Listening Session on Colorado Water Plan and Public Testimony
WATER RESOURCES REVIEW COMMITTEE
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03:28 PM -- Listening Session on Colorado Water Plan and Public Testimony
03:29 PM -- Ken Curtis, Dolores Water Conservancy District, introduced himself to the committee and discussed the Aquatic Nuisance Species Program. He stated that he supports the program and he would like to see the continued funding of the program. Mr. Curtis discussed the impact of the raise in water recreation fees in order to provide funding for the program.
03:35 PM -- Travis Smith and Mike Preston, Forest Health Advisory Council, discussed the council's recommendations for updates to the water plan and distributed a written copy of their statements (Attachment G). Mr. Preston gave a brief background of the Forest Health Advisory Council. Mr. Smith stated that the advisory council is in general agreement that the forest health and watershed health need to be improved and the council endorses the work of the CWCB and the goals found in the water plan. Committee discussion ensued regarding a future meeting where the advisory council could present more detailed recommendations to the committee.
03:50 PM -- Aaron Citron, The Nature Conservancy, discussed the value of forests and watersheds in the state. He stated that he supports the measurable objectives in the water plan regarding watershed and forest health health. He stated that he would like the state to think about different ways to fund all of these plans. He said that a federal infrastructure bill could provide funding to national forests within the state. He stated that the state should focus on forest health, meeting planning goals, and find new ways for implementation.
03:53 PM -- Alex Funk, National Young Farmer's Coalition, discussed water scarcity and how that affects the agriculture community. He stated that the coalition supports the critical action chapter of the plan, but the coalition believes that there should be more of a focus on climate resiliency as it relates to agriculture and farm practices, such as soil health programs. He discussed a healthy soils program launched in California that provides grants to individual producers for using advanced methods to improve soil health. Mr. Funk also discussed the importance of the increase in resources for smaller farms that are resilient to water supply challenges. Mr. Funk responded to questions from the committee regarding how to engage young farmers in water issues.
04:00 PM -- Doug Kemper, Colorado Water Congress, introduced himself to the committee and distributed a summary of membership survey results about aspects of the Colorado Water Plan (Attachment H). The survey results show how members of Colorado Water Congress prioritize goals found within water plan. Members believe that including a comprehensive discussion on funding for water storage and other water infrastructure is of the highest priority, followed by identifying specific water projects the state can endorse. Other priorities identified by members include explaining how the state will implement Basin Implementation Plans and specifying how the permitting process will be streamlined. Committee discussion ensued regarding the possibility of using public-private partnerships to pay for water infrastructure projects.
Senator Sonnenberg announced that people can submit written comments to the committee via email at WaterResources@state.co.us.
The committee adjourned.