Trump actions can affect our watershed water quality

Boulder Waterkeeper Watershed Advocate Art Hirsch guest opinion published in Boulder Daily Camera. With an executive order changing the definition of the Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, upstream tributaries, marshes and wetlands will no longer be protected from pollutant discharges and filling. This action could impact the Boulder Creek Watershed and other watersheds’ ability to contain, filter and removed pollutants.

The opinion strongly urges individuals to contact their representatives and resist this unfortunate and inappropriate action by the Trump administration.

Boulder Waterkeeper Watershed Advocate Lobbies Congress regarding WOTUS Executive Rule

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to remove selected portions of the Clean Water Act. This action would removed water quality protection to upper watershed tributaries, marshes and wetlands (not directly adjacent to waterways) and ephemeral streams. Protection to over 1/3 of existing wetlands will be eliminated. This actions will essentially change the definition of Waters of the United States.

Art Hirsch (Boulder Waterkeeper Advocate) participated in a lobbying effort organized by Environment America to lobby the following representatives not to approve this Clean Water repeal:

Congressman Tipton
Congressman Coffman
Congresswomen DeGette
Senator Bennet
Senator Gardner

Waterkeeper Alliance Connects the Dots between Gross Reservoir and the Colorado River

Dear Boulder,

We’re part of a coalition of conservation groups fighting to save the Colorado River — and we need your help.

The expansion of the Gross Dam in Boulder County, Colorado would create the tallest dam in the state’s history; it also would increase water diversions from small tributaries to the Colorado River that are home to the endangered green lineage cutthroat trout. The project likely would kill thousands of these fish, which are protected under the Endangered Species Act. “The project would cause massive negative impacts on both sides of the continental divide, further drain the Colorado River, and further imperil endangered species,” said Gary Wockner, Poudre Waterkeeper and Director of SaveThe Colorado. “We will fight to protect the rivers and its fishes, and we will enforce the law.”

We are working to raise $5,000 to fund our efforts to stop this dam. Thanks to a generous benefactor, every dollar you donate before the end of the year will be matched!

Please join us in our fight to save the Colorado River, and the endangered fish that need free-flowing rivers in order to survive.

To clean water,

Marc Yaggi
Executive Director

Clean Water Act in Crisis

A proposed executive order changing the definition of the Waters of the US puts 3,000 watersheds at risk.

By limiting protections only to wetlands and streams that are “physically and meaningfully connected” to larger navigable bodies of water, the proposal would virtually eliminate the Clean Water Act’s protections across the arid West, from West Texas to Southern California, including most of New Mexico, Arizona,  and Nevada.  (Tan colored in the featured graphic)

Watershed advocates need to be outraged and active.

South Platte Regional Opportunities Working Group (SPROWG) Established

Significant discussions and initial grants have been made for an ambitious plan for water storage and reuse plans on the South Platte watershed.  Authorized by Colorado HB 16-1256 a South Platte Storage Study has been completed and organizing efforts are underway to find ways to recapture 300,000 Acre-feet per year of water that is flowing out of the state to Nebraska.

The South Platte Regional Opportunities Working Group (SPROWG) has been established and has received grants of $350,000 from the Metro and South Platte Basin Roundtables and the Colorado Water Conservation Board.  Organizations participating in the group include South Metro Water Supply Authority, Denver Water, Aurora Water, the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, the St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District, the North Sterling Irrigation District and the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District.

The concept includes 175,000 acre-feet of new water storage in three locations near Henderson, Kersey and Snyder and the construction of a pipeline back to the South Platte River north of Denver.

The costs and environmental impacts are being assessed.

Boulder County Asserts Land Use Approval Authority over Gross Reservoir Expansion Plans

Boulder County has asserted the authority to conduct a land use review of the proposed Moffat Collection System Project.  In a letter dated October 12th, 2018 Denver Water requested an exemption from current land use codes.  In a letter dated October 22nd, 2018.  Boulder County denied this request and stated that Denver Water will need to obtain a new land use permit prior to undertaking any work on the project.

The impact of this action is significant.  Denver Water was ready to proceed with the project, but that will not be possible without either approval from Boulder County or litigation.

Dam Failure in the Mekong River Watershed

On July 23rd the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam a $1B hydroelectric project funded by South Korea floods villages in Laos and Cambodia and illuminates the dangerous water politics and policies along the Mekong river.  Dozens dead, hundreds missing and thousands displaced.  

Lao government to suspend all new hydropower dam contracts.

Hoover Dam as a $3B Battery?

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Los Angeles mayor Mayor Eric M. Garcetti are proposing a $3B project to utilize Hoover Dam for hydroelectical pumped power storage to manage electricity demand.

The concept targeted, for 2028, is to pump water uphill from 20 miles downriver from the dam using peak solar and wind power to be released for hydro-generation when required.  Significant political, environmental and economic challenges will need to be considered and addressed.

Sustainable Fishing (and Guiding), Catch and Release Best Practices

When I started fishing in 1960, we killed every fish we caught. Over a half-century later, even though there are 1000 times more anglers, there are more fish and larger trout in Colorado waters.  A big reason for this is the number of folks practicing Catch and Release or Catch and Choose the Fish to Release.

Over the years we have learned more about what stresses fish and techniques for proper fish handling.  Fish released properly have a 90% chance of survival

This link describes the best practices for handling fish to increase their chance of survival after release:

Catch and Release Trout; Best Practices