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I_WRRC_2016A 07/12/2016 02:18:04 PM Committee Summary

Final

STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING



WATER RESOURCES REVIEW COMMITTEE

Date: 07/12/2016
ATTENDANCE
Time: 02:18 PM to 04:21 PM
Arndt
X
Baumgardner
X
Place: Rio Grande Water Conservation District Office
Becker J.
E
Coram
X
This Meeting was called to order by
Hodge
X
Representative Vigil
Jones
X
Mitsch Bush
E
This Report was prepared by
Sonnenberg
E
Meghan O'Connor
Roberts
E
Vigil
X
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
Bills Addressed: Action Taken:
Call to Order

Welcome and Introduction of Agenda and Presenters

Overview of the Rio Grande Basin

Agriculture and Sibdistricts of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District

Water Education in the Rio Grande Basin

Forest Plan Revision, Wild and Scenic Rivers, Wilderness Areas, Federal Res

Recreation in the Rio Grande Basin

Public Testimony

Concluding Remarks
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02:18 PM -- Call to Order



Representative Vigil introduced himself and welcomed the audience to the meeting. He acknowledged that Senator Crowder and Representative Brown were present. Senator Crowder welcomed the committee to the area, and he committee members introduced themselves to the audience.



02:25 PM -- Welcome and Introduction of Agenda and Presenters



Travis Smith, Manager, San Luis Valley Irrigation District and Rio Grande Representative on the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), introduced himself and thanked the organizers of the tour the of the Rio Grande Basin and other people present. Mr. Smith discussed the Colorado Water Plan (CWP) and the steps the Rio Grande Basin has taken in the implementation of the CWP.



02:36 PM -- Overview of the Rio Grande Basin



Heather Dutton, Manager, San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District, introduced herself to the committee and gave an overview of the Rio Grande Basin. She discussed the basin's agricultural economy and identified the basin's water resources, water supply challenges, and proposed water development projects.





02:51 PM -- Agriculture and Sibdistricts of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District



Cleave Simpson, General Manager, Rio Grande Water Conservation District, introduced himself to the committee and discussed issues facing the agricultural community in the basin. He also discussed the development of subdistricts within the basin and the rules and regulations governing the subdistricts. Mr. Simpson showed a brief video about Subdistrict 1 within the Rio Grande Water Conservation District.



03:07 PM -- Water Education in the Rio Grande Basin



Judy Lopez, Conservation Specialist, Colorado Open Lands, introduced herself to the committee and discussed steps the Rio Grande Basin Roundtable has taken to promote water education and public outreach. Ms. Lopex stated that the roundtable has created an action plan, as directed by CWCB, and has started a mentor program as a part of that action plan. Ms. Lopez presented a brief video about the Rio Grande Compact to demonstrate the ways in which the roundtable is reaching out to the public regarding water education.



03:25 PM -- Forest Plan Revision, Wild and Scenic Rivers, Wilderness Areas, Federal Res



Erin Minks, Forest Planner, Rio Grande National Forest, introduced herself to the committee and discussed the forest plan of the Rio Grande National Forest and the revision of that plan. She also discussed specific areas of the plan that are being addressed, including a federal instream flow water right within the forest. Ms. Minks stated that the forest plan revision process is directed by federal law. She also discussed the health of forests in the area, and specifically talked about the unprecedented level of dead spruce trees in the area. Ms. Minks responded to questions from the committee regarding management of forest health and how that differs between active management areas and designated wilderness areas. Specifically, Ms. Minks addressed the management of the dead tress caused by spruce beetle kill. Ms. Minks also responded to questions from the committee concerning the effect of wildfires on the watershed health in the area and the ways in which fires in wilderness and roadless areas are fought.



03:48 PM



Dan Dallas, Forest Supervisor, Rio Grande National Forest, responded to questions from the committee regarding methods of fighting wildfires within the Rio Grande National Forest. Senator Jones discussed the lack of funding for the United States Forest Service.



03:54 PM



Zeke Ward, Executive Director, Rio Grande Watershed Emergency Action Coordination Team (RWEACT), introduced himself and discussed RWEACT and how the organization has been operating and changes that are being made to the organization. Mr. Ward stated that RWEACT is currently applying for 501 (3) (c) status.



03:59 PM -- Recreation in the Rio Grande Basin



Emma Regier, Executive Director, Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project, introduced herself to the committee and discussed recreation activities in the Rio Grande River Basin. Ms. Regier mentioned that the Rio Grande Basin Implementation Plan identified a need to address environmental and recreation issues in the basin and discussed projects that are in the plan. She talked about the Rio Grande Cooperative Project and discussed the accomplishments of that project. She also discussed the Del Norte Riverfront Project, and how that project will improve the area and connect the community back to the river. She discussed the need for collaboration with partners and other agencies in order to complete these projects.



04:11 PM -- Public Testimony



04:11 PM --
Becky Brooks, Rio Grande Conservation District, discussed the legislation that created the subdistricts in the Rio Grande Water Conservation District.



04:12 PM -- Concluding Remarks



Nathan Coombs, Chair, Rio Grande Basin Roundtable and General Manager, Conejos Water Conservancy District, made concluding comments to the committee and discussed the attributes of the Rio Grande River Basin. Mr. Coombs discussed the importance of Water Supply Reserve Account (WSRA) funds to the basin and how the basin spends those funds.



04:19 PM



The committee adjourned.




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