Water Update

By John Orr MINUTE 323 Several tributaries of the Colorado River get their start in the crags of the Central Colorado mountains. Storied rivers: Blue, Eagle, Roaring Fork and the powerhouse Gunnison. They’ve all faced the footstep of humankind. The mines dotting the slopes, hay fields, ranching, orchards and cornfields bear witness and are now […]

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Water Update

by John Orr Preston Frank Kaess Moves on to Greener Pastures Mr. Kaess passed on Nov. 6, 2013 in La Junta. Born in Rocky Ford, Kaess never ranged far from the Arkansas River and its tributaries, and in particular, Salida, where he graduated from high school in 1948 and married his wife, Patricia, in 1950. […]

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Water Update

Snowpack and Drought “Spring is an incredibly important time of year for Colorado’s water supplies,” observed State Climatologist Nolan Doesken in a March 18 press release from Colorado State University. He was commenting on the dryness of the soil and forests across Colorado while watching the smoke from a rare wintertime forest fire west of […]

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Water Update

by John Orr  Drought and Trout Back in May, Front Range cities were falling all over themselves telling their customers that there would be no watering restrictions over the summer turf season, despite the fact that a meager snowpack – rivaling the drought year of 2002 – was melting out weeks early. When the Upper […]

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Water Update

by John Orr The National Ski Areas Association Sues the Forest Service Colorado Supreme Court Justice Greg Hobbs was speaking over in Breckenridge a couple of years back and told the group in attendance that “the water ditch is the basis of society.” Colorado law grew from those simple agricultural roots: put the water to […]

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Water Update

 by John Orr Colorado River Basin: Colorado College State of the Rockies Project “For some reason we’re starting this in October,” quips Will Stauffer-Norris, standing in cold weather gear and snowshoes, down valley from the headwaters of the Green River. He made the statement in the first video chronicling his journey – along with fellow […]

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Water Update

 by John Orr Summitville Clean Up It’s been nearly 20 years since the Environmental Protection Agency started cleanup efforts at the Summitville Mine. Runoff from the former open pit gold mine and its cyanide leach field was blamed for killing all aquatic life in the Alamosa River. In early September the Colorado Department of Public […]

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Water Update

 by John Orr New hydroelectric generation plant online near Creede Humphreys family member Ruth Brown flipped the switch on the family’s new $1.3 million 310 kilowatt hydroelectric generation station on July 15. The new plant utilizes an existing 90 foot tall concrete arch dam and reservoir that Brown’s great grandfather built in 1923 below the […]

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Water Update

by John Orr La Niña, snowpack and runoff The picture can change quickly when you’re watching the Colorado snowpack. On March 26 snowpack as a percent of average was declining in the Arkansas basin and San Luis Valley but by the end April things had improved considerably. The winter was dominated by La Niña. Cool […]

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Water Update

Water Update by John Orr Denzel Goodwin The Upper Arkansas Valley said goodbye to cowboy, rancher and visionary Denzel Goodwin in February just before his 87th birthday. Goodwin (along with attorney Ken Baker) led the petition drive in the late 1970s that established the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District. Goodwin led the organization for 25 […]

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Water Update

by John Orr Coloradans elect John Hickenlooper What fun it was watching the election season last year. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper won the chance to deal with Colorado’s fiscal vise grip – TABOR, Amendment 23 and the Gallagher Amendment. The three constitutional amendments essentially tie the hands of the legislature and governor when they try […]

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Water Update

by John Orr Forecasting water year 2011 November 1 is the usual start of the water year here in Colorado, although some – including the the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – say it starts on October 1. That said, by the time December rolls around the new water year has started, irrigation is mostly […]

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Water Update

by John Orr Runoff Most of Colorado’s water users – municipal, agricultural, recreational and industrial – depend on annual snowmelt for their supplies. So it’s no wonder that many across Colorado watch the snowpack closely through the beginning of the water year and then anxiously anticipate the runoff. Will it come off too fast to […]

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Water Update

by John Orr Taylor River rafting rift comes full circle The epic saga, termed “row vs. wade” by some opponents, ended up with a deal for this season between Wilder on the Taylor fishing reserve owners Jackson-Shaw and the owners of the two rafting operations, Three Rivers Outfitting and Scenic River Tours. Hours of operation […]

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Water Update – October 2009

by John Orr It’s been a good water year so far Streamflow in the Arkansas River kept most everyone happy this summer. The runoff came early and high flows were bolstered by a cool and wet beginning to the season and plenty of transmountain water. The above average boating season lasted well into August.

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