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I_WRRC_2016A 08/02/2016 02:07:00 PM Committee Summary




Date: 08/02/2016
Time: 02:07 PM to 04:33 PM
Place: Colorado Mesa University
Becker J.
This Meeting was called to order by
Representative Vigil
Mitsch Bush
This Report was prepared by
Matt Becker
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
Bills Addressed: Action Taken:
Introductions and Welcome

Colorado River Basin Roundtable

Stream Flow Management Planning

Colorado River Compact Compliance, System Conservation, and Water Banking

Aquatic Nuisance Species

Tamarisk Removal and Revegetation

Public Testimony
Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only

02:07 PM -- Introductions and Welcome

The committee was called to order. A quorum was present. Representative Vigil introduced the committee and committee members introduced themselves. Representative Vigil thanked Colorado Mesa University (CMU) for hosting the meeting. Tim Foster, President, CMU, welcomed the committee to the university.

02:13 PM -- Colorado River Basin Roundtable

Jim Prokrandt, Chair, Colorado River Basin Roundtable, updated the committee on the roundtable's Basin Implementation Plan (BIP), and its support of Water Supply Reserve Account (WSRA) funding. Committee members received a copy of Mr. Prokrandt's presentation (Attachment A). Mr. Prokrandt also discussed recent applications for WSRA funding, including from the Grand Valley Water Users, the Water Infastructure, Supply, and Efficiency (WISE) Western Pipeline project, and an integrated water management planning project for the Colorado Basin Roundtable.

Attachment A.pdfAttachment A.pdf

02:20 PM

In response to a committee question regarding WSRA funds, James Eklund, Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), came to the table to discuss the WSRA funds that have already been unencumbered. Mr. Eklund also discussed the recent Supreme Court decision regarding severance tax refunds and its impact on WSRA funding. Committee discussion ensued on future state severance tax revenue. Mr. Eklund also discussed possible long-term funding solutions to implement the Colorado Water Plan.

02:35 PM -- Stream Flow Management Planning

Dr. Gigi Richard, Professor of Geology, and Hannah Holm, Coordinator of the Water Center, both representing CMU, discussed an online integrated water resources management tool for the Upper Colorado river basin developed by the Water Center. Committee members received a copy of the CMU Water Center Annual Report for 2014/2015 (Attachment B).

Attachment B.pdfAttachment B.pdf

02:42 PM

Ms. Holm responded to a committee question regarding Colorado Basin Roundtable funding for the online tool. Dr. Richard also discussed CMU's new civil engineering program.

02:45 PM -- Colorado River Compact Compliance, System Conservation, and Water Banking

Eric Kuhn, General Manager, Colorado River Water Conservation District, and Mr. Eklund, discussed the geography of the Colorado River basin and the state's history and compliance with the Colorado River Compact.

03:05 PM

Mr. Kuhn also discussed on-going negotiations among the states about the compact and contingency planning for possible shortages under the compact. Committee discussion ensued on Colorado's share of water under the compact.

03:12 PM

Committee discussion ensued on potential impacts of a shortage on the power generation at Lake Powell, contingency plans, demand management, changing hydrology, and recent dust-on-snow events in the basin.

03:15 PM

Mr. Eklund discussed on-going discussions between lower basin states on contingency planning for sharing potential compact shortages. He also discussed recent changes to the Colorado River treaty with Mexico.

03:24 PM

Committee discussion ensued on invasive vegetation management in the basin.

03:36 PM

The committee recessed.

03:37 PM -- Aquatic Nuisance Species

The committee reconvened. Elizabeth Brown, Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), discussed CPW's aquatic nuisance species program. Committee members received two brochures and two fact sheets related to aquatic nuisance species (Attachments C, D, E, and F). Ms. Brown discussed recent quagga mussels found on boats in Colorado. Committee members also received a scientific and technical report from CMU related to the tamarisk beetle in the Colorado River basin (Attachment G).

Attachment C.pdfAttachment C.pdf Attachment D.pdfAttachment D.pdf Attachment E.pdfAttachment E.pdf Attachment F.pdfAttachment F.pdf Attachment G.pdfAttachment G.pdf

03:49 PM

Ms. Brown also discussed the impact of severance tax revenue on certain aquatic nuisance species programs. Committee discussion ensued on the types of watercraft regulated by CPW, legislation that was recently postponed indefinitely related to sea planes, and partnerships with the Bureau of Reclamation and other neighboring states.

04:01 PM -- Tamarisk Removal and Revegetation

04:02 PM

The committee recessed.

04:11 PM

The committee reconvened. Rusty Loyd, Program Director, and Shannon Hatch, Restoration Coordinator, both representing the Tamarisk Coalition, discussed the mission and recent projects of their organization. He discussed recent growth of tamarisk and Russian olive plants in the western United States and their impact on water resources. Ms. Hatch discussed local projects in the Grand Valley area.

04:21 PM

Committee discussion ensued on how tamarisks can change the geomorphology of riverbeds. Ms. Hatch also discussed other related projects throughout the state, including a phreatophyte project on the South Platte and Arkansas Rivers. Mr. Loyd also highlighted some projects on the Delores and White Rivers.

04:26 PM

Committee discussion ensued on how tamarisk growth changes with elevation.

04:28 PM -- Public Testimony

Torie Jarvis, representing the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments (NWCCG), thanked the committee for visiting the Grand Junction area. She also discussed how counties in northwest Colorado continue to struggle with managing aquatic nuisance species and how to pay for management programs.

04:33 PM

The committee adjourned.

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details