That sounds great, a longer season and stable economic gains closer to an annual basis for the county. [/b]BUT I am with count, that makes the peak season very minimal unless we get a rediculous amount of snow in the winter (everyone pray to uller for that one). Though flows will be consistant throughout the season accept for an 8 day period between a 2 month window that could suck for high water prospects especially for rafting companies in the area. Hmmmmm. I am a realist and am aware that you have to give a little to get a little. I will miss hitting up the Ark with it running @ 3-4,000 cfs. Steve Z
I'm a little skeptical. It says that they will maintain flows if the water is available and without senior water rights demanding it. That like George saying, "we're leaving iraq" and then whispering "when the insurgents stop bombing each other".
That being said, I really hope it's true that the ark holds at 700 from march to nov - I'll be moving there shortly if it's the case.
I guess we'll see what happens next season. Everyone keep their fingers crossed.
It is interesting that they chose March 15 to Nov 15. I can't imagine a ton of rafting being done down there before late April or early May since it will still be ski season in most of Colorado and somewhat chilly in the Ark Valley. The late season (after Aug 15) might be busier but again I can't imagine a ton of rafting being done down there after mid Sept because of weather.
I'll second that...if it truly comes to be, I'm moving... ;-)
I can't read the article, but I am assuming this is discussing the RICD here in Chaffee County. Anyway I need to clear up some inaccuracies. This RICD will not change anything operationally on the Ark next year or really anytime soon. We still will rely on snow for good runoff and if we get it, the river will run like it always has 3,000+ whatever. The flow program (which was strengthened during the negotiations from 1 year renewable to 5 year renewable) will still guarantee 700cfs through 8/15 like every year. What the RICD does, in my mind, is draw a line in the sand for the long term (20-50years). Basically we saw a slow erosion of flows coming for the Arkansas through exchanges and diversions to the Front Range. Our fear was that in the next couple of decades we would see more and more water leaving the valley upstream of Chaffee County or being exchanged out upstream so the RICD allows the citizens of Chaffee County to have a seat at the table when those decisions are made down the road. Basically even though our water right is junior other parties will still not be able to damage it in the future with any planned diversions or exchanges.
What was interesting was that it forced people like the Springs, Aurora and Pueblo to show their cards on what their plans are for the future and we had a chance to see how badly those plans may or may not impact flows on the Upper Ark. We were able to secure the largest RICD water right in the state without going to court so that was also a major accomplishment for our County. The reason you don't see higher flows during the peak season is that we went for the highest flow we could that still leaves room for potential exchanges and diversions. In other words 3000 would have tied up the whole river and no one was going to buy into that and those aforementioned municipalities have much bigger legal funds than Chaffee County. Thanks, Mike
I was asked to comment on this thread. Unfortunately, I don't have any specific information on it, but I am willing to speculate a little (rare for me!). I do know that it will not impact our operations for the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, nor our involvement in the Flow Program every summer.
I think what Mike mentioned in the post before mine is a good assessment. I think the thing to keep in mind is the changing face of water in our state. It was good to read that the three municipalities were part of the discussions and were open about their future planning. I know they are all looking to the future and trying to make the best water decisions for their growing communities.
With that in mind, Reclamation will be releasing the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Colorado Springs', Fountain's, Security's and Pueblo West's proposed Southern Delivery System sometime next year. Two weeks ago, we released the Draft Environmental Assessment on Aurora's proposed long term contracts for storage and exchange in the Fry-Ark Project and we started negotiating those contracts this week. So, there are a lot of developments to keep an eye on along the Arkansas.
For those reasons, the RICD seems well timed. Getting the RICD now means it could be included as part of the studied "cumulative effects" in any National Environmental Policy Act processes we or the Army Corp might have to complete in the next few years--especially if things like the Arkansas Valley Conduit and the Preferred Storage Option Plan find their footing in Congress and get passed.
Did anyone submit a comment regarding the possibility of this RICD to our public comment section of the current Aurora Draft EA or the current Draft EIS for the SDS? Both public comment sections are still open and receiving comments. We must have them in writing, but writing includes e-mail and you can send them to me.
Kara, I guess I forgot to mention that this filing is only for native water... so "project" or BOR water is not considered during the analysis. So the timed deliveries that make up the flow program are sort of a different animal. Where can I get copies of the draft EIS and EA? Thanks.
PUEBLO - A state water judge has approved Chaffee County's request to guarantee enough water in the Arkansas River part of the year to give kayakers, rafters and other whitewater enthusiasts a central Colorado playground.
The decree signed Friday by Judge Dennis Maes will provide water from March 15 to Nov. 15 each year for boating courses in Buena Vista and Salida, said Chaffee County Commissioner Jerry Mallett. He said the move will help protect the county's economy, which takes in about $50 million a year from river-related recreation.
"What it means to us, down the road, is that we'll be able to preserve our local economy," said county Commissioner Tim Glenn.
Mallett said during a May event in Buena Vista, one store saw $110,000 in revenue in four days, and the river park in Salida brings in up to $2.5 million a year.
The decree comes after two years of negotiations among the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, the Colorado Division of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, Division of Parks, Arkansas River Outfitters Association, Colorado Springs, the Pueblo Board of Water Works and Pueblo West.
It calls for maintaining various levels of minimum flows in the river if enough water is available, and allows maximum flows for eight days between late May and June 30 for events.
River flows will not be affected from Nov. 15-March 15 so irrigation companies can store water.
The decree allows for reduced recreational flows during years in which senior water rights holders need to fill their reservoirs.
Mike, thanks for the analysis. It's always great to hear the scoop from a local.
Will be interesting to see what happens...ya gotta love water rights in the state of Colorado...
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