Two New Community Funding Partnership Projects Approved

Unique “Accelerator Grant” designed to help West Slope water users leverage federal funding made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

On Wednesday, the Board of Directors heard from Amy Moyer, Director of Strategic Partnerships. Her report on the accomplishments of the Community Funding Partnership continues to be a bright spot in Board Meetings, providing examples of the actionable solutions being developed across the West Slope to address the realities of less water and higher temperatures.

Accelerator Grant

In June 2022, the Community Funding Partnership launched the Accelerator Grant opportunity as part of the District’s efforts to leverage funding made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Accelerator Grant opportunity is a special funding round to support grant-writing, feasibility, design, preliminary environmental review, benefits analysis, and engineering to support federal funding applications. Grant deliverables must include a timely application to a federal funding opportunity to be submitted by December 31, 2023, and in no cases later than December 31, 2024. Priority will be given to applications targeting a 2023 federal funding round.

Given the intention to incentivize and support strong federal funding applications, the Accelerator Grant allows staff to consider supporting up to 85% of project costs for this limited funding opportunity. Applications must be submitted by August 1st with funding decisions made by September 15th.

Requests greater than $50,000 will be reviewed by the Board during the October Quarterly meeting. Staff has received strong interest in the Accelerator Grant opportunity and expects to receive multiple applications.

Water Projects

The following projects received Board approval at the meeting on July 20, 2022.

Gibralter Ditch Improvement Project Project
Gibralter Ditch Group
Approved Amount: $95,000
Routt County

Project Description – Located approximately 5.5 miles east of Hayden, Colorado, the Gibralter Ditch parallels the Yampa River and provides irrigation water to three agricultural water users to support 800 acres of farm and ranch land. Currently, the Gibralter Ditch does not have a formal headgate structure and operates as an uncontrolled diversion. This project will construct a new reinforced concrete headgate with mechanical gates to regulate ditch flows at the historical point of diversion and reconstruct a portion of the ditch bank located above the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad crossing. The new headgate will be the primary control structure to better control their decreed flows, significantly reduce O&M costs by screening trash and debris that get swept into the ditch and provide additional flows to the Yampa River that were previously diverted and then returned to the river through an existing turnback structure. This project significantly reduces O&M needs for the Ditch, increases operational control and efficiency, and supports the stream health of the Yampa River.

Stillwater Reservoir Repair Estimates & Upgrades Project
Bear River Reservoir Company
Amount: $125,000
Routt County

Project Description – The Bear River Reservoir Co. is a private, not-for-profit company that owns Stillwater Reservoir, a 6,088 ac-ft reservoir located on the Flattops in the Routt National Forest at an elevation of 10,300’. The reservoir has been under a partial storage restriction since June 11, 2019 for “continued cracking and leakage into and around the outlet conduit, and uncertainty associated with seepage through both abutments”. This project includes multiple elements and repairs to Stillwater Reservoir: (1) to obtain construction cost estimates for abutment repair options so that the most efficient and effective projects can be selected; (2) replacement of the hydraulic outlet system (pumps, storage tank and lines); (3) replacement of the vent pipe and hydraulic line supports in the outlet conduit; (4) repair joints and patch the invert in the outlet conduit; and (5) to install a pressure transducer and relay instrumentation for remote monitoring and for more efficient operation of the necessary storage and streamflow releases. Releases from Stillwater Reservoir support productive agriculture, provide emergency municipal supplies to the Town of Yampa, and enhance flows in the Bear River. Rehabilitation promotes the wise use of West Slope water by providing late season reservoir releases – extending the timing of flows in the Bear River beyond the natural hydrology.