Skip to main content
Colorado General AssemblyToggle Main Menu
Agency NameToggle Agency Menu

I_WRRC_2019A 08/21/2019 01:32:22 PM Committee Summary

Date 08/21/2019
Arndt X
Bridges E
Catlin X
Coram X
Danielson E
McLachlan X
Saine X
Sonnenberg X
Roberts X
Donovan X
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
Time 01:32:22 PM to 04:10:29 PM
Place Off-Site
This Meeting was called to order by Senator Donovan
This Report was prepared by Jimmy Reed
Hearing Items Action Taken
Overview of Colorado's Instream Flow Program Committee Discussion Only
Discusson on Colorado's Instream Flow Program Committee Discussion Only
Public Testimony Committee Discussion Only
Overview of Committee Procedures and Deadlines Committee Discussion Only

01:32:30 PM

Senator Donovan called the meeting to order and outlined the framework of the day's meeting.

Overview of Colorado's Instream Flow Program - Committee Discussion Only

01:36:08 PM  

Linda Bassi, Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), gave a presentation (Attachment A)  concerning Colorado's instream flow (ISF) program, including the temporary loan program.  Ms. Bassi gave an overview of Senate Bill 73-097 which initiated the instream flow program.  She continued by discussing legislation that made changes to the ISF and temporary loan program including SB 81-414, SB 86-91, SB 87-212, SB 96-64, SB 02-156, HB 03-1320, HB 05-1039, HB 07-1012, HB 08-1280, and SB 18-170.  She continued by discussing the role of the ISF program in the water community, including partnerships, stakeholder groups, and assistance with the Colorado Water Plan implementation.  Ms. Bassi gave an overview how ISF water rights can be used as a tool in developing alternatives to Wild and Scenic designations.  She discussed the distinction between preserving and improving and explained the ways in which the the CWCB can obtain ISF water rights including donations, purchases, and leases leading to permanent, long-term and temporary holds and reviewed the CWCB's review and approval process.  She also discussed the appropriation process.  Ms. Bassi responded to committee questions concerning protecting senior water rights.  Ms. Bassi concluded by discussing the legal protection of ISFs and monitoring and enforcement.  Ms. Bassi responded to committee questions concerning opposition statements, water rights injury, and general ISF program benefits.

Discusson on Colorado's Instream Flow Program - Committee Discussion Only

02:22:33 PM  

Doug Kemper and Chane Polo, Colorado Water Congress, moderated a discussion on Colorado's instream flow program between the committee, Aaron Citron with The Nature Conservancy, Kathleen Curry with the Ute Water Conservancy District, Kelly Romero-Heaney with the City of Steamboat, Drew Peternell with Trout Unlimited, Carlyle Currier with the Colorado Farm Bureau, Jim Yahn with the North Sterling Irrigation District, and Ms. Bassi.  The panelists discussed the changes that people would like to see moving forward with the ISF program.  Mr. Citron discussed the inability to renew loans  potentially changing the limitations of participation from 3-in-10 years to 5-in-10 years.  Mr. Peternell discussed being able to use the loans for both preserving and improving the environment and increasing the areas in which ISFs are eligible.  Mr. Yahn responded to a question concerning the current instream flow eligibility based on existing instream flow water rights.   Ms. Romero-Heaney explained how the ISF program works in Routt County, the City of Steamboat, and the Yampa river, including specific examples.  Ms. Bassi discussed the impact of instream flows on water temperature and fish habitat.  Committee members discussed calls on the river and how downstream calls can help river flow.  Mr. Peternell discussed specific examples.  Committee discussion continued regarding long-term planning for ISFs.  Mr. Currier discussed some concerns of farmers including the possibility of injured water rights and the impacts of the instream flow programs on return flows.  Discussion ensued concerning water rights injury and whether or not data is available to prove injury.   Ms. Bassi discussed current temporary leases held by CWCB.  Panelists summarized their concerns, current and future challenges, and opportunities for the program.

Public Testimony - Committee Discussion Only

03:39:31 PM  

Ken Curtis, representing himself, testified about the instream flow program.

03:42:28 PM  

Ken Brenner, representing the himself, testified about the instream flow program.

Overview of Committee Procedures and Deadlines - Committee Discussion Only

04:01:44 PM  

Matt Becker, Legislative Council Staff, gave an overview of the committee's interim schedule.  Tom Morris, Office of Legislative Legal Services, discussed committee deadlines including bill draft and approval deadlines.  The 2019 Interim Committee Deadline memo was distributed (Attachment B).  Mr. Becker and Mr. Morris responded to committee questions.  

04:08:59 PM
Committee members made final remarks.

04:10:29 PM   The committee adjourned.

Email addresses for the Colorado legislature have changed from the domain to the domain on December 1, 2022. Details