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=54751 Flows Increase on the Rio Grande and Rio Chama
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Flows through the Middle Rio Grande and Rio Chama are on the rise as the spring runoff is supplemented with water from El Vado Reservoir for the benefit of the environment and endangered species. <P> The Bureau of Reclamation, New Mexico Office of the State Engineer and Interstate Stream Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District and Rio Chama Watershed Partnership came together to create this coordinated flow event. <P> “This is a great example of what can happen when everyone works together for the benefit of our river systems,” said Jennifer Faler, Albuquerque Area Manager for the Bureau of Reclamation. <P> The higher flows on both rivers will provide a great opportunity for recreation this Memorial Day weekend, but the public should use caution as water levels are higher and moving faster than we’ve experienced in recent years. <P> The release from El Vado to Abiquiu is currently at 2,000 cubic feet per second. That will double by Wednesday and then will begin dropping back down to about 2,000 cubic feet per second by Friday. It will remain at that level for a couple of weeks. This flow, which is beneficial to the ecosystem of the Rio Chama, includes the bypass of the inflow to El Vado Reservoir as well as the scheduled release of water stored with approval of the Rio Grande Compact states of Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. This agreement allowed for the storage of close to 40,000 acre-feet of water in El Vado between May 2 and May 20. The Rio Grande Compact Commission approved a resolution to allow for the temporary modification of storage operations at El Vado at its March meeting. <P> “This collaborative operation has multiple benefits,” said State Engineer and Rio Grande Compact Commissioner Tom Blaine. “Not only does it continue to provide water to allocated users, it also helps the restoration efforts for endangered species.” <P> The release from Abiquiu Reservoir is scheduled to rise to about 1,800 cubic feet per second by Wednesday and continue for approximately two weeks. The release from Cochiti Dam will be close to 3,300 for about two weeks. This flow will also benefit the entire ecosystem and is aimed at signaling the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow to spawn. Minnow numbers have been low in recent years as the drought has continued. However, a better spring runoff last year helped support a slight improvement in minnow abundance. Monitoring for silvery minnow eggs will be conducted throughout this operation. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=54749 Reclamation Awards $2.4 Million Contract to Replace Excitation Systems at Flaming Gorge Powerplant
DUTCH JOHN, Utah. – The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $2.4 million contract to Koontz Electric Company, Inc., from Morrilton, Arizona, to replace the excitation systems in the three generating units at Flaming Gorge Powerplant. <P> The current exciters are at the end of their life cycle, most of the spare parts have been used and it is difficult to obtain new parts. The exciter is what provides the magnetic field to the generator and the presence of a rotating magnetic field induces current into the wingdings of the generator, which produces electricity. The exciter also provides the means to manipulate the strength of the magnetic field, so that more electricity can be produced and/or more water released. <P> Flaming Gorge Dam and Powerplant is part of the Colorado River Storage Project, which provides vital water storage and hydropower generation as well as providing recreation and improving conditions for fish and wildlife. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=54748 Reclamation Awards $1.4 Million Contract for Aquatic Invasive Species Inspection Services at Elephant Butte and Navajo Reservoirs
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a contract for $1.4 million to Pyramid Enterprises, Inc. of Valencia, California, to provide aquatic invasive species inspection services for watercrafts entering Elephant Butte Reservoir and Navajo Reservoir, New Mexico. <P> Aquatic invasive species continue to be a threat to waters in New Mexico. Currently, every state adjacent to New Mexico has one or more waterbodies with a population of zebra and quagga mussels. <P> Currently, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has four seasonal aquatic invasive species technicians to provide outreach and conduct inspections/decontaminations on watercraft entering Navajo Reservoir. Officials at Reclamation and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish determined there is a need to expand watercraft inspections to include Elephant Butte Reservoir. Given the volume of annual visitation at Elephant Butte Reservoir and Navajo Reservoir and the number of boat ramps available for watercraft owners, inspections done by the Department of Game and Fish staff alone is not feasible. This contract will provide additional inspection services. <P> A low-risk watercraft inspection is expected to last between one and three minutes and a high risk inspection to last between three and six minutes. This contract will ensure staffing at levels to efficiently inspect all motorized watercraft entering Elephant Butte Reservoir and Navajo Reservoir while keeping wait times and traffic backups to a minimum. Currently, there is not an inspection requirement of non-motorized watercraft; however, if an owner of a canoe, paddleboard, kayak, etc. enters the inspection station the staff will use the opportunity to provide public outreach regarding aquatic invasive species and will inspect the vessel if asked by the owner. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=54688 Western Colorado Area Office Participates in Water Festivals
In May 2016, employees and retirees of the Western Colorado Area Office participated in two water festivals. The first festival was the Children’s Water Festival in Durango, Colo., at Fort Lewis College on Wednesday, May 4. Over 700 fifth grade students attended the festival and the Western Colorado Area Office taught the “Colorado River Journey” where students learn about the Colorado River water diversions, water sources and water quality. <P> The second festival was the Western Colorado Children’s Festival in Grand Junction, Colo., at Colorado Mesa University on Monday, May 16 and Tuesday, May 17, this water festival in the largest in Colorado. Nearly 2,500 fifth grade students attended the festival where Western Colorado Area Office employees and retirees taught the “Colorado River Journey”. <P> Thank you to the Western Colorado Area Office employees and retirees who helped this year: Mike Baker, Susan Behery, Fredrick Busch, Ryan Christianson, Dan Crabtree, Justyn Liff, Marc Miller, Kevin Moran, Carrie Sheata, Jenny Ward and Melissa Werkmeister. An extra “thank you” goes to retired Western Colorado Area employees Mike Baker and Dan Crabtree who love the Water Festival so much they volunteered their time! <P> <img src="http://www.usbr.gov/uc/images/mediastories/TheJourney.jpg" alt="Students playing The Colorado River Journey."/> <P> <img src="http://www.usbr.gov/uc/images/mediastories/WCAOEmployeesTeachColoradoRiverJourney.jpg" alt="WCAO employees teaching the Colorado River Journey."/> <P> <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=54389 Work Begins on Lake Nighthorse Boat Inspection and Decontamination Station
DURANGO, Colo. – The Bureau of Reclamation is contracting with Weeminuche Construction Authority, a Ute Mountain Ute Tribe construction company for surveying and construction of the Lake Nighthorse boat inspection and decontamination station. Survey work and construction will begin in May 2016. <P> The station will be located off County Road 210 at the entrance of the Lake Nighthorse recreation area. The purpose of the station is to prevent aquatic invasive species from being introduced into Lake Nighthorse. <P> After construction is completed in September 2016, the area will remain closed to all public access. This is necessary until a recreation management entity is identified and appropriate recreation facilities are built to provide for public safety and protect resources from damage due to uncontrolled use. <P> Lake Nighthorse is a component of the Animas-La Plata Project, the project was built to fulfill the water rights settlement of the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian tribes of southwestern Colo. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=54291 Public Comment Extended on Rio Grande Operating Agreement Draft EIS
Albuquerque, N.M. – The Bureau of Reclamation is extending the public comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on continuing to implement the 2008 Operating Agreement for the Rio Grande Project Operating Agreement, and to implement long-term contracts for storage of San Juan-Chama Project water in Elephant Butte Reservoir. <P> The Notice of Extension of the comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement was published in the Federal Register on May 5, 2016. The public comment period for the Draft EIS will end on June 8, 2016. <P> The document was prepared to analyze the environmental effects of continuing to implement the Operating Agreement until 2050. The Operating Agreement fulfills obligations in Reclamation’s contracts with the Elephant Butte Irrigation District and El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1. The proposed action is also to implement long-term contracts for storage of San Juan-Chama Project water in Elephant Butte Reservoir, where Reclamation would execute a multiyear contract through 2050 to store 50,000 acre-feet per year. <P> The document is available at the Bureau of Reclamation website at http://www.usbr.gov/uc/albuq/rm/RGP/index.html. <P> Copies of the document are also available for public review at the following locations: <P> • Bureau of Reclamation, Albuquerque Area Office, 555 Broadway NE, Suite 100, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87102. <P> • Bureau of Reclamation, El Paso Field Division, 10737 Gateway West, Suite 350, El Paso, Texas, 79935. <P> • Natural Resources Library, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Main Interior Building, Washington, DC, 20240-0001. <P> • Elephant Butte Irrigation District, 530 South Melendres Street, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 88005. <P> • El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1, 13247 Alameda Avenue, Clint, Texas, 79836. <P> • El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1, Canutillo Office, 7254 La Junta Drive, Canutillo, Texas, 79835. <P> The Rio Grande Project extends from Elephant Butte in southern New Mexico down to west Texas. Its facilities include Elephant Butte and Caballo Dams and Reservoirs; Percha, Leasburg, Mesilla, American and International Diversion Dams; and canals and drains. <P> Written comments on the Draft EIS should be submitted to Nancy Coulam by e-mail at ncoulam@usbr.gov or by mail at Bureau of Reclamation, 125 State Street, Room 8100, Salt Lake City, Utah 84138-1147 on or before Monday, June 8, 2016. <P> ### <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=54147 East Portal Road Opens
MONTROSE, Colo. – The Bureau of Reclamation’s Curecanti Field Office announced today that the East Portal Road located east of Montrose will open on Friday, April 29 after being closed for the winter months. The road, beginning at the junction with State Highway 347, provides access to the Gunnison River within the Curecanti National Recreation Area, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, and Crystal Dam. <P> The East Portal Road will remain open throughout the summer and fall until snow, ice, or rockslides make it unsafe for travel. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=53827 Reclamation Extends Draft Environmental Assessment Comment Period for Lake Nighthorse Recreation Plan
DURANGO, Colo. – In response to multiple requests, the Bureau of Reclamation will extend the draft environmental assessment comment period for the Lake Nighthorse Recreation Plan to Wednesday, May 25. <P> The draft environmental assessment includes a no action alternative and three alternative recreation plans. These three proposed plans provide different scenarios for recreation at Lake Nighthorse while protecting water quality and sensitive natural, cultural, and other resources and ensure compatibility with the primary purpose of the Animas-La Plata Project for municipal and industrial water supply. <P> The draft environmental assessment is available online at http://www.usbr.gov/uc/progact/animas/index.html, under the Environmental Compliance tab, or interested groups and individuals may request a copy by contacting Justyn Liff at 970-248-0625. <P> Reclamation will consider all comments received prior to preparing a final environmental assessment. Written comments can be submitted by email to jliff@usbr.gov or mailed to: Ed Warner, Bureau of Reclamation, 445 West Gunnison Ave., Suite 221, Grand Junction, CO 81501. <P> Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. <P> Lake Nighthorse is a component of the Animas-La Plata Project that was built to fulfill the water rights settlement of the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian tribes of southwestern Colo. <P> <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=53767 Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Release 2016 Annual Operating Plan for Middle Rio Grande
Who: Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers <P> What: Release of Annual Operating Plan for the Middle Rio Grande <P> When: Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. <P> Where: Albuquerque: Bureau of Reclamation Albuquerque Office, 555 Broadway Boulevard NE, Suite 100, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Rio Grande Room or by web ex or conference call. <P> Why: To learn more about the process used for determining this year’s operating plan, water forecast, water storage, potential for water storage and release <P> How: Contact Mary Carlson at (505) 462-3576 with any questions. See information below for web ex/conference call. <P> Background: The Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites the public to their annual meeting to explain plans for water operations along the Middle Rio Grande in 2016. Snowpack is below average in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, but we still expect a modest spring runoff. The presentation will cover the process for determining the plan for water operations. It will include a review of the 2015 water predictions, as compared to actual storage and releases. Presenters will then explain the 2016 water forecast, potential for storage and release, and impacts to water-related recreation. <P> __________________________________ <P> The Albuquerque Area Office invites you to attend this online meeting. <P> Topic: Annual Operating Plan Meeting Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2016 Time: 1:30 pm, Mountain Daylight Time (Denver, GMT-06:00) Meeting Number: 806 550 456 Meeting Password: wZb5Mi28 <P> ------------------------------------------------------- <P> To join the online meeting <P> ------------------------------------------------------- <P> 1. Go to https://ucbor.webex.com/ucbor/j.php?MTID=m49e6caa22dbb5b378e8da3e9e5865963 2. If requested, enter your name and email address. 3. If a password is required, enter the meeting password: wZb5Mi28 4. Click "Join". <P> To view in other time zones or languages, please click the link: https://ucbor.webex.com/ucbor/j.php?MTID=m9fdb242758814281af6f442a7e64e0ec <P> ------------------------------------------------------- <P> To join the audio conference only <P> ------------------------------------------------------- <P> 866-916-4287 <P> Participant Passcode: 5287707 <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=53689 Geologic Drilling to Begin at Navajo Dam
DURANGO, Colo. – The Bureau of Reclamation will begin drilling at Navajo Dam on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 to conduct geologic assessments on the downstream slope of the dam. This work will allow Reclamation to characterize foundation materials and enable long term monitoring of groundwater. <P> Construction equipment traffic will be visible on or around the dam during drilling. Drilling activities will produce loud noises along with flying dust and possibly water flowing from drill holes. All of these are normal and expected during this type of project. Drilling is expected to be complete in August 2016. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=53568 Reclamation Awards $3.6 Million Contract for Reach 12B of Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a contract for construction of Reach 12B, a feature of the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, totaling $3.6 million to Weeminuche Construction Authority of Towaoc, Colorado. <P> Reach 12B, located on the San Juan Lateral of the project, consists of a 36-inch-diameter pipeline extending approximately 1.7 miles from Tohlakai Pumping Plant, a project feature currently under construction, to Reach 13, another project feature currently being completed by the City of Gallup. <P> When the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project is completed in 2024, the San Juan Lateral, including Reach 12B, will convey treated project water to Navajo communities as well as to the City of Gallup. In the interim, Reach 12B will provide a key connection that will enable the Navajo Nation to deliver non-project water from groundwater wells owned by the Nation on the Navajo Reservation to Navajo communities in the surrounding area, meeting critical and immediate water needs in those communities. <P> Construction of the pipeline, located approximately 8 miles north of Gallup, NM, in McKinley County, is expected to take 9 months to complete. <P> Construction of the overall project is on schedule for completion in 2024. In October, 2011, the project was identified by the Obama Administration as one of the 14 high-priority infrastructure projects to be expedited through the permitting and environmental review process to support job creation. <P> Project participants, in addition to the Navajo Nation, include the Jicarilla Apache Nation and the city of Gallup, in conjunction with Reclamation, the state of New Mexico, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Indian Health Service. The Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project is the cornerstone of the San Juan River Basin in New Mexico Navajo Nation Water Rights Settlement Agreement. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=53328 Reclamation Releases Draft Environmental Assessment for Lake Nighthorse Recreation Plan
DURANGO, Colo. – The Bureau of Reclamation has released a draft environmental assessment for the Lake Nighthorse Recreation Plan. <P> The draft environmental assessment includes a no action alternative and three alternative recreation plans. The three proposed plans provide different scenarios for recreation at Lake Nighthorse while protecting water quality and sensitive natural, cultural, and other resources and ensure compatibility with the primary purpose of the Animas-La Plata Project for municipal and industrial water supply. <P> “We appreciate the public’s patience as we work through the process of integrating recreation into the Animas-La Plata Project, said Ed Warner, Area Manager of the Western Colorado Area Office. “We are working as quickly as possible to make sure we address everyone’s concerns, follow regulations and requirements, and consider public safety. We encourage those interested in recreation at Lake Nighthorse to review the draft recreation plan and give us your comments on the proposed alternatives. We are looking forward to recreation becoming a reality on ALP Project lands in the future.” <P> The draft environmental assessment is available online at http://www.usbr.gov/uc/progact/animas/index.html, under the Environmental Compliance tab or a copy can be received by contacting Justyn Liff at 970-248-0625. <P> Reclamation will consider all comments received prior to preparing a final environmental assessment. Written comments can be submitted by email to jliff@usbr.gov or mailed to: Ed Warner, Bureau of Reclamation, 445 West Gunnison Ave., Suite 221, Grand Junction, CO 81501. Comments are due by Monday, April 25. <P> Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. <P> Lake Nighthorse is a component of the ALP Project. The ALP Project was built to fulfill the water rights settlement of the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian tribes of the southwestern Colo. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=53310 Students Today Leaders Forever Volunteer for a Service Project at Grand Junction Wildlife Area
On March 23, 2016, approximately 45 University of Wisconsin students from “Students Today Leaders Forever” volunteered at Reclamation’s Grand Junction Wildlife Area in Grand Junction, Colorado. The student volunteers pruned trees and cut and removed weed barrier material from around cottonwood trees at the wildlife area. The project ensured the health and growth of trees planted in the wildlife area 17 years ago. The trees are important because they provide wildlife habitat, soil stabilization, erosion control, and a measure of flood control. Student leaders with the Wisconsin Chapter of “Students Today Leaders Forever” organized a “Pay It Forward” bus tour over their spring break from Madison, Wisconsin, to Salt Lake City, Utah. The students completed four other volunteer projects before helping at the wildlife area. The wildlife area volunteer project is their last before they meet with other “Students Today Leaders Forever” members for their final volunteer project in Salt Lake City. Megan Dix, one of the student organizers said the volunteer projects have been and an amazing experience for all the students. <P> <img src="http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/images/2016/wisconsin/afterweedbarrierremoval.jpg" alt="After the removal of the weed barrier"> <img src="http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/images/2016/wisconsin/beforeweedbarrierremoval.jpg" alt="Before the removal of the weed barrier"> <img src="http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/images/2016/wisconsin/ptrees.jpg" alt="Pruning Trees"> <img src="http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/images/2016/wisconsin/removingweedbarrier.jpg" alt="A student removing weed barrier"> <img src="http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/images/2016/wisconsin/weedbarrierremoval.jpg" alt="A student removing weed barrier"> <P> <P> <P> <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=53308 Reclamation Awards $8.6 Million Contract for Construction of Orchard Mesa Irrigation District’s Regulating Reservoir
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded an $8.6 million contract for construction of the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District’s regulating reservoir on behalf of the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program. The contract was awarded to Kissner General Contractors, Inc. from Cedaredge, Colorado. <P> Construction of the 74 acre-foot regulating reservoir on Orchard Mesa, Colorado, is the next feature to be built on the OMID’s Canal System’s Improvement Project. Major features of the project include: construction of the regulating reservoir, upgraded check structures in canals, installation of remote monitoring systems, replacement of some open earth laterals with pressurized pipeline, and improved operational procedures. <P> The improvements will provide a more reliable water supply throughout the canal system and conserve approximately 17,000 acre-feet per year. This water will also benefit endangered fishes, wildlife, and river recreation in the important “15-Mile” reach of the Colorado River downstream of Palisade, Colorado. <P> Construction on the regulating reservoir will begin in spring 2016 and be completed in spring 2017. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=53189 Students Today Leaders Forever Volunteer for a Service Project at Grand Junction Wildlife Area
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Approximately 45 participants in “Students Today Leaders Forever” from the University of Wisconsin are volunteering to cut and remove weed barrier material from around cottonwood trees at the Grand Junction Wildlife Area. This project will ensure the health and growth of trees planted in the wildlife area 17 years ago. The trees are important because they provide wildlife habitat, soil stabilization, erosion control, and a measure of flood control. <P> Shannon Hatch, Restoration Coordinator for the Tamarisk Coalition said, “We are fortunate the “Students Today Leaders Forever” program reached out to the Desert Rivers Collaborative for a service activity and we are excited to be able to host them at one of Grand Junction’s preeminent wildlife habitat areas.” <P> The project at Grand Junction Wildlife Area is one of many being undertaken by Reclamation, the Tamarisk Coalition, and other partners associated with the Desert Rivers Collaborative. The Collaborative is a multi-stakeholder partnership focused on improving the habitat along the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers. <P> This project with “Students Today Leaders Forever,” is one of the larger volunteer events to be coordinated by the Desert Rivers Collaborative. The students will have the opportunity to learn about riparian restoration while providing invaluable assistance in helping improve critical wildlife habitat near the junction of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers. <P> Student leaders with the Wisconsin Chapter of “Students Today Leaders Forever” organized a “Pay It Forward” bus tour from Madison, Wisconsin to Salt Lake City, Utah. They will be helping with five community projects as they travel to Salt Lake City. “Students Today Leaders Forever” was started in 2003 with a group of college students from Minneapolis, Minnesota, who wanted to change the way college kids are viewed in society. <P> What: Media are invited to tour the project site and interview representatives from the Bureau of Reclamation, Tamarisk Coalition, and Students Today Leaders Forever. Please wear tennis shoes or hiking boots; you will need to walk through brush to get to the interview site. <P> When: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 10 a.m. <P> Where: Grand Junction Wildlife Area, 25 ¾ Road and C ½ Road at the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers. <P> How: To RSVP and get a map to the Grand Junction Wildlife Area, contact Justyn Liff with the Bureau of Reclamation at 970-248-0625 or jliff@usbr.gov by 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 22. <P> <P>