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I_WRARC_2022A 09/22/2022 09:07:42 AM Committee Summary

PUBLIC
STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
INTERIM COMMITTEE  WATER RESOURCES AND AGRICULTURE REVIEW COMMITTEE
Date 09/22/2022
Attendance
Bridges X
Catlin E
Gonzales *
McKean *
McLachlan *
Roberts X
Simpson X
Sonnenberg X
Donovan X
McCormick X
Time 09:07:42 AM to 12:09:39 PM
Place HCR 0112
This Meeting was called to order by McCormick
This Report was prepared by Julia Jackson
Hearing Items Action Taken
Soil Health and the Effects of Drought on Farmers Committee Discussion Only
Xeriscaping in Home Owners Association Controlled Properties Committee Discussion Only
Discussion from Water Education Colorado Committee Discussion Only
Public Comment Committee Discussion Only
Vote on Bill Requests Committee Discussion Only

Soil Health and the Effects of Drought on Farmers - Committee Discussion Only


09:10:40 AM  

Representative McCormick called the meeting to order and noted that there were problems with the audio broadcast. A recording of the meeting, as well as presentation slides and materials, are available online here: https://leg.colorado.gov/committees/water-resources-and-agriculture-review-committee/2022-regular-session

Cindy Lair, Colorado State Conservation Board, introduced herself to the committee and provided a handout (Attachment A). She discussed the Saving Tomorrow's Agriculture Resources (STAR) program. She noted that House Bill 21-1181 created a voluntary soil health program. She discussed the ways the program works with agricultural producers and the conservation districts participating in the program.

09:22:40 AM  

Ms. Lair discussed how the Department of Agriculture will expand the STAR program across Colorado. She explained that the program needs market development, including integration with the Colorado Proud program and using the STAR rating as a market signal.

09:27:20 AM  

Mike Morris, National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), introduced himself and the work of NCAT. He defined soil health and its role in health ecosystems, and he discussed the ways different types of soil hold water. He continued to discuss projects that allow soil to catch and hold more water, specifically by increasing organic matter in the soil. He provided examples of farmers who have had success increasing organic matter in their soil, and he described NCAT's peer to peer approach to soil health.

09:44:56 AM  

Mr. Morris presented additional resources available on NCAT's website, https://soilforwater.org/. He discussed the on-farm trials and workshops NCAT supports in the southwestern U.S.

09:52:16 AM  

Ms. Lair responded to a question from the committee about the next steps for the STAR program, discussing how the department will work with other western states thanks to a recent grant. Committee members discussed the program with Ms. Lair.



Xeriscaping in Home Owners Association Controlled Properties - Committee Discussion Only


10:05:33 AM  

Robert Greer, People and Pollinators Action Network, presented on the committee's Bill 1, concerning low-water landscaping in homeowners associations (HOAs). He explained that, while existing law prevents HOAs from prohibiting drought-tolerant landscaping, there are other portions of the law that limit this, such as allowing HOAs to adopt aesthetic guidelines for landscaping. Committee members received a fact sheet on Bill 1 from Senator Jaquez Lewis (Attachment B). Mr. Greer noted the benefits of low-water plantings over hardscapes.

10:15:44 AM  

Ruth Quade, Water Conservation Administrator for the City of Greeley, continued to discuss the benefits of landscaping with drought-tolerant plants. She noted that native pollinators also benefit from appropriate native plantings.

10:18:50 AM  
Don Ireland, a homeowner and board member in Cherry Creek 3 HOA, discussed his HOA community's efforts to reduce water consumption.

Mr. Greer wrapped up the panel's presentation and discussed potential amendments to Bill 1.

10:24:40 AM  

Ms. Quade responded to committee member questions on lawn replacement in Greeley. Mr. Greer and Mr. Ireland responded to a committee question about alternatives to creating a private right of action against HOAs. Committee discussion on this point continued.



Discussion from Water Education Colorado - Committee Discussion Only


10:37:46 AM  

Jayla Poppleton, Executive Director of Water Education Colorado (WEco), presented on her organization's work. She noted that WEco is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2022 and discussed their Water 22 campaign. She discussed WEco's leadership and its education programs, including Water Fluency and Water Leaders. She also provided examples of WEco's publications and encouraged the committee to take advantage of them.



Public Comment - Committee Discussion Only


11:01:45 AM  
Aaron Goodlock, representing
Community Associations Institute, commented on Bill 1.  He noted concerns
with the bill as drafted, particularly with regards to private rights of
action, fines, and rules on the percentage of a lot that can be covered
by the law.
11:08:58 AM  
Ms. Elisabeth Bowman,
representing Resource Central, commented on Bill 1.  She expressed
support for further clarity on landscaping in HOAs.
11:12:15 AM  

Ms. Sonya Lunder, representing Sierra Club, commented on Bill 9. She expressed opposition to the bill draft because it would limit the state's ability to adopt rules on air and water quality.

11:16:22 AM  

Rebecca Curry, representing Earthjustice, commented on Bill 9. She expressed concern that the bill would bind state action to reports from a federal advisory board and would hinder the state's efforts to impose more stringent regulations than those from the federal government.

11:20:17 AM  

The committee recessed.



Vote on Bill Requests - Committee Discussion Only


11:28:39 AM  

The committee reconvened.  All drafted bills are available online here: https://leg.colorado.gov/content/iwrarc2022alegislation

11:50:03 AM  

Representative McCormick presented Bill 1, concerning xeriscaping in HOA communities, and withdrew the bill from committee consideration so that the sponsors could continue to work on the bill before the session.

11:51:43 AM  

Representative McLachlan presented Bill 2, concerning water literacy education in public schools, and withdrew the bill from committee consideration. Representative McCormick noted that Bill 3, Bill 4, and Bill 6 would also be withdrawn from committee consideration.

11:54:17 AM  

Representative McKean presented Bill 8, concerning the creation of a task force on high-altitude water storage.



11:57:00 AM
Motion Adopt Bill 8 as an interim bill of the Water Resources and Agriculture Review Committee.
Moved McKean
Seconded Bridges
Bridges Yes
Catlin Excused
Gonzales Yes
McKean Yes
McLachlan Yes
Roberts Yes
Simpson Yes
Sonnenberg Yes
Donovan Yes
McCormick Yes
YES: 9   NO: 0   EXC: 1   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS
11:57:01 AM  

Sponsors of Bill 8 will be Representatives McKean and McLachlan and Senators Bridges and Simpson, and the bill will be introduced in the House. The committee allowed the drafters to make technical changes to the bill as necessary.

11:59:05 AM  

Senator Sonnenberg presented Bill 9, concerning requirements for water and air quality rulemaking by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. He withdrew the bill from committee consideration.

11:59:47 AM  

Senator Simpson presented Bill 10, concerning turning the Water Resources and Agriculture Review Committee into a year-round committee.



12:02:34 PM
Motion Adopt Bill 10 as an interim bill of the Water Resources and Agriculture Review Committee.
Moved Simpson
Seconded Bridges
Bridges Yes
Catlin Excused
Gonzales Yes
McKean Yes
McLachlan Yes
Roberts Yes
Simpson Yes
Sonnenberg Yes
Donovan Yes
McCormick Yes
YES: 9   NO: 0   EXC: 1   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS
12:02:42 PM  

Senators Simpson and Bridges and Representatives McLachlan and McKean will sponsor Bill 10, which will be introduced in the Senate. Representative McCormick requested to be added as a sponsor, and the committee allowed the drafters to make technical changes as necessary.

12:04:10 PM  

Senator Donovan presented Bill 11, concerning presentations to the General Assembly on interstate water compacts. She withdrew Bill 11 from committee consideration. Committee members commented on Bill 11.

12:05:40 PM  

Representative McCormick and committee members gave closing remarks.


12:09:39 PM   The committee adjourned.






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