Directors to Celebrate Project Milestones at First Quarterly Board Meeting

As a healthy snowpack begins the new year, the Colorado River District’s Board of Directors will meet on January 18-19 for their first quarterly meeting of 2022. Significant partnership and project achievements from the previous year will be recognized, while the Directors will also examine the still-sobering outlook for western water.  

Colorado’s recent December storms provided welcome relief to many, but the hydrology report being presented at the upcoming Board Meeting shows far more is still needed to address the deficit of the ongoing drought.  

Among the meeting’s other agenda items are the continued discussion of the Demand Management conceptual framework, a communications strategies presentation from the External Affairs Team, and the tri-annual evaluation of several board policies.  

The Directors will also hear about completed and upcoming water projects from the Lower Gunnison Project (LGP) and Community Funding Partnership (CFP). Both efforts continue to demonstrate far-reaching, positive impacts for the West Slope water community. These multi-benefit, collaborative projects facilitated by the LGP and CFP will also serve as a crucial model for leveraging the federal funds available via the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, assisting in the transition to new funding opportunities for water use improvement projects.

*PLEASE NOTE: Due to the prevalence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, public attendance at the First Quarterly Board Meeting of 2022 is limited to virtual attendance via Zoom to ensure the health and safety of our Board, staff, and community. To attend or observe the meeting via Zoom. Please register by clicking here.

The full agenda and public information packet for the meeting is available for download here. Below is a summary of a few of the topics to be covered in depth. 

Lower Gunnison Project (2015 NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program) 

The Lower Gunnison Project took shape six years ago to protect and enhance four natural resource concerns for the region: improvements to water availability, water quality, degraded habitat, and soil health. In a heavily irrigated area with aging infrastructure and challenging geology, unique solutions were needed to increase water use efficiency and water quality throughout agricultural holdings in the Lower Gunnison River communities. 

Six years later, fifteen on-farm and seven off-farm construction projects have been completed. The development and implementation of an integrated program to improve off and on-farm irrigation efficiency was applied to four focus areas within the Lower Gunnison Basin: 

  1. North Fork Water Conservancy District (NFWCD)
  2. Uncompahgre Project
  3. Crawford Water Conservancy District (CWCD)
  4. Bostwick Park Water Conservancy District (BPWCD

The milestone de-listing of the Lower Gunnison River from the Impaired Waters list highlighted the success of River District staff and broader partner efforts.

Along with some local project sponsors, Dave “DK” Kanzer, Director of Science and Interstate Matters, will discuss some of these accomplishments and lessons learned to the Directors at the upcoming meeting.

“Although this phase of the LGP was very successful in getting money to producers and good  projects designed and constructed to assist with agricultural sustainability in the District, we learned that effective collaboration not only takes money, it takes local leadership and  determination. We are lucky to have both in our agricultural community.”  – Dave Kanzer

A total of $16,811,896 in combined federal Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and partnership funds were expended to bring this project to completion.

Community Funding Partnership 

The Community Funding Partnership (CFP) Program closed out a successful first year with nearly $3 million granted to 23 projects.  

“We continue to be humbled by the creativity and innovation of our West Slope water users as they move ideas to action and confront the realities of a hotter, drier future,” said Amy Moyer, Director of Strategic Partnerships. 

Given the Program’s increased recognition across the District, staff anticipates increased demands and applications, particularly as additional sources of federal and state funding become available.  

Looking forward to 2022, staff envisions the CFP Program to act as a leading funding source for our communities on the Western Slope, catalyzing next-generation, creative solutions. The following CFP applications will be reviewed for Director approval at the upcoming meeting: 

Fruit growers Dam Outlet Gates Improvement Project   

Project Applicant: Orchard City Irrigation District  
Staff recommends: $225,000  
Location: Delta County 

Minturn Water Storage Tank Project  

Project Applicant: Town of Minturn  
Staff Recommendation: $250,000  
Location: Eagle County 

Maybell Diversion and Headgate Modernization Project  

Project Applicant: The Nature Conservancy  
Staff Recommendation: $500,000  
Location: Moffat County 

West Slope Growing Water Smart Project  

Project Applicant: The Sonoran Institute  
Staff Recommendation: $102,000  
Location: District-Wide 

 

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