Colorado River District Annual Seminar: Will What’s Happening in California Stay in California?

California drought takes its toll on Lake Oroville State Recreation Area, north of Sacramento, as seen in April 2015. (Photo by Ray Bouknight, Flickr)

California drought takes its toll on Lake Oroville State Recreation Area, north of Sacramento, as seen in April 2015. (Photo by Ray Bouknight, via Flickr)

Two of the most important women in Western water leadership will be addressing the Colorado River District’s popular Annual Water Seminar in Grand Junction, Colo., that takes place Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Two Rivers Convention Center.

Headlining the event are Jennifer Gimbel, the assistant secretary for water and science at the U.S. Department of the Interior; and Pat Mulroy, senior fellow for climate adaptation and environmental policy at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas’ Brookings Mountain West. Mulroy is also a senior fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program in Washington, D.C. She retired in 2014 as general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Jennifer Gimbel

Jennifer Gimbel

Gimbel is well known in Colorado for her work as director at the Colorado Water Conservation Board before she moved to federal positions with the Department of the Interior that culminated with her ascendancy to the post that oversees the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Geological Survey and Colorado River administration. Mulroy oversaw the Southern Nevada Water Authority for 21 years where she got results as well as headlines in positioning Las Vegas for growth in the face of limited water supply.

Pat Mulroy

Pat Mulroy

The theme of the seminar is “Will What’s Happening in California Stay in California?” The day’s speakers will draw an arc of water supply and policy concern from the Pacific Ocean to Colorado, looking at the basics of climate and weather generated by the Pacific, dire drought in California and what that means to the interior West, the still-on-the-horizon planning to deal with low reservoir levels at Lake Powell and Lake Mead, and finally, an analysis of Colorado’s Water Plan, which is still in draft form.

Klaus Wolter, a preeminent analyst of El Niño-La Niña conditions in the Pacific will preview the growing El Niño conditions and what they will mean for snowpack this winter. He is a research scientist at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory’s physical sciences division in Boulder and world-renowned in his field.

Also at the seminar, Colorado River District staff will speak to its policy initiative that the new paradigm in Colorado water planning is how to protect existing uses, especially irrigated agriculture in western Colorado, in the face of diminishing supplies and potential demand management necessities. Issues of planning for a new transmountain diversion (TMD) remain a big focal point in Colorado’s Water Plan, but drought and reservoir levels will command the system before a TMD can be honestly contemplated.

Other speakers will address irrigated agriculture’s role in water planning, efficiency and conservation planning, financing and more. Find a detailed agenda and registration form here. The cost of the seminar, which includes lunch, is $30 if pre-registered by Friday, Sept. 4, or $40 at the door. Register at the River District’s website: www.ColoradoRiverDistrict.org or call Meredith Spyker at 970-945-8522 to pay by credit card. Video recordings of the presentations will also be posted to the River District’s website following the seminar.

Leave a comment

Filed under Climate and Drought, Colorado River, Water Supply

Flyathlon

By Andrew Todd

middle creek

Middle Creek provided a beautiful setting for the 2015 Flyathlon.

On paper, there is nothing exceptional about Middle Creek. It is not Wild or Scenic, nor has it been bestowed with any Gold Medals or Blue Ribbons. No, on paper, Middle Creek is just like the countless other small tributaries that make up Colorado’s headwaters, an arteriole of our vast hydrologic circulatory system. These humble creeks quietly feed the streams that feed the rivers that feed our Colorado way of life. To get to these waters, you have to drive on paved roads until you get to dirt roads until those dirt roads narrow and then run out. Even then, to truly appreciate the complexity of these creeks, you will still have many miles to go, on foot, on trails that may not have been maintained in a while. You will encounter ticks, mosquitoes, stinging nettle, rattlesnakes, moose, bear, downed trees, and sketchy creek crossings. But if you are patient and dedicated, you can catch and release a spectacular relic of Colorado’s natural history, one of our three remaining sub-species of cutthroat trout.

It is the celebration of these unheralded streams, lost trails and majestic native fish that drove me to create the Rocky Mountain Flyathlon. As a trail runner and life-long flyfisherman, fusing the two disciplines seemed natural to me, as trail running allows me to explore and fish our remote cutthroat waters more comprehensively.  And then, back at the trailhead, to make it a proper celebration, I add one of the finest uses of Colorado water; our superior craft beer.

run. fish. beer.

Simple as that.

Three years ago, I decided to share this vision with others.  In 2013, fifteen people crawled out of their tents to participate in an “unofficial” Flyathlon race event held around Monarch Lake in Grand County, CO.  In 2014, we made it official, and thirty-five people toed a shoe-drawn line in the dirt at the base of Middle Creek (yes, the one with ticks and rattlesnakes).  And this year, just weeks ago, our sold-out race brought fifty flyathletes from both near (Crestone and Salida) and far (Maine, Wisconsin, and Texas) to the Middle Creek woods near Saguache, CO.

flyathlongmiddlecreek

A group photo from the 2015 Flyathlon at the Middle Creek trailhead.

fishbib

A fish caught and photographed against a flyathlete’s bib during the 2015 Flyathlon.

Flyathlon race-day rules are fairly simple. Complete the prescribed trail run, catch a fish at any point during the run, take a picture of said fish on your race bib, and do it all as quickly as possible.  The bigger the fish, the more time is taken off at the end of your run (with a special double bonus for catching a native cutthroat trout).  In 2015, of the fifty race participants, all but four hooked, landed, and documented their catch, some for the first time ever.  And back at our tent city, all fifty enjoyed BBQ, local craft beer, and an awards ceremony loaded with prizes from local Colorado companies thanks to Osprey Packs, Scott Fly Rods, Ascent Fly Fishing, and Rolling River Anglers.

flyathletes

Each Flyathlon race is specifically designed to get people excited about recreating in the most beautiful parts of the Western United States, to infuse the stuffy old sport of fly fishing with a youthful spirit, and to raise money for and awareness about critical cold-water conservation issues.  Relying on a crowdfunding model with our 501c3 partner Colorado Trout Unlimited, this past year, our flyathletes raised an incredible $22,200.  At least 50% of this money will be re-invested into projects to maintain and enhance the trails, creeks and fisheries within the range of the Rio Grande cutthroat trout, ensuring that our activity is sustainable into the future.  The remaining monies will be used to tackle important coldwater and native fish issues around the Centennial State.

Moving forward into 2016, I hope to take the Flyathlon to the next level.  With my outstanding volunteer planning board, I have created an ambitious agenda with additional events added in several other basins in Colorado, as well as potential out-of-state races.  If you feel like you have what it takes to be a flyathlete, please visit our website www.flyathlon.com to get on our email list.  If your organization would like to partner with or sponsor the Rocky Mountain Flyathlon to enable us increase our impact, please contact me directly at cutthroat@gmail.com.

I look forward to seeing you on a small creek somewhere deep in the Colorado woods.

run. fish. beer.

andrewtoddAndrew Todd is a federal research biologist, studying the impact of a variety of stressors on Colorado’s rivers and streams, including acid rock drainage and climate change. Outside of work, Andrew serves as the current chair of the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission, sits on the board of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, and is the founder and race director of the Rocky Mountain Flyathlon. He holds a bachelors degree in biology from Williams College, and masters and doctoral degrees in Environmental Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Recreation

Viewpoint: Leveraging EPA’s Orange River to Abate the Threat of Abandoned Mines

The Animas flows orange through Durango on Aug. 7, 2015, two days after the Gold King Mine spill. (Photo by Esmé Cadiente | www.terraprojectdiaries.com)

The Animas flows orange through Durango on Aug. 7, 2015, two days after the Gold King Mine spill. (Photo by Esmé Cadiente | http://www.terraprojectdiaries.com)

By Mark Gibson

If you recall publicity on the Eagle Mine near Beaver Creek or the Yak Tunnel in Leadville, you could predict that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had a manifest destiny to pollute a hundred miles of streams with toxic sludge—from Cement Creek to Lake Powell.

Before John Elway ever won a Super Bowl, the Denver Post spotlighted the Eagle Mine, reporting how regulators’ plans to plug old mine shafts ran afoul—percolating toxic pools overflowed in 1989, causing Beaver Creek’s snowmaking machines to spray “orange snow.” Four years earlier, miners on a maintenance mission during their annual “Yak tunnel walk”–by accident–dislodged muck in workings from the 1800s, releasing a plume in the Arkansas River sufficient to move EPA to create a 20-square-mile Superfund project surrounding Leadville that continues today.

Charles Curtis, renowned energy leader and former head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is purported to often lament “everything leaks.” While Curtis’ context is the nuclear cycle, his leak axiom squares with the state of historic mines.

Depending on who counts, between 160,000 and 480,000 abandoned mines reside in the Rocky Mountains. They pollute 40 percent of the West’s watersheds. Their price tag: $35 billion. Mines sprouted when settlers dug on their way to California’s Gold Rush in 1848. After several mining booms, in 1942 Roosevelt granted $130 per ton to lead producers—twice Depression-era levels—so our allies could hurl bullets at Nazis.

The old miners dug vast reaches, exposing to weather what had been encapsulated by Mother Nature. When water mixes with exposed rock (particularly pyrite) its sulfides oxidize, reducing pH, increasing metals concentrations, and further increasing acidity, brewing acid mine drainage and lots of liabilities.

Consider the Curtis canon, the deluge of abandoned mines, rudimentary chemistry and the realities of environmental enforcement, and you enter a Yossarian modality.

Most mine Superfund sites identified in the 1980s are still not finished, while they subsidize white-collar welfare (science studies and lawyers) rather than on-the-ground fixes. Litigation risks stymie voluntary Good Samaritan efforts—whether by industry or environmentalist.

The rules encourage gold-plated, expensive remediation. Fundamentally, if water doesn’t touch mineralized rock the water isn’t contaminated. Yet this simple science is ignored and grossly engineered schemes like portal plugs result—that require reinforcement with more plugs, that create larger pollution pools, that migrate across labyrinths of old tunnels, that create more seeps, which at some point demand fancy water treatment systems, that fuel consultants and lawyers, who scare industry, who pay to mitigate more liabilities, increasing demand for more over-engineered solutions—a spiral of silliness.

Settling ponds used to precipitate iron oxide and other suspended materials at the Red and Bonita mine drainage near Gold King mine, shown Aug. 14, 2015. (Photo by Eric Vance/EPA)

Settling ponds used to precipitate iron oxide and other suspended materials at the Red and Bonita mine drainage near Gold King mine, shown Aug. 14, 2015. (Photo by Eric Vance/EPA)

While EPA’s approach may help water quality, over climatic cycles we see ticking time bombs

emerge like Gold King. (Again, from Curtis: everything leaks.)

This is why source-control methods were perfected at the Idarado mine remediation in the 1980s. At Idarado, industry and the local community and environmental groups all embraced what at the time was termed a “risky, unproven” strategy: reduce metals loadings 50 percent by minimizing contamination at the top of the watershed, thereby supporting aquatic life in the lower drainages. Within the past 20 years, zinc loadings reached the reduction goal on the Telluride side. But in the Ouray/Red Mountains adjacent to the Gold King district (a maze of abandonment), loads fell a disappointing 25 percent. Today, a hike from Telluride up to the Tom Boy ghost town validates all manner of source-control techniques… rock plumbing that prevents most—but not all—water infiltration. Since “dam and treat” projects (promoted by the regulators of the day) were blocked, a Gold King disaster was averted. You don’t hear much today about the Idarado success, and that’s the point: we should demand mine cleanups that last and that we don’t have to revisit.

Idarado’s lessons aren’t lost, but they’ve been downright difficult to replicate. The Animas River Stakeholders Group, the Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership, Outward Bound and others perform yeoman’s work fixing the high country. The volunteer armies are hamstrung by lack of funding and broken regulators who won’t fend off the excesses of the Clean Water Act and the Superfund. Before political leaders begin to balk at the tar-baby dynamics in this controversy, EPA’s Gold King disaster should be leveraged as a wakeup call.

A bold state move will dull legal thorns like “federal preemption” and “joint and several liability;” a few precedents exist for locally driven remedies to overcome these hurdles without new law. A (small) state-sanctioned, locally controlled panel with procurement, financing, regulatory and property-leasing powers is compulsory. The panel can establish authority shielding it and its contractors from pesky environmental liabilities, and effect sound solutions without Superfund designation. After proving the model, the panel’s jurisdiction should expand.

The orange plume flows through the Animas across the Colorado/New Mexico state line the afternoon of Aug. 7, 2015. (Photo by Melissa May, San Juan Soil and Conservation District)

The orange plume flows through the Animas across the Colorado/New Mexico state line the afternoon of Aug. 7, 2015. (Photo by Melissa May/San Juan Soil and Conservation District)

Suggestions for the panel’s Top 10 priority actions:

▪Cease all ill-conceived EPA actions.

▪Consider reopening all Clean Water Act and CERCLA (Superfund) Agreements impacting the region, as necessary. (Admit the Sunnyside situation is a mistake.)

▪Draft and administer an immediate-term, low-cost, high-impact remediation plan. (Quit studying and start engineering and building. Dispense with remedies that address 10-6 risk and focus on what gets us to 70 percent improvement.)

▪Remove or remediate dams and plugs that foster water build-up and contamination.

▪Undertake water source-control techniques; minimize top-down infiltration.

▪Avoid and minimize the need for active treatment technologies.

▪Measure and publicize objectives and results. (Place real-time monitors near hazards and inside baseline indicator zones, and dispense with high-end laboratory techniques.)

▪ Fund remediation with off-budget, innovative finance methods, perhaps third-party minerals royalties, user fees, or even property leases.

▪Fund third-party remediation initiatives, like the Animas River Stakeholder Group, the Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership and their volunteers, including Outward Bound.

▪ Invoke innovative legal shields. (Don’t expect relief from Congress or the EPA.)

After 250 years of mining, it’s time to end the regulatory rigor mortis across the Rockies and get on to rational cleanups no longer obsessed with mitigating every single, theoretical, or Populaire à l’époque legal risk.

ForLinkedIn_ForLinkedIn_Warnke_ MarkGibson20130821-6936

Mark Gibson consults for the environmental and water industries, focusing on government/regulatory affairs and business development. He was previously vice president at the Danaher/Hach Environmental Water Quality Group and Hays, Hays & Wilson. Gibson’s teams have played roles at more than two dozen Superfund sites and as many mine cleanups. He holds an M.S. in Mineral Economics from Colorado School of Mines and a B.S. in Engineering from the University of Maryland.

3 Comments

Filed under Environment, Water Quality

The Orange Animas

Last week, an estimated three million gallons of mine sludge poured from the dormant Gold King Mine, north of Silverton, Colorado, into Cement Creek, sending an orange plume of acid mine drainage down Cement Creek into the Animas River, through Durango, into New Mexico, where it met the San Juan River and flowed into Utah—the plume is still en route to the Colorado River. Officials estimate about three million gallons of wastewater were released after a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency crew accidentally breached a dam while investigating how to stop existing leakage from the mine on August 5. From the EPA:

The intent of the investigation was to assess the on-going water releases from the mine and to treat mine water and to assess the feasibility of further mine remediation. The plan was to excavate the loose material that had collapsed into the cave entry back to the timbering. During the excavation, the loose material gave way, opening the adit (mine tunnel) and spilling the water stored behind the collapsed material into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River.

Abandoned mine drainage is nothing new for old mining communities, or the Animas.  It occurs when surface water comes into contact with rocks and minerals that contain sulfur—in this case, pyrite—and oxygen, resulting in sulfuric acid and dissolved iron. This often happens in old abandoned mines—prior to the 1977 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act,  mine reclamation was unregulated. From a KUNC story:

For years, miners were not required to do anything with this water. In fact, most of them would dump it right into a creek, or put it in ponds with their tailings, where it became even more acidic.

“In the old days there was very little control and not much attention paid to control [of acidic water from mines],” said Cohen [Ronald Cohen, an environmental engineer at the Colorado School of Mines].

Fast forward to 2015, and the state of Colorado is dotted with abandoned mines — 22,000, according to the state’s Division of Mining, Reclamation and Safety — filling up with water that runs into its streams. And the mines outside of Silverton? They’re some of the worst.

The resulting sulfuric acid can release naturally occurring heavy metals contained in rocks such as manganese, lead, cadmium, copper and zinc, leaching those metals into the water and resulting in a toxic fluid. That contaminated water then flows out of the mine adits, but many have been blocked off or reclaimed (and some, though blocked, are leaking, as the Gold King Mine was).

What did this release of three million gallons of acid mine drainage do to the river? Find the EPA’s initial report of water samples collected after the breach here.  It shows elevated levels of iron, manganese, zinc and copper below the mine breach. By the time the plume reached Durango, the levels of those metals were lower, but still elevated. The Mountain Studies Institute has also been collecting samples, which are still being processed. From a High Country News article: 

A test by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, in which trout in cages were placed in the river prior to the plume’s arrival, has so far shown no acute effects: Only one of 108 fish had died during the first 24 hours in contaminated water. Meanwhile, the Mountain Studies Institute has been monitoring macro-invertebrates, and their results have been similarly positive.

The flowing mine water is being treated in a series of settling ponds near the mine portal by raising the pH through the addition of lime and sodium hydroxide and adding flocculant to increase sedimentation, this is effective, according to the EPA. Long-term impacts on the river, economy, agriculture and other affected sectors are still unknown.

In the Animas River’s drainage, the Animas River Stakeholders Group, which formed in 1994,  just after the last mine in the area had closed, works to improve water quality in the basin. The group, a collaboration between concerned citizens and representatives from industry and agencies, formed to fend off  Superfund designation. Although Superfund comes with the cash and assistance to remediate  such environmental problems, locals feared that such designation would destroy tourism. The group began with a lot of work to do, from a recent blog post on the Animas River Stakeholders Group:

In its first years of operation, the group sampled some 200 abandoned mine sites, then prioritized 33 in need of the most work. The group directly sponsored close to 20 mine remediation projects in the upper Animas River watershed and was indirectly involved in 40 more, considerably improving the water quality in several tributaries to the Animas River, including Mineral and Cement creeks. They also developed recommendations for a number of site-specific water quality standards that were ultimately adopted by the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission.

Because of the liability stemming from the Clean Water Act that is associated with directly treating polluted mine drainage, most of the Animas Stakeholders’ remediation projects have focused on prevention through isolation of reactive mineralized material from water, either by removing tailings and waste rock from a drainage (and in a few cases reprocessing it at a local mill), capping it with an impermeable material, or diverting water that previously fed into old mine workings and tailings piles to minimize metal-loading.

An unplugged tunnel at the Gold King mine in the upper Cement Creek drainage

A turning point in the Animas River Stakeholder Group’s mission came after the last mining company to operate in Silverton, Sunnyside Gold Corp., built three massive bulkheads inside the vast underground workings of the Sunnyside Mine in the upper Cement Creek drainage starting in 1996 as part of an agreement with the State of Colorado that released the mine company from environmental liability.

The bulkheads were intended to act as corks, simply preventing water from draining out of the mine. The first one worked well, but when two more were added downstream in the tunnel six years later, the bulkheads collectively ended up functioning more as a bathtub plug, causing the water table inside the mountain to rise and eventually gush out of other mine adits—horizontal passages leading into a mine for the purposes of access or drainage—higher in the upper Cement Creek drainage.

As of March, mine drainage water poured out of a group of adits on the same slope—the American Tunnel, the Red and Bonita, the Mogul…and the Gold King—in an amount equal to the contributions of the 33 most-polluting mines the Animas Stakeholders group identified during its initial study 15 years ago. From that same blog post:

Collectively, these leaky adits have created one of the largest untreated mine drainages in Colorado, a festering sore oozing a toxic cocktail of heavy metals including zinc, cadmium, copper, manganese, iron, aluminum and lead.

But of course, as of last week, contaminated waters poured from the Gold King. As reported by KUNC, when the spill occurred, the Gold King was not the object of the EPA’s cleanup:

The agency had planned to plug a mine just below it, the Red and Bonita Mine, with the goal of reducing acid runoff from that mine.

Since mines are interconnected, however, and a plug in one can lead to more water flowing out the other, the agency planned to “remove the blockage and reconstruct the portal at the Gold King Mine in order to best observe possible changes in discharge caused by the installation of Red and Bonita Mine bulkhead.”

That project began July 2015. The Gold King Mine released its toxic load at 10:30 a.m. August 4, 2015.

 

Today, emotions of anger, fear and frustration and running strong, as reported by the New York Times. The U.S. EPA has published information about its claims process for compensating citizens who have suffered injury or property damage caused by the U.S. government’s actions.

While others have refocused that frustration, from an editorial in Parting the Waters: 

All development of the natural environment carries risk to our water resources. I suppose it’s human nature to ignore that fact and instead focus on the bright orange river staring you in the face.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Environment, Water Quality, Watershed Groups

The Great Divide premier August 6, 2015

Originally posted on Coyote Gulch:

thegreatdividefilmhaveyproductions

“I used to be a orthodox card-carrying humanities academic with contempt for the manipulations of nature that engineers perpetrated. And then, I realized how much a beneficiary I was of those perpetrations.” — Patty Limerick (The Great Divide)

This is an important film and Ms. Limerick hits the nail on the head with her statement. When folks understand the history of Colorado and how water has shaped that history, when they learn about the disease and hardship that goes hand in hand with scarcity of water here in the arid west, when they witness the bounty from plains farms and the western valleys and the economic drivers associated with Colorado’s cities, when they take time to sit down to talk and learn from neighbors and others, opinions can change, understanding can grow, problems can be solved, and opportunities can be realized.

Jim Havey and the filmmakers set out…

View original 915 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Collaborative Water Decisions, Colorado’s Next Step

Coloradans have worked hard to get to a place where a state water plan and eight basin implementation plans are nearly complete. Those involved have been discussing, communicating and collaborating along the way, but the work isn’t done.

“I think some really remarkable work has been done in that [Basin Roundtable and Interbasin Compact Committee] process,” says Dan Birch deputy general manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District. “Important groundwork has been laid, but in large part, it really is just groundwork.”

According to Birch, that work has included agreeing on the important statewide issues, planning, voicing concerns and sitting down together. Still, the next step will be the most crucial as the need for collaboration around water in the West is more critical than ever. That’s why the Colorado Water Institute and CDR Associates have scheduled a new series of trainings, Best Practices for Collaborative Water Decisions: Moving from Concept to Action. The first of those trainings will be October 14-16 at the Wine Country Inn in Palisade, Colorado.

“[Roundtable members and water decision makers around the state] have really started to come together and started to learn how to work together but haven’t had to grapple with the most difficult issues,” Birch says. Training to advance the skill of collaboration will be important he says, whether for state water planning or finding the way through a local project. This participatory and practical course blends negotiation skill with conflict analysis and collaborative design exercises, role play scenarios, small group discussions, and case studies of water conflicts to illustrate best practices in collaborative problem-solving.

Training participants will:

  • Develop, improve and apply interest-based negotiation skills
  • Learn why and how collaboration is an effective tool for addressing complex water issues – particularly where multiple interests, high stakes, intense emotions, and/or technical uncertainties are involved
  • Gain a better understanding of the dynamics underlying multi-party water conflicts in order to respond more effectively
  • Communicate more effectively to help parties better understand their differences and commonalities through skills in active listening, reframing, asking questions, and framing issues
  • Learn how different stakeholders engage in conflict, and how to work more effectively with each
  • Learn and apply strategies for designing, implementing and participating in successful collaborative processes
  • Improve problem-solving skills through engagement in simulated water conflicts, with one-on-one coaching
  • Get feedback from peers and coaches on existing disputes and/or problem-solving processes

Beyond the professional training, time spent learning together will also be valuable. “Part of it, I think, in my experience, is there’s two components. One, the training in actual exercises where you’ll practice the techniques,” Birch says. “Another part is spending a certain amount of time in relationship building.” There will be a maximum of 30 participants during this first session, though CDR Associates and the Colorado Water Institute are already planning additional workshops for those who live in other parts of the state. Learn more and register here.

1 Comment

Filed under Colorado's Water Plan, Events, Water Leaders, Water Supply

The Lifeblood of West Slope Agriculture

The Rossi Family, Rossi Ranches in Yampa, Colorado.

“Agriculture is really the lifeblood and the essence of Routt County, and Colorado too,” says Belinda Rossi of Rossi Ranches in Yampa, Colorado. Hear what agriculture and water for agriculture mean for the West Slope agriculture in a video series, created by the Routt County Conservation District.

The first video debuted early this summer, created to catch the momentum  of Colorado’s Water Plan, and to discover what water means to agriculture on Colorado’s West Slope. The Routt County Conservation District spoke with farm and ranching families about the history of agriculture in Colorado and what it means for the entire state. Watch it here, stay tuned for more videos, and read and comment on Colorado’s Water Plan by visiting Coloradowaterplan.com—final comments are due by September 17, before the plan in finalized in December 2015.

Leave a comment

Filed under Agriculture, Colorado's Water Plan, Water Supply