Measuring water diversions and avoiding mudslides
Aspen Journalism was set to attend an event in the Homestake Valley Thursday morning sponsored by the Eagle River Watershed Council highlighting the debate over whether or not to build a second dam in the valley that would facilitate the diversion of more Western Slope water to thirsty cities on the Front Range. Representatives of water providers in Colorado Springs and Aurora, who are planning the reservoir, as well as Wilderness Workshop, the Carbondale-based environmental nonprofit that has indicated it will sue the Forest Service to stop the project, were set to present, so we were going to bring some popcorn. The only problem? The Homestake Valley, whose namesake creek feeds into the Eagle River, is on the other side of Glenwood Canyon, and it seems that there’s just as good a chance the interstate that runs through, connecting the Roaring Fork and Vail valleys, will be closed this month due to mudslides as there is that it will be open.
The frequent mudslides are courtesy of last summer’s Grizzly Creek Fire, which burned over 32,600 acres, mainly along the steep walls and tumbling creek drainages of the canyon. The burn scar left nothing in place to hold the earth in place, so it washes onto the road and into the Colorado River with the onset of afternoon monsoon showers.
The theme for the week became clear as of Wednesday evening, when the Homestake hike was postponed, likely until August or September, due to the Interstate 70 mudslide threat cutting off participants. Environmental hazards are expressing real-life consequences for the region. That’s true whether you are trying to drive through Glenwood Canyon or are having to update the infrastructure along your irrigation ditch in order to accurately measure how much water is diverted, as Water Desk Editor Heather Sackett detailed in her story published this week. The emphasis on diversion measurement requirements, part of an effort to increase compliance in areas where irrigators have not been used to keeping detailed records, is becoming more and more necessary as water managers plan for a future that could include incentives to conserve water, or possibly edicts that use be curtailed.
A look through the news confirms that these trends are real and growing. Wildfire smoke from the Western U.S. darkened the skies in New York City and Philadelphia this week. Water agencies are having to pull alternatives out of their hat to deal with low streamflows. And every time the sky gets cloudy, you had better hope you are on the right side of Glenwood Canyon.
— Curtis Wackerle, editor
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By Laurine Lassalle | July 23, 2021
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Source: cpr.org | Read more
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‘The only tool we have:’ CDOT turns to response strategies following multiple mudslides on I-70
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No masks required for students in Colorado’s worst COVID county
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Source: westword.com | Read more
Fish survival in question in some shrinking area agricultural reservoirs
“Ute bands identified themselves by the land or “core area” they came from. The “‘Fish salvage is very complicated,’ he said. ‘You can be up to your knees in mud. Logistically, it’s not that easy. Fish salvage from drawn-down reservoirs and lakes can be difficult and unsafe.’”
Source: steamboatpilot.com | Read more
Learning from Aspen
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Source: usu.edu | Read more
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