Upper Colorado Region News Releases http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom News Releases from Reclamation's Upper Colorado Region http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=47947 Reclamation discontinues early season impoundment of water at Steinaker Reservoir
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – On Wednesday, September 24, 2014, the Bureau of Reclamation discontinued early season impoundment of water at Steinaker Reservoir near Vernal, Utah. <P> "This action is a precautionary measure to facilitate the agency's investigation of a displacement in material on the upstream face of Steinaker Dam," said Wayne Pullan, Reclamation's Provo Area Office Manager. "There is no evidence of any threat to public safety." <P> Canal companies served by the reservoir are able to irrigate late season crops using the flows that would have been impounded in the reservoir. There is no anticipated effect on current year irrigation or municipal or industrial water supplies. Storage in the reservoir will resume after Reclamation’s investigation is complete and any remediation work is finished. <P> Flows of Ashley Creek are stored by Steinaker Dam, an off-stream dam constructed in Steinaker Draw about 3.5 miles north of Vernal. This dam is a zoned earthfill structure with a height of 162 feet, a crest length of 1,997 feet, and a volume of 1,892,000 cubic yards. Steinaker Reservoir has a total capacity of 38,173 acre-feet, and a surface area of 820 acres. <P> For more information please contact Provo Area Office Manager Wayne Pullan at 801-369-2778, or Reclamations Upper Colorado Regional Public Affairs Officer Matthew Allen at 801-524-3774. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=47933 Brantley Reservoir Storing Water during Heavy Rains on the Pecos
CARLSBAD, NM - Dams along the Pecos River are working properly and operating as they should although large-scale rain events over the entire basin continue to cause flooding in southeastern New Mexico. <P> Brantley Reservoir, located less than 10 miles north of Carlsbad, is currently holding about 59,000 acre-feet of water. It has risen approximately four feet over the last week. The reservoir's flood capacity is about 1 million acre-feet so there is plenty of room to continue capturing any inflow. The Bureau of Reclamation shut down any releases from Brantley late last week in anticipation of the storms. <P> The majority of the flood waters in the area have come from Rocky Arroyo and Dark Canyon Draw, which both reach the Pecos south of Brantley. Lake Avalon, a very small reservoir between Brantley and Carlsbad, reached its capacity of about 5,000 acre-feet with flood waters from Rocky Arroyo, which exceeded a 36,000 cubic-foot-per-second flow on Sunday night. The rate at which Avalon Dam is spilling water has rapidly slowed. <P> Dark Canyon Draw, which meets the Pecos in Carlsbad, also peaked last night and is now flowing at a lower rate. The Pecos River channel capacity of about 20,000 cubic-feet-per-second was reached and briefly exceeded in the Carlsbad area last night due to uncontrolled floods from these two tributaries, and historic rainfall amounts. Flood waters continue to recede, but water managers continue to closely monitor storm cells again brewing in the area. <P> The Bureau of Reclamation is coordinating closely with the Carlsbad Irrigation District. We are also working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Weather Service, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, the Red Bluff Irrigation District and the Fort Sumner Irrigation District. <P> Residents living along the Pecos in the Carlsbad area should be on alert and listen for any directions from Eddy County. If you are not working with area law enforcement, the irrigation district or Reclamation, please abide by local evacuation and emergency warnings and stay away from spillways, draws, arroyos and the Pecos River. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=47897 Reclamation Releases the Final Environmental Assessment for Piping the Minnesota Canal Extension Ditch
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Reclamation announced today that it has released a final environmental assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for piping Minnesota Canal and Reservoir Company’s extension ditch located in Delta County, Colo. The project involves replacing approximately 3.8 miles of unlined earthen canal with buried water pipeline. The purpose of the project is to improve the efficiency of water delivery to canal users and reduce salinity loading in the Colorado River Basin. Funding for the piping project is being provided through the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program. <P> The final environmental assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact is available on <a href="http://www.usbr.gov/uc/envdocs/ea/MinnesotaCanal/phase2/index.html">our website</a> or a copy can be received by contacting Reclamation. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=47852 Reclamation Releases the Final Environmental Assessment for Developing Hydropower at Drop 4 of the South Canal
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Reclamation announced today that it has released a final environmental assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for a hydropower project at Drop 4 of the South Canal, part of the Uncompahgre Project in Montrose, Colorado. <P> The project, proposed by the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association, will be located at existing Reclamation facilities on the South Canal. A Lease of Power Privilege will authorize the use of federal facilities and Uncompahgre Project water to construct, operate, and maintain a 4.8 megawatt hydropower facility and 1.27 miles of associated interconnect power lines. <P> The hydropower plant will operate on irrigation water conveyed in the South Canal, and no new diversions will occur as a result of the hydropower project. Construction activities and operation of the hydropower plant will not affect the delivery of irrigation water. <P> The final environmental assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact is available on <a href="GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Reclamation announced today that it has released a final environmental assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for a hydropower project at Drop 4 of the South Canal, part of the Uncompahgre Project in Montrose, Colorado. <P> The project, proposed by the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association, will be located at existing Reclamation facilities on the South Canal. A Lease of Power Privilege will authorize the use of federal facilities and Uncompahgre Project water to construct, operate, and maintain a 4.8 megawatt hydropower facility and 1.27 miles of associated interconnect power lines. <P> The hydropower plant will operate on irrigation water conveyed in the South Canal, and no new diversions will occur as a result of the hydropower project. Construction activities and operation of the hydropower plant will not affect the delivery of irrigation water. <P> The final environmental assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact is available online at http://www.usbr.gov/uc/envdocs/index.html, or a copy can be received by contacting Reclamation. ">our web site</a> or a copy can be received by contacting Reclamation. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=47851 Reclamation to Construct a Security Fence Around the Navajo Dam Maintenance Facility
DURANGO, Colo. – Reclamation announced today that additional security fence will be installed at the Navajo Dam Maintenance Facility located immediately below Navajo Dam. The additional fencing is part of an ongoing project required to secure the operations and maintenance facilities and to enhance public safety. <P> Construction will begin September 8, 2014, and take a few weeks to complete. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=47786 Adaptive Management Work Group to Meet in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Colorado River Topics
The Bureau of Reclamation announced that the Adaptive Management Work Group will meet on August 27 - 28, 2014 in Flagstaff, Ariz., to address topics related to the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program. The AMWG committee provides a forum for discussion of topics related to the operation of Glen Canyon Dam and ongoing monitoring of resource conditions downstream of the dam. <P> A number of agenda items will be covered during the two-day meeting including current Upper Colorado River Basin hydrology and Glen Canyon Dam operations; the Water Year 2015 hydrograph; science updates on food-base studies, status of humpback chub and trout and new insights on trout-chub dynamics, and the changing substrate of the Colorado River; 2015-2017 budget and work plan items; new information on razorback sucker in western Grand Canyon; and the status of the Glen Canyon Dam Long-Term Experimental and Management Plan Environmental Impact Statement including draft alternatives, process, and current schedule. <P> The AMWG is a federal advisory committee appointed by the Secretary of the Interior with representatives from federal agencies, Colorado River Basin states, Native American Tribal governments, environmental groups, recreation interests, and contractors for federal power from Glen Canyon Dam. The Secretary receives recommendations on how to best protect downstream resources and balance river operations through the varied stakeholder interests represented by the AMWG. <P> The meeting will be held at the Little America Hotel, Ballroom B, 2515 East Butler Avenue, Flagstaff, Ariz. The meeting will begin on August 27, at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will run from 8:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on August 28. For more information on the Adaptive Management Work Group meeting, please visit our <a href="http://www.usbr.gov/uc/rm/amp/amwg/mtgs/14aug27/index.html">website.</a> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=47407 Reclamation Releases a Final Environmental Assessment for Piping the Slack and Patterson Laterals
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Reclamation announced today that it has released a final environmental assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact on piping Roger’s Mesa Water Distribution Association’s Slack and Patterson Laterals off the Fire Mountain Canal, located in Delta County, Colo. The project involves replacing approximately 9.4 miles of unlined earthen laterals with buried water pipeline. The purpose of the project is to improve the efficiency of water delivery to ditch users and reduce salinity loading in the Colorado River Basin. <P> The final environmental assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact is available on our <a href="http://www.usbr.gov/uc/envdocs/index.html">web site</a> or a copy can be received by contacting Reclamation. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=47406 Reclamation Releases a Final Environmental Assessment for Constructing a Parking Lot near Fruitgrowers Reservoir
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Reclamation announced today that it has released a final environmental assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for a license agreement to allow Delta County to construct, operate, and maintain a parking area at Fruitgrowers Reservoir. Fruitgrowers Reservoir is located near Eckert, Colo., the parking area will consist of a 20 car parking lot and boundary fence. The parking area would address safety concerns by removing cars and pedestrians from the shoulder of the North Road. <P> The final environmental assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact is available on our <a href="http://www.usbr.gov/uc/envdocs/index.html">web site</a> or a copy can be received by contacting Reclamation. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=47244 Stegomastodon Found at Elephant Butte
ELEPHANT BUTTE, N.M. – Excavation is nearly complete on the site where a Stegomastodon has rested for millions of years near Elephant Butte Reservoir. <P> Campers in the area discovered what appeared to be a jaw bone and tusk on Monday and reported the discovery to New Mexico State Parks, who manage the land for the Bureau of Recreation under an agreement with Reclamation. <P> Scientists from Reclamation, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science and New Mexico State Parks tentatively identified the fossil of the prehistoric elephant based on photos from the campers. New Mexico State Parks immediately closed the area to the public and secured the fossil until excavation could begin today. <P> "This area was under water until just a couple of weeks ago when the lake level dropped as Reclamation began releasing water for irrigation," said Kay Dunlap, Elephant Butte Lake State Park Director. <P> The Stegomastodon discovery provides both a unique and potentially more complete specimen for scientists to study. The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science led the excavation, and will lead the study of the specimen. <P> Reclamation Archaeologist Mark Hungerford described the discovery as a "rare and extremely important find." <P> To date, Reclamation has documented close to 180 paleontological sites on its land throughout the 17 Western states. Under the requirements of the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act of 2009, Reclamation must protect paleontological resources on our land using scientific principles and expertise. <P> Crews expect to complete excavation today. Although this find has generated much interest from the public, it is important to remember that it is a violation of federal and state law to remove archaeological and paleontological specimens from federal or state lands. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=47408 Reclamation Releases a Final Environmental Assessment for Developing Hydropower at Shavano Falls
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Reclamation announced today that it has released a final environmental assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for a hydropower project in an area referred to as "Shavano Falls," part of the Uncompahgre Project in Montrose, Colo. <P> The project, proposed by the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association, will be located at existing Reclamation facilities on the Montrose and Delta Canal at Shavano Falls. A Lease of Power Privilege will authorize the use of federal facilities and Uncompahgre Project water to construct, operate, and maintain a 2.8 megawatt hydropower facility. <P> The hydropower plant will operate on irrigation water conveyed in the Montrose and Delta Canal, and no new diversions will occur as a result of the hydropower project. Construction activities and operation of the hydropower plant will not affect the delivery of irrigation water. <P> The final environmental assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact is available on our <a href="http://www.usbr.gov/uc/envdocs/index.html">web site</a> or a copy can be received by contacting Reclamation. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=47225 Reclamation Announces Public Meeting on Recreation at Lake Nighthorse
DURANGO, Colo. - Reclamation will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 from 5 pm to 7 pm on recreation at Lake Nighthorse, part of the Animas-La Plata Project. The meeting will be at the Durango Community Recreation Center, 2700 Main Avenue, in the Eolus and Sunlight Meeting Rooms. Reclamation will provide a brief presentation, and the public will be able to ask questions and look at maps and plans about recreation at Lake Nighthorse. <P> Currently, Reclamation is working with all Animas-La Plata Project partners and stakeholders to reach consensus regarding development and management of recreation at Lake Nighthorse. We believe we are nearing an agreement to integrate recreation into the project, while ensuring compatibility with the primary purposes of the project for municipal and industrial water supply. <P> We are conducting regular meetings with partners and stakeholders to discuss and resolve a broad range of issues concerning water quality, environmental protection, and tribal trust responsibilities of the United States government. Many issues have been resolved and Reclamation continues to work on remaining issues, including working closely with Association members to ensure protection of cultural resources and annexation of project lands by the city of Durango for administration of recreation and law enforcement purposes. <P> For more information about the Animas – La Plata Project, please visit our <a href="http://www.usbr.gov/uc/progact/animas/index.html">website</a> or phone 970-385-6500, or email <a href="mailto:wcaoinfo@usbr.gov">wcaoinfo@usbr.gov</a>. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=47429 Reclamation Releases a Draft Environmental Assessment for Piping the Minnesota Canal Extension Ditch
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Reclamation announced today that it has released a draft environmental assessment on piping Minnesota Canal and Reservoir Company's extension ditch located in Delta County, Colo. The project involves replacing approximately 3.8 miles of unlined earthen canal with buried water pipeline. The purpose of the project is to improve the efficiency of water delivery to canal users and reduce salinity loading in the Colorado River Basin. <P> The draft environmental assessment is available on our <a href="http://www.usbr.gov/uc/envdocs/index.html">web site</a> or a copy can be received by contacting Reclamation. <P> Reclamation will consider all comments received prior to preparing a final environmental assessment. Comments can be submitted to the email address above or to: Ed Warner, Area Manager, Bureau of Reclamation, 445 West Gunnison Ave, Suite 221, Grand Junction, CO 81501. Comments are due by Monday, June 30, 2014. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=47124 Reclamation to Perform Dam Safety Investigations at Soldier Creek Dam
SALT LAKE CITY - Reclamation announced today that it will soon begin dam safety investigations at Soldier Creek Dam which impounds Strawberry Reservoir. The investigations are routine and are not indicative of any threat to public safety or to the viability of the dam. <P> The planned work will consist of digging three test pits on the downstream face of the dam. The work will require the removal of a section of guardrail at each test pit location. While heavy equipment is being positioned to dig the test pits, there may some sporadic and minor delays to traffic flowing across the crest of the dam—on Forest Road 090 between Highway 40 and the Aspen Grove Campground. <P> Reclamation will work diligently to make certain all work is performed on weekdays, not impacting weekend use of the Aspen Grove Campground and its boat ramp.The investigation work is expected to be completed between Tuesday, June 10 and Thursday, June 19, 2014. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=47064 Above Average Snowpack will Enhance Temporary Increase in Releases from Flaming Gorge Dam to Benefit Endangered Fish
SALT LAKE CITY - Above average snowpack in the upper Green River Basin will enable Reclamation to increase the overall duration of the planned temporary increase in releases from Flaming Gorge Dam to benefit endangered razorback sucker in the Green River below the dam. <P> Scientists have detected the presence of larval razorback sucker in critical nursery habitat in the flood plains in the Green River which is the 'trigger' for increasing releases from Flaming Gorge Dam. Beginning Monday, June 2, 2014, flows will increase to powerplant capacity 4,600 cubic-feet-per-second for approximately 14 days or until the flows in the Yampa River decrease to between 12,000-13,000 cfs. Bypass releases from the dam will then be initiated to support a total downstream release of 8,600 cfs for another 14 days to maintain the desired total flow in the river of 18,600 cfs at target locations. <P> Flows from Flaming Gorge Dam have been temporarily increased during the spring since 2011 as part of a multi-year cooperative experimental program to benefit the endangered razorback sucker. Flaming Gorge Reservoir is expected to receive 135 percent of average inflow volume this year supporting a longer increased release period. <P> Scientists have been monitoring the critical habitat to detect the first emergence of razorback sucker larvae as a 'trigger' for an experiment being implemented by Reclamation in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program. A major purpose of the experiment is to transport as many larval fish as possible into critical nursery habitat which exists in the floodplains along the Green River downstream of the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers. This nursery habitat connects to the river at flows at or above 18,600 cfs, which is the targeted flow this year with the above average hydrology. The increased releases from the dam combined with the Yampa River flows will provide the maximum possible flow to transport the larval fish. <P> Current projections are for the Yampa River to reach at least 16,400 cfs this Friday, May 30, and for flows to remain elevated between 15,000 to 16,000 cfs through June 5. The projected peak at Jensen, Utah, resulting from the combined flows of the Yampa River and Flaming Gorge releases is approximately 20,000 to 22,000 cfs. <P> The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has been consulted concerning the impacts of the releases to the rainbow trout fishery below the dam. While releases during this period will make fishing the river more difficult, no adverse impacts to the fishery are expected. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=47010 Releases from the Aspinall Unit to Increase Temporarily to Benefit Endangered Fish
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Reclamation will begin increasing releases from the Aspinall Unit, consisting of Blue Mesa, Morrow Point, and Crystal reservoirs on the Gunnison River, on May 23, 2014, as required by the Record of Decision for the Aspinall Unit Operations Final Environmental Impact Statement. The increased release will attempt to meet flow targets on the Gunnison River, designed to benefit endangered fish species downstream while continuing to meet the congressionally authorized purposes of the Aspinall Unit. <P> Beginning on May 23, 2014, flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon will begin increasing at a minimum of 500 cubic-feet-per-second a day resulting in flows through the canyon of around 9,000 cfs on June 2, 2014. Flows will remain at or above 8,000 cfs for 10 days before incrementally decreasing toward a range of 4000 cfs to 5000 cfs by the middle of June 2014. <P>