bullshit. they'll say "the yampa is dammed at it headwaters. has manmade rapids built all through steamboat. has many small irrigation dams like the one below the james brown bridge. has trailer parks built right to it's banks. how can you call it free flowing? how can you call it undammed?"

my point is that it would be in the best interest of the yampa if people who don't want these water projects would refrain from making the river out to be something it isn't.
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Old 01-11-2009   #16
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Wild Wild West, Colorado
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 214
"flames me for hating farmers"

IMHO, the only flaming should be for applying the term farmers to these industrialized commodity producers who would not exist but for the project subsidizes provided for the continued rape of rivers, land, animals, and the people who end up eating the "food" they produce.

Perhaps the new thinking that has raised the specter of a Department of Forests, Agriculture and Food can help reign in the out-of-control water projects being built and operated and then used at industrial commodity plants (factory farms) on the federal dime. Of course, this doesn't address the madmen/women which Bush has elevated and entrenched to mid/high level positions in Interior and esp. Wreck the Nation.

Timing on this is crucial since water developers (dam/diversion lovers and agri-industrialists) are almost certainly already lined up with tin can in hand for the massive subsidies required to "save" the economy that brought us giant dams, diversions, and industrial agribusiness in the first place.

Something to ponder while working on what seeds to start next month for the garden.

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Old 01-12-2009   #17
Oak Creek, CO (noon bell, bitches), Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 83
Danimal, I urge you to attend the roundtable meetings Yampa/White/Green Basins Roundtable - Interbasin Compact Committee
The next one is at the Holiday Inn in Craig on Jan 21st, 6-9 (though they usually run until 10 or 11). The only thing we can do is continue to work together to show that the Yampa basin needs its water for growth in the future. This argument is becoming harder to sustain since NW Co is growing much less rapidly than Denver/ front range. Obviously, we also need to continue to show that our river, which is not undammed nor is it wild and scenic (we wish), but it is THE last, largest, and longest free flowing tributary to the Colorado. Which is a pretty important designation considering. Having gone to several of these Roundtable discussions for the past 3 years, no one who is out there trying to handle the Yampa's future wastes too much time on this more emotional aspect.
Among other things, the Yampa's free-flowing nature allows ancient habitats to thrive year after year, habitats that would otherwise terminate. There is a lot being done to protect the Yampa, hopefully more and more participation will lead to this continuation.

Lastly, I have a problem with this "industrialized commodity producers" talk. What bothers me is not that I am in disagreement about your argument, but rather, with the logic behind arguing it. There are plenty of folks on this website that have jobs, careers, whatever that I think suck (Realtors, for one) but really, who are we to say. It really isn't the Ranchers that got us in this mess. It is the industry and the corporate machine that did. Supermarkets. So, seriously, do we punish this long heritage by removing their livelihood? Or do we make a conscious decision to spend locally (grow our own food). It seems that cutting off agriculture would really only give more water to golf courses in Arizona/ Las Vegas in the long run. So, what do we do? Honest question. I would rather look at cattle ranches than the ranchettes that are sprouting up all over rural routt county.

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