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I_WRRC_2017A 10/04/2017 01:31:52 PM Committee Summary




Date: 10/04/2017
Time: 01:31 PM to 05:03 PM
Place: SCR 352
This Meeting was called to order by
Senator Sonnenberg
Mitsch Bush
This Report was prepared by
Matt Becker
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call, R = Remote Participation
Bills Addressed: Action Taken:
Ouray Silver Mines

Colorado Foundation for Water Education

Chatfield Storage Reallocation Project

Colorado River Compact Issues

Public Testimony

Discussion on Draft Legislation
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

01:31 PM -- Ouray Silver Mines

The committee was called to order. A quorum was present. Brian Briggs, Chief Executive Officer, Ouray Silver Mines, introduced himself to the committee. Committee members received a copy of Mr. Briggs presentation (Attachment A). Mr. Briggs discussed recent project activity, feasibility studies, the management team, and the project history related to the Ouray Silver Mines.

Attachment A.pdfAttachment A.pdf

01:42 PM

Mr. Briggs discussed the potential economic output of the mine once in production. He also discussed the permitting process for the mine and the associated environmental regulations in the United States and in other countries. He also discussed the treacherous conditions faced at the mine site, including adverse weather, avalanche threats, and steep terrain. He further explained that water quality is generally high in the area. He further discussed the feasibility study that was recently conducted for the mine.

01:53 PM

Mr. Briggs discussed the geology and the expected resource output for the mine. He also explained the technical process of resue mining and the annual target of silver production. He further discussed the required capital investment, operational readiness, and the personnel structure for the mine.

02:06 PM

Mr. Briggs discussed the social, economic, and environmental impacts related to mining. He explained the passive water treatment system used at the mine site and recent compliance activities with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

02:20 PM

Mr. Briggs discussed permit revisions that the mine is currently working on with CDPHE, upcoming construction activities, and post closure reclamation plans.

02:25 PM

Mr. Briggs responded to a committee question regarding the resue mining process. Briana Greer, President, Solid Solution Geosciences, responded to committee questions regarding the water quality at a specific well. Mr. Briggs and Ms. Greer responded to committee questions regarding a recent visit to the mine site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and whether CDPHE has recently visited the mine site. Mr. Briggs further explained the economic impacts of the mine for Ouray County.

02:37 PM

Mr. Briggs responded to committee questions regarding the use of passive treatment systems in other regions and the proximity of the mine site to groundwater and surface water sources. He also responded to committee questions regarding the social acceptance of mining sites by local communities and the potential training opportunities for coal miners to learn hard rock mining skills.

02:49 PM

Ms. Greer responded to additional committee questions regarding the passive treatment process and the water quality standards near the mine site.

02:56 PM -- Colorado Foundation for Water Education

Jayla Poppleton, Executive Director, Colorado Foundation for Water Education (CFWE), provided an update to the committee about the recent and upcoming activities of CFWE. Committee members received a handout from CFWE about upcoming CFWE programs (Attachment B). She also discussed the upcoming name change of the organization to Water Education Colorado. She also discussed forthcoming updates to some of the organization's Citizen Guide publications, a webinar on aquatic nuisance species, updates to, and the Sustaining Colorado Watersheds Conference on October 10-12 in Avon, CO.

Attachment B.pdfAttachment B.pdf

03:14 PM

Ms. Poppleton responded to a committee question regarding the Water Leaders class offered by CFWE. She also explained expansion plans for the organization and responded to additional committee questions.

03:14 PM -- Chatfield Storage Reallocation Project

Lauren Ris, Assistant Director For Water, Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR), introduced herself to the committee and also introduced Tom Browning, General Manager, Chatfield Reservoir Mitigation Company (CRMC); Rick McLoud, Water Resources Manager, Centennial Water and Sanitation District; and Tim Feehan, Construction Manager, CRMC. Committee members received a handout about the Chatfield Storage Reallocation Project (Attachment C). Ms. Ris gave an overview of the project and updated the committee on DNR's role with the project.

Attachment C.pdfAttachment C.pdf

03:19 PM

Mr. Browning discussed the formation of CRMC and its role in the project.

03:21 PM

Mr. McLoud discussed his district's role as a participant in the project. He further explained that the project participants include state agencies, water districts, and agricultural interests.

03:26 PM

Mr. Feehan discussed upcoming construction activities associated with the project, including modifications to recreation facilities and other mitigation improvements that will be required at the reservoir. In response to a committee question, Mr. Feehan confirmed that the reservoir dam will not be impacted by the project. Mr. McLoud responded to committee questions regarding the Army Corps of Engineers ownership of the reservoir and the recreational lease by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

03:32 PM -- Colorado River Compact Issues

John Stulp, Governor's Special Policy Advisor on Water, Becky Mitchell, Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), and Kevin Rein, State Engineer, gave an overview of the Colorado River Compact. A copy of their presentation can be found at: Mr. Stulp discussed the ten-year rolling average of the river flow at Lee's Ferry. He also discussed the 2007 Interim Guidelines and how they were established to manage shortages in the Lower Basin under the compact.

03:46 PM

Dr. Stulp also discussed Minute 319 and Minute 323, which amend the 1944 treaty between the United States and Mexico regarding the sharing of Colorado River water between the two countries. He also discussed historical flows into Lake Powell and the impact of recent droughts on water levels in the lake. He further explained contingency planning that is ongoing regarding the management of Lake Powell and Lake Mead and how it relates to the minimum pool required to generate electricity at Lake Powell.

03:57 PM

Dr. Stulp explained recent efforts by Upper Basin states to manage water under the compact, including recent demand management strategies. He also explained the need for long-term mechanisms for addressing the structural deficit in the Lower Basin states and for drought contingency plans. Dr. Stulp responded to committee questions regarding contingency planning in the Upper Basin states.

04:11 PM

Ms. Mitchell discussed CWCB's role in interstate water issues and the conceptual framework included in the Colorado Water Plan (CWP) regarding the protection of existing and future uses of Colorado water users. She also explained other interstate water initiatives included in the CWP.

04:16 PM

Mr. Rein discussed the Division of Water Resources' role in administrating water rights that may be associated with the compact. Mr. Rein responded to committee questions regarding shepherding water rights to downstream users. Dr. Stulp discussed the state's role in the Western States Water Council.

04:27 PM -- Public Testimony

Allen D. Miller, representing himself, distributed a letter to the committee regarding multi-river pumped storage projects (Attachment D). Mr. Miller discussed his recent public comments regarding recommendations for the Colorado Water Plan. He also discussed a recent board action taken by the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Mr. Miller responded to committee questions about the action taken by the CWCB regarding certain water projects.

Attachment D.pdfAttachment D.pdf

04:42 PM -- Discussion on Draft Legislation

Committee discussion ensued on the draft committee bills, which can be found at:

05:03 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