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Discussion Starter #1
Please contact your legislators in the next day or two regarding Section 17 of Senate Bill 122

Summary:
The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) has requested $150,000 of your tax payer dollars to do what they are calling an "objective" study of Recreational in-channel diversion (RICD) water rights. These are the water rights that are keeping water in our playparks.

Historically, the CWCB has been opposed to every single RICD claim. In essence, they are trying to use our money to get rid of our water rights.

As Access Director for Colorado Whitewater, I am urging the boating community to get behind the following talking points and IMMEDIATELY contact your legislators on the subject.

Talking Points
•The CWCB has been a vigorous opponent of recreational in-channel diversion (“RICD”) water rights. They have opposed every RICD claim and cannot reasonably be expected to do the “objective” study called for in the legislation.

•Last year’s RICD legislation (SB 06-37) limited the CWCB’s authority over RICDs. This new proposal is directly at odds with the recent legislation, and undermines the comity and compromise struck in the last legislative session. This appropriation will spark another legislative battle.

•The CWCB has no role in “determining whether there are objectively determinable flows for different recreational uses.” The reasonableness of flow rates for a RICD is a determination reserved for the water court under SB –37. Even under the earlier version of the RICD statute (SB01-216), the CWCB did not have authority over quantification of RICDs, and was strongly admonished by the Supreme Court in the Gunnison decision for overstepping its statutory authority on this point.

•The clear direction from both the Gunnison decision and SB-37 is that RICDs must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. CWCB’s effort to develop “objective flows” for types of recreational uses is directly counter to that instruction.

•This new funding request is more of the continuing effort by the CWCB to spend public funds to develop another report that will be used to oppose the efforts of local governments to obtain RICDs.

•The “other relevant factors” identified in SB-37 include the benefits of the RICD to a community. This will be different for every river and every community. Moreover, the CWCB has taken the position in court that the economic benefit of RICDs is irrelevant to securing a water right. (See CWCB’s Motion in Limine in Steamboat RICD Trial.) Despite many water court rulings indicating this issue is extremely relevant, the CWCB has consistently declined to prepare any report when it could be tested in court. They should not be allowed to now spend taxpayer money on a study that will not be subject to rigorous scrutiny.

Others supporting our stance
Along with Colorado Whitewater the following organizations and local governments have signed on to these arguments against Section 17 of SB122:

Eagle River Water & Sanitation District
San Juan Citizens Alliance
Upper Eagle Water Authority
Western Resource Advocates
Vail Associates
City of Steamboat Springs
Trout Unlimited
Colorado Environmental Coalition
Colorado Conservation Voters


Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

Contact information for your legislators can be found at this link: http://www.leg.state.co.us/Clics/Clics2007A/csl.nsf/directory?openframeset

Thanks for your help,
Dan
 

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Bump!
This stuff is serious!

In the amount of time that you can
a) Vote for Hobie;
b) look at the post about the ass who ripped down the slalom gates in confluence; and
c) ponder about what Bailey drop is featured in AW Mag,

you can send a note to protect the water and make sure your voice is heard. We've done it before and we can do it again.

Step it up, wankers!

JT
 

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I will add my voice to this by contacting the two Pueblo state senators.

-B
 

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Thanks for the heads up Dan. I just fired off this email:

Senator Tochtrop:

I voted for you in November and am writing now to ask you to oppose section 17 of Senate Bill 122 concerning recreational water rights. As a recreational kayaker, I am concerned about the proposed study by the Colorado Water Conservation Board and their ability and authority to conduct an objective study of recreational in-channel diversion rights for the following reasons:

•The CWCB has been a vigorous opponent of recreational in-channel diversion (“RICD”) water rights. They have opposed every RICD claim and cannot reasonably be expected to do the “objective” study called for in the legislation.

•Last year’s RICD legislation (SB 06-37) limited the CWCB’s authority over RICDs. This new proposal is directly at odds with the recent legislation, and undermines the comity and compromise struck in the last legislative session. This appropriation will spark another legislative battle.

•The CWCB has no role in “determining whether there are objectively determinable flows for different recreational uses.” The reasonableness of flow rates for a RICD is a determination reserved for the water court under SB –37. Even under the earlier version of the RICD statute (SB01-216), the CWCB did not have authority over quantification of RICDs, and was strongly admonished by the Supreme Court in the Gunnison decision for overstepping its statutory authority on this point.

•The clear direction from both the Gunnison decision and SB-37 is that RICDs must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. CWCB’s effort to develop “objective flows” for types of recreational uses is directly counter to that instruction.

•This new funding request is more of the continuing effort by the CWCB to spend public funds to develop another report that will be used to oppose the efforts of local governments to obtain RICDs.

•The “other relevant factors” identified in SB-37 include the benefits of the RICD to a community. This will be different for every river and every community. Moreover, the CWCB has taken the position in court that the economic benefit of RICDs is irrelevant to securing a water right. (See CWCB’s Motion in Limine in Steamboat RICD Trial.) Despite many water court rulings indicating this issue is extremely relevant, the CWCB has consistently declined to prepare any report when it could be tested in court. They should not be allowed to now spend taxpayer money on a study that will not be subject to rigorous scrutiny.

The following organizations and local governments have also signed on to these arguments against Section 17 of SB122:

Eagle River Water & Sanitation District
San Juan Citizens Alliance
Upper Eagle Water Authority
Western Resource Advocates
Vail Associates
City of Steamboat Springs
Trout Unlimited
Colorado Environmental Coalition
Colorado Conservation Voters

Boaters are a unique player in the water rights dilemma in that we are able to use the water without consuming or polluting it; we have no effect on the quantity or quality of water available to other users.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Josh Tetreault
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Josh. This is exactly what we are looking for. The bill is up for vote in the Senate Ag committee on Thursday. I suspect that it will get out of there and then we will be faced with a vote in the general assembly where hopefully it will die a quick painful death.

Keep at 'em guys!!
 

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DO IT. Just put your name at the top of powhounds letter and fire it off to your state senator and even to any sneator whos district is one that you regularly paddle in. DO IT.
 

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Done.

I look at this kind of stuff as the "civil rights movement for boaters". We have to stand up for our rights, or they will be trampled by the powerful interests that have opposing viewpoints. Its easy to take things for granted, but its the continuous work of groups like Colorado Whitewater and American Whitewater that help keep our rivers clean, open to boater access, and keep water in them.

It's easy to think someone else will do it, or that it will get done anyway, but it won't. These issues and the two groups in particular need our support. The more people that support, the more we can all get done. If you like having a legal putin for the numbers (thanks AW!), or if you like surfing and playing in the BV or Salida parks, or if you like dusting off the skills in golden in the early season, take the time to send a note.

Also take the time to think about membership to CW or AW. Each is a small donation, and you get magazines from both. Cool reading. Way worth the cash.

Preaching to the choir, I know, but there are lots of folks for whatever reason don't make or don't have the time, or the cash to support this type of stuff. How important is boating to you? Do you want your kids to be able to boat? This month's AW Journal lists colorado as its number 1 river issue. Supporting AW means supporting colorado boating too. There are still many battles to be fought, and these groups need all of our support.
 

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Bump.
I wrote my senator.
Dan, could you please let us know if this hits the house and needs another round of letters?
Unfortunately, I only rarely have time for anything more than play parks these days - it would really suck if they were dried up.
 

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Rise up, fellow paddlers!! The bastille is this way!!

I'm writing letters from Iraq. It's that important. Do it. Do it.
 

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Here is text from an e-mail I sent yesterday to my reps. If you want to poach some additional points. These people will just not give up until we can get Ritter to axe a bunch of them and have them replaced with more progressive board members. Actually does anyone know if the Governor appoints CWCB? I guess I just assumed he does.



Ms. Schwartz and Mr. Massey, I just wanted to drop you a note to voice my opposition to the CWCB’s request for $150,000 to study Recreational In-Channel Diversion (RICD) filings. As an active, grassroots, supporter of the whitewater parks here in Chaffee County and the subsequent RICD filing by our County; I have an acute awareness of the importance of the whitewater parks to our local economies. I also have an awareness of the CWCB’s institutional opposition to the RICD, across the board.



A CWCB “study” of RICD’s is laughable on the face of it. I could probably write an executive summary of their findings right now. The CWCB is currently made up of ideologues who will continue to fight the concept of water being left in rivers in this State. I do think the concept of RICD’s being part of an objective study is a good one. However the study should be overseen by a panel of municipalities, legal experts, conservation organizations, and recreational interests.



As hard as it has been for local communities to secure these water rights I believe it would be a slap in the face of local communities, for the State of Colorado to fund a study that is being led by the CWCB. Keep in mind the State is at least 0 for 6 in the opposition of RICD’s and that each one of those cases represents a situation where local taxpayers were seeing their tax dollars being put to use fighting their State tax dollars in water court, over keeping water in their local stream.



The CWCB, as it is currently constituted, is incapable of undertaking an objective study. Please either reject this request, outright, or at least put some caveats on how the study is undertaken. Thanks for taking the time to read this note and for your continued hard work on our behalf.



Sincerely,

Mike Harvey
 

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I'm assuming that people are posting their letters as encouragement to cut and paste. That's my plan if there are no objections.
 

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Senators and Reps

Just got a hit back from one of my Reps. - She wants to know if we oppose any part of SB 122 other than section 17. As I have no idea what else is in this bill advice would be appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Re: Senators and Reps

raftus said:
Just got a hit back from one of my Reps. - She wants to know if we oppose any part of SB 122 other than section 17. As I have no idea what else is in this bill advice would be appreciated.
Section 17 is what we are focusing on. It is the only part that seems to be attacking RICD's. I have a copy of the entire bill as a PDF if you'd like it, send me a PM with your email address and I can send it to you.

Here is Section 17:

SECTION 17. Recreational in-channel diversions and instream flow water rights studies - appropriation.

(1) In addition to any other appropriation, there is hereby appropriated, out of any moneys in the Colorado water conservation board construction fund not otherwise appropriated, to the Colorado water conservation board, for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2007, the sum of one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000), or so much thereof as may be necessary, for the board to complete studies evaluating how instream flow water rights and recreational in-channel diversion water rights affect both current and future management of Colorado's water and providing an objective analysis of the different methods for quantifying recreational in-channel diversion water rights. The scope of work for the project shall be developed by the board. This study shall focus on: (a) Determining whether there are objectively determinable flows for different recreational uses; and (b) Analyzing the other relevant factors established pursuant to Senate Bill 06-037. (2) The moneys appropriated in subsection (1) of this section shall remain available for the designated purposes until the project is completed.
 

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Write them all!

I just sent off 4 emails: one to my state senator and another 3 to senators whose districts I visit to go boating.

I live in Boulder, so I sent a note to Ron Tupa ([email protected])

I also sent email to
Joan Fitz-Grerald (Summit, Grand, Gilpin, Boulder counties) at [email protected]
Moe Keller (Represents Golden) at [email protected]
and
Jack Taylor (Eagle, Garfield, Routt counties) at [email protected]

I explained that I didn't live in their district, but that I visit to go kayaking and I support stores and restaurants in their district.
 

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Maybe since the CWCB is a body appointed by the governor we may entertain the notion of lobbying the new man in Denver. I am not familiar with Ritter's water policies, but it might be a good idea to let him know about ours.
It seems to me that when the annual number of tourist dollars spent in our state is watched so closely that one would want to encourage recreational endeavors especially when they are non-distructive and non-polluting.

I believe that it is a move by the CWCB to try to expand their mandate at the expense of the taxpayer. And as far as I can see (correct me if I am wrong here) everything that has already been decided in court is outside their grasp anyway.

Does that make any sense, or am I misunderstanding the situation?

-Bryan
 

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I have a pretty substantial knowledge of RICDs and this bill is no good. I don't know what the CWCB's findings will be but I am sure we will not like them. I just e-mailed my senator. Take ten minutes to do your part. Tell your senator you do not want $150,000 of your tax dollars spent on a study when the results are a foregone conclusion, and it will only result in increased litigation and financial burden on small communities that want RICDS.

Josh
 

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Lobbying

It might also be worthwhile to let the Colorado Tourism Board know about this - they might want to get involved in the lobbying efforts. Maybe that communication should be from someone at Colorado Whitewater directly to the Colorado Tourism Board.
 

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I'm assuming that people are posting their letters as encouragement to cut and paste. That's my plan if there are no objections.
fire away or edit some of them together. I wanted to post mine so that people could poach as needed. this is a good one to stay on and then I think we should be hitting up our new guy for some more progressive CWCB board members.
 
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