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=63603 East Portal Road closed for winter in Montrose, Colorado
MONTROSE, COLO. - Reclamation’s Curecanti Field Office announced today that the East Portal Road located east of Montrose, Colorado, will close for the winter on Wednesday, November 21, 2018. <P> The East Portal Road, beginning at the junction with State Highway 347, provides access to the Gunnison River within the Curecanti National Recreation Area, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Crystal Dam. The road will reopen next spring as weather conditions permit. For more information contact Larry Lingerfelt at (970) 240-6306. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=63527 Reclamation awards grants to Colorado Parks and Wildlife for management, operation and maintenance and aquatic nuisance species prevention at seven parks in Western Colorado
GRAND JUNCTION, COLO. - The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded two grants to Colorado Parks and Wildlife for seven state parks in Western Colorado owned by Reclamation. The first is a $3.065 million management, operation and maintenance grant and the second is a $776,182 aquatic nuisance species prevention grant. The grants will be used at Rifle Gap, Vega, Crawford, Paonia, Ridgway, Mancos/Jackson Gulch and Navajo. <P> The grants are part of a 50/50 cost share that will provide for continued management, operation and maintenance and aquatic nuisance species prevention from October 2018 to September 2023. Activities covered by these grants include: park administration, public safety, law enforcement, park operations, custodial services, grounds maintenance, aquatic nuisance and invasive species inspections, boat inspections and vessel decontaminations. <P> “Since 1994 Colorado Parks and Wildlife has done an impressive job of managing the seven state parks, creating a place where people enjoy visiting and recreating. The grant for aquatic nuisance species, in particular quagga and zebra mussels, will go a long way to prevent the spread of mussels in Western Colorado.” said Ed Warner, Area Manager for the Western Colorado Area Office. “Local communities also benefit economically from the associated recreation opportunities provided at each reservoir”. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=63526 Bureau of Reclamation to Hold Public Meeting to Discuss Vegetation Removal Along High Line Canal
SALEM, UT – On November 8, 2018 the Bureau of Reclamation will hold a public meeting to discuss plans for the removal of woody vegetation (trees and shrubs) from government-owned land adjacent to the High Line Canal. The canal is located in Utah County near the cities of Salem and Payson. <P> If not properly managed, woody vegetation near urbanized canals can present safety risks. Woody vegetation grows roots that penetrate earthen canal banks and creates habitat which encourages rodent infestations. Rodents burrow into canal banks and create leaks that threaten facility integrity. In addition, vegetation makes it more difficult for canal operators to discover and address developing safety issues. Without a clear view of the banks of a canal, a minor seepage problem can rapidly develop into a full-scale emergency. <P> Reclamation’s Provo Area Office is committed to working with neighboring landowners and would appreciate the opportunity to discuss any issues related to the project. The public meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the Salem Community Center at 151 West 300 South in Salem, Utah. Comments may also be sent to highlinewoodyvegetation@usbr.gov. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=63503 Interior Initiates High-Flow Experiment at Glen Canyon Dam
PAGE, Ariz. – The Department of the Interior initiated a high-flow release of water on November 5 from Glen Canyon Dam. This is the first high-flow release under the Glen Canyon Dam Long-Term Experimental and Management Plan, which was approved in December 2016. This experiment will help rebuild beaches, sandbars and other environmental resources in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon National Park. It continues important scientific research and monitoring along the Colorado River while preserving crucial water and power deliveries for the nearly 40 million people who rely on the river. <P> “This high-flow experiment is an important opportunity to learn more about the Grand Canyon’s resources,” said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman. “I applaud the partnership and collaboration among the Department agencies and bureaus, all seven basin states and other stakeholders to continue our successful adaptive approach to managing Glen Canyon Dam.” <P> During this 60-hour high-flow release, the increased river flow will carry sediment deposited on the bed of the Colorado River from tributaries below Glen Canyon Dam in recent months through the Grand Canyon. Scientists and other researchers will also use this high flow experiment to gather important information which will help inform future operational and management decisions at the dam and along the Colorado River. In fact, this high flow experiment continues and supports more than 20 years of extensive scientific research, experimentation and analysis conducted through the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program. The Glen Canyon Dam Long-Term Experimental and Management Plan is a 20-year plan that updates protocols for continued experiments and provides a framework for adaptive management of Glen Canyon Dam. <P> The decision to conduct this experiment was based on input from a collaborative team, including Department of the Interior agencies—Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs—the Department of Energy’s Western Area Power Administration, and representatives from all seven Colorado River Basin States. Before proceeding with the experiment, experts determined there would be no unacceptable adverse impacts on other resource conditions. Technical experts with the Department of the Interior have coordinated the experiment’s design to optimize benefits to sediment resources throughout the Grand Canyon while meeting all water delivery requirements and minimizing negative impacts to hydropower production. <P> This high flow experiment will not change or impact the total annual amount of water released from Lake Powell to Lake Mead. Releases from Glen Canyon Dam, both before and after the experiment and through the remainder of the year, will be adjusted to compensate for the high volume released during this high-flow experiment. <P> Additional information about this high-flow experiment will be posted and updated online at: https://www.usbr.gov/uc/rm/gcdHFE/index.html. <P> <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=63424 Media Advisory: High-Flow Experiment at Glen Canyon Dam
PAGE, Ariz. – The Bureau of Reclamation, under the direction of the Department of the Interior, will increase water releases from Glen Canyon Dam beginning on Monday, November 5, 2018 and ending November 8. This release is in support of a high flow experiment (HFE) in partnership with the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey. Releases will begin to increase early Monday morning and will peak at approximately 38,100 cubic feet per second at 2:00 p.m. Flows will continue at that peak for 60 hours to move accumulated sediment downstream to help rebuild eroded sandbars and beaches through Glen and Grand Canyons. These sandbars and beaches are important for life in and along the river. <P> Reclamation and National Park Service officials advise river users to exercise caution along the Colorado River through Glen and Grand Canyons and the easternmost portion of Lake Mead during the entire week of November 5. Flow level information will be posted online and at multiple locations in both Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon National Park. Note that it will take several hours and up to two days following beginning and end of the HFE for high flow waters to reach and then recede at downstream locations in the canyons, depending on their distance from the dam. <P> WHAT: High Flow Experiment at Glen Canyon Dam <P> WHEN: Monday, November 5, 2018; First bypass tube will open at approximately 10:00 a.m. MST, with full bypass at 2:00 p.m. MST. Full bypass will continue for 60 hours. <P> WHERE: Glen Canyon Dam, US-89, Page, AZ 86040 <P> Members of the media are invited to view the opening of the bypass tubes on November 5, tour Glen Canyon Dam and interview on-site subject matter experts from Reclamation, National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey’s Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center. Reporters wishing to view the high flow experiment should contact Marlon Duke (mduke@usbr.gov or 385-228-4845) or Lee Traynham (ltraynham@usbr.gov or 801-524-3752). <P> This HFE will not change the total annual amount of water released from Lake Powell to Lake Mead. Releases later in the water year will be adjusted to compensate for the high volume released during this experiment. Insights gained from this and previous high flow experiments will continue to assist in the management and operation of Glen Canyon Dam. <P> Additional information about this high flow experiment will be posted and updated online at: https://www.usbr.gov/uc/rm/gcdHFE/index.html. Additional information about projected river flow levels at campsites and other use areas through the Grand Canyon can be found here: https://grandcanyon.usgs.gov/portal/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=13c8070db92046d4ac3825decb1f0ca7. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=63389 Reclamation begins Mancos Water Conservancy District repayment contract negotations for Jackson Gulch Canal System rehabilitation
DURANGO, COLO. - The Bureau of Reclamation is initiating negotiations on an amended repayment contract with the Mancos Water Conservancy District for the rehabilitation of the Jackson Gulch Canal System and other infrastructure. The first negotiation meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 5, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. at the Mancos Community Center, 117 North Main Street, Mancos, Colorado. <P> The amended contract to be negotiated will provide updated terms, and further flexibility to fund rehabilitation work for the project. All negotiations are open to the public as observers, and the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and offer comments pertaining to the contract during a thirty-minute comment period following the negotiation session. <P> The proposed contract and other pertinent documents will be available at the negotiation meeting, or can be obtained on our website at: http://www.usbr.gov/uc/wcao/index.html, under Current Focus or by contacting Marc Miller at 185 Suttle Street, Suite 2, Durango, Colorado, 81301, 970 385-6541 or mbmiller@usbr.gov . <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=63367 Bureau of Reclamation to hold press day at Steinaker Dam
VERNAL, UTAH – The Bureau of Reclamation will hold a press day at Steinaker Dam near Vernal, Utah, on October 30. Interested members of the press will be able to tour the dam, take photos, and interview managers and engineers from Reclamation about recent modifications to the facility. <P> In late July, Reclamation began modification work at the dam to repair a slope failure on the upstream face of the right abutment and to flatten the slope of the abutment. Reclamation and the Uintah Water Conservancy District slowly emptied Steinaker Reservoir during the summer recreation season to enable modification work. Once work is complete, Reclamation anticipates a return to full and normal operations. <P> The dam, which is owned by Reclamation and operated by the Uintah Water Conservancy District, provides off-stream water storage from Ashley Creek and is an important feature of the Central Utah Project. In addition to its primary water storage benefits, the reservoir also provides excellent fishing and recreational opportunities. While water levels will remain low throughout construction, Steinaker State Park will remain open with a variety of recreational opportunities. Visitors should check with Utah State Parks (https://stateparks.utah.gov/parks/steinaker/) for available activities and park hours. <P> Work will result in a safer facility that will better serve water users and protect the surrounding community. Through a cost share under Reclamation’s Dam Safety Program, the federal government will cover 85 percent of modification costs and the Uintah Water Conservancy District will pay 15 percent. Reclamation previously awarded a contract for the majority of the work to Weeminuche Construction Authority, which is owned by the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. Reclamation engineers will oversee and inspect all construction work, which will continue year-round and is expected to be complete in 2020. <P> Those interested in attending the press day should contact Andrew Kirby at akirby@usbr.gov or 801-379-1161. A white paper, as well as photos and quotes relating to the project, are available to interested parties. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=63366 Reclamation extends comment period on draft Environmental Assessment of Green River Block Water Exchange Contract
PROVO, UTAH – The Bureau of Reclamation has extended the comment period on the draft Environmental Assessment for the Green River Block Water Exchange Contract by two weeks. The document considers the possible impacts of the contract on the human and natural environment as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. <P> The water exchange contract, between Reclamation and the State of Utah, would facilitate the development of the Green River Block portion of the State’s Ultimate Phase water right. Releases from Flaming Gorge Dam could be altered to meet annual water demands under the exchange contract. However, operations of Flaming Gorge Dam would remain within the parameters analyzed in the 2005 Operation of Flaming Gorge Dam Final Environmental Impact Statement and established in the 2006 Record of Decision. The Green River Block water exchange contract is distinct and separate from the contract proposed for the Lake Powell Pipeline project. <P> Multiple resources were considered in the assessment, including the hydrology of the Green River, recreational opportunities, floodplains, fish and wildlife habitats, endangered species, among others. A draft version of the EA can be found at https://www.usbr.gov/uc/envdocs/index.html. <P> Stakeholder input is essential to the environmental review process – members of the public are invited and encouraged to provide comment. Comments should be submitted by November 2, 2018, to greenriverblock@usbr.gov or via mail addressed to Bureau of Reclamation, Attn: Jared Baxter, 302 E 1860 S, Provo, Utah 84606. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=63293 Reclamation releases draft Environmental Assessment for the Animas Water Quality and Resilience Improvement Project
DURANGO, COLO. - The Bureau of Reclamation has released a draft Finding of No Significant Impact and Environmental Assessment for the Animas Water Quality and Resilience Improvement Project. The proposed project would implement riparian and streambank restoration activities at three sites identified in the Lower Animas River Watershed Based Plan, including the Flora Vista River and Riparian Restoration; Ruins Road Riparian Pasture Improvement; and Road 3133 Riparian Revegetation. <P> The project would improve water quality and resilience of the river. The project includes: river bank restoration, removal of Russian olive, reestablishment of native riparian species, river bank re-sloping to decrease sedimentation and fencing to exclude livestock access. <P> The draft FONSI and EA is available by contacting Reclamation at jliff@usbr.gov or erheaume@usbr.gov. <P> Reclamation will consider all comments received by Monday, October 22, 2018. Submit comments by email to erheaume@usbr.gov or to: Ed Warner, Area Manager, Bureau of Reclamation, 185 Suttle Street, Suite 2, Durango, CO 81303. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=63286 Tests and Sampling to Begin at El Vado Dam
Albuquerque, N.M. – There will be more traffic and activity at El Vado Dam and Reservoir in October as crews perform various tests and work in the area. <P> Geomembrane test panels will be installed on a portion of the dam as part of a demonstration project. Contractors will be on site beginning October 8 to construct the geomembrane test panels and install them over the existing steel faceplate near the left side of the dam looking downstream. The test panels will be approximately 20 feet wide and 30 feet tall. The work may require some brief closures of state Highway 112 over the dam, however these closures are not expected to exceed 15 minutes at a time. <P> A barge mounted drill rig may also be spotted on El Vado Reservoir beginning around October 20. The barge is part of a sediment sampling survey being conducted at the reservoir. The drill rig will be moved around the reservoir to take samples at 12 locations. This work is expected to last about one month. The sampling is not expected to impact recreation in any way. The boat ramp at El Vado remains closed due to low water levels. <P> Both activities are part of a process El Vado Dam is undergoing through the Bureau of Reclamation’s Safety of Dams Program. El Vado Dam is undergoing a Corrective Action Study under which Reclamation is analyzing the current state of the dam and looking at various alternatives for future maintenance of the dam. Although El Vado Dam continues to perform well, Reclamation is looking for options to minimize seepage and internal erosion through the dam to keep the dam safely operating into the future. El Vado Dam was built by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District in 1934-35 and rehabilitated by Reclamation in 1954-1955 to allow for increased capacity to by-pass additional San Juan-Chama Project water. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=63263 Underwater inspections to be conducted at Taylor Park Dam
GRAND JUNCTION, COLO. - The Bureau of Reclamation will conduct underwater inspections of the outlet works stilling basin, intake structure, and spillway stilling basin at Taylor Park Dam on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Taylor Park Dam is located in Gunnison County, Colorado. <P> Releases from the dam will be reduced to 25 cubic-feet-per-second for 15 minutes for safety and visibility reasons for the dive team so they can inspect the condition of the outlet works stilling basin. Releases will not need to be reduced for the inspection of the intake structure or the spillway stilling basin. This inspection is part of a Comprehensive Review conducted every eight years at the dam. <P> Divers will limit dive time to 15 minutes or less, and the river downstream from the dam will be monitored by Reclamation and Colorado Parks and Wildlife employees during the dive. If impacts to the fishery develop during monitoring, the dive will be terminated. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=63224 Reclamation releases Final Environmental Assessment for Fire Mountain Canal Salinity Reduction Project
GRAND JUNCTION, COLO. - The Bureau of Reclamation has released a final Finding of No Significant Impact and Environmental Assessment on the Fire Mountain Canal Salinity Reduction Piping Project located in Delta County, Colorado. The project will replace approximately 3.67 miles of open irrigation ditch with buried pipe. The purpose of the project is to prevent seepage and reduce salinity loading in the Colorado River Basin. <P> The final EA/FONSI was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and is available online at www.usbr.gov/uc/envdocs/index.html, or a copy can be requested by contacting Reclamation. Additionally, historical and photographic documentation on the Fire Mountain Canal is available at www.usbr.gov/uc/wcao/rm/cr/index.html. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=63223 Reclamation releases Draft Environmental Assessment for East Side Laterals Piping Project, Phase 9
GRAND JUNCTION, COLO. - The Bureau of Reclamation has released a draft Finding of No Significant Impact and Environmental Assessment on the East Side Lateral Piping Project, Phase 9 in Delta and Montrose Counties, Colorado. The project would replace approximately 20.4 miles of open irrigation ditch with buried pipe. The purpose of the project is to prevent seepage and reduce salinity loading in the Colorado River Basin. <P> The draft FONSI and EA is available online at www.usbr.gov/uc/envdocs/index.html or a copy can be requested by contacting Reclamation. <P> Reclamation will consider all comments received by Wednesday, October 24, 2018. Submit comments by email to lmcwhirter@usbr.gov or to: Ed Warner, Area Manager, Bureau of Reclamation, 445 West Gunnison Ave, Suite 221, Grand Junction, CO 81501. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=63218 Reclamation awards $30 million contract for environmental and cultural resources
Salt Lake City - The Bureau of Reclamation today awarded a five-year, $30 million blanket purchase agreement to multiple vendors to obtain a full range of environmental, cultural and related services for projects located within the Upper Colorado Region states of Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Texas and Wyoming. <P> The Upper Colorado Region is involved with contemporary water issues that must be carefully balanced and managed to accommodate residential, industrial, agricultural, hydropower generation, environmental and recreational needs. This blanket purchase agreement will provide the region with a means to access environmental and cultural resources support through individual call orders on an as needed basis. Each call order will contain specific requirements, plans, specifications and schedules for the requested services. <P> The agreement includes services and activities associated with, but not limited to the following laws: • National Environmental Policy Act • Endangered Species Act • Migratory Bird Treaty Act • Clean Air Act • Clean Water Act • National Historic Preservation Act • Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act • Archaeological Resources Protection Act • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act <P> Specific disciplines covered by this agreement include: • Cultural Resources including Archeology, Historical Architecture, History, and Ethnography • Paleontology • Air and Water Quality • Terrestrial, Wetlands, and Aquatic Ecology • Biology • Economics • Environmental Sciences • Hydrology • Geology • Geographic Information Systems • Adaptive Management • Collaborative Partnerships • Meeting Facilitation and Support <P> All work performed under the agreement must comply with all applicable federal, state, Tribal and local regulations and standards and all specific laws and regulations for states located within the region. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=63215 Reclamation awards $40 million contract to help researchers track fish movement and survival
Salt Lake City - The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a five-year, $40 million contract to BioMark Inc., of Boise, Idaho to help researchers detect the survival and movements of multiple fish species, including those that are endangered. The contract will fund Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags, which will help researchers determine the size and health of those populations. <P> “These tags provide us with better data on multiple fish species and support our efforts to recover endangered fish within the waters we manage,” said Reclamation’s Environmental Resources Manager, Kathy Callister. <P> The use of PIT tags provides a reliable and effective means of identifying and monitoring individual animals by utilizing radio frequency identification technology. Once researchers have implanted a PIT tag inside selected animals, they can easily be tracked and monitored using readers and antennae devices. In the case of fish, the data provides information on fish passage rates, movement patterns, survival, and return rates, which is invaluable for the recovery of endangered fish species. <P> Each tag contains a unique electronic number that is specific to that object. Reclamation plans to use the tags for tracking fish throughout the rivers it manages in the western United States. This includes endangered fish in the Colorado and Rio Grande River Basins, as well as sport fish such as salmon in the Pacific Northwest. Data from the PIT tags is used to inform the adaptive management of various resources. <P> This contract will be used by other Department agencies, including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Bureau of Land Management. <P>