Lake News Articles

Waneka Lake being refilled, Restocking of fish will take place this summer

By Anthony Hahn
Colorado Hometown Weekly
March 9, 2016

After months of Waneka Lake being drained for repairs last year and early this year, the refilling now has begun, officials said Tuesday.

"The refilling of the lake will be dependent on this year's snowpack and runoff, so we can't say for certain when it will be completely refilled," said Debbie Wilmot, Lafayette's public information officer. "But the refilling should begin this spring."

Along with the refilling process, the lake will be restocked for fishing sometime this summer.

To read the full article, click here.

Great Lakes Toxic Algae Prompts Big Investment and Rare Political Agreement

By Codi Kozacek
Circle of Blue
February 6, 2015

State and federal lawmakers have mobilized more than $US 188 million since last August to understand and respond to the toxic algae outbreaks in Lake Erie that poisoned the water supply for 500,000 people in Toledo, Ohio. The surge in algae-related spending over the last six months doubles the amount that has been directed over the past four years to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) for addressing the causes of toxic algae outbreaks, a serious pollution and public health threat across the basin.

In all, more than $US 336 million have been invested by Ohio and the federal government to clear Great Lakes waters of the nutrients that are the primary cause of the algae and microcystin toxins which are poisoning water. The algae-reduction program is one of the most expensive and focused contemporary projects to reduce water pollution in the United States.

Managed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is one of the largest investments in environmental research, conservation, and recovery in the United States. It follows in the footsteps of national projects like the Chesapeake Bay Program and the plan to restore Florida's Everglades

To read the full article, click here.

AWWA to Congress: Controlling nutrient pollution key to preventing cyanotoxins
in drinking water

February 5, 2015

In testimony today before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, American Water Works Association Water Utility Council Chair Aurel Arndt stressed that the solution to keeping drinking water safe from cyanotoxins begins with better managing nutrient pollution.

The subcommittee hearings are in response to an event in August 2014 when the City of Toledo, Ohio, found the cyanotoxin microcystin in finished water and issued a "do not drink" advisory for more than 400,000 people. The contamination was the result of an algal bloom in Lake Erie.

"We recommend that Congress consider ways to greatly increase the effectiveness of nonpoint source pollution programs, including the question of whether nonpoint sources of pollution should be brought under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act," said Arndt, who is also CEO of Lehigh County Authority in Allentown, Pa.

To read the full article, click here.

EPA withdraws portion of WOTUS

By Jacqui Fatka
February 3, 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency has withdrawn a portion of it its controversial Waters of the U.S. with the removal of the interpretive rule, likely resulting from Congress’s action within the cromnibus spending bill which included a rider to do exactly that.

Last spring the EPA proposed an expanded definition of what constitutes a water of the U.S., and also included an interpretive rule that went into effect immediately detailing agricultural exemptions to the Clean Water Act permitting requirements and pertained to Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) approved practices. The interpretive rule was intended to clarify normal farming activities exempt from the Clean Water Act, but soon groups began to fear it would change the role of NRCS and actually muddy the waters of what was and wasn’t allowed.

To read the full article, click here.

People can't drink studies: they need water

By Todd Fitchette
Farm Press Blog
February 2, 2015

It's been said by people much smarter than me on agricultural issues that we can do a lot of things with reservoirs and dams in California, but without them we can do but one thing.

We can watch more human beings suffer. With reservoirs and dams we can irrigate crops, manage flood flows, recreate and, most importantly, store water for delivery to human beings.

Ample surface water also gives us the ability to meet California's long-term goal of groundwater sustainability as outlined in a trio of state laws that went into effect Jan. 1.

San Francisco discovered the need for a sustainable source of water for a growing population after the 1906 earthquake and set out to create O'Shaughnessy Dam as a result. The dam was built on the Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park – a controversial move to say the least.

The fun part about Congress' decision to dam up a river in a national park was the determination that public lands should be developed for the public benefit. That wouldn't happen today.

To read the full article, click here.

Great Salt Lake at near-record low level

By Brian Maffly
The Salt Lake Tribune
February 1, 2015

There's a new normal at the Great Salt Lake. Hundreds of square miles of lakebed are exposed. Boat marinas are nearly landlocked. Islands have become peninsulas connected to the mainland. Salinity is rising in the south arm — endangering biodiversity and the brine shrimp and minerals industries. Water-sucking plants are growing on the shore. And mercury and other toxic metals normally trapped deep in the lower layers of the lake are swirling closer to the surface and drying into dust on the shore.

A combination of persistent drought and profligate use of water threatens to drive the lake level to a new low — shattering a record set more than 50 years ago.

To read the full article, click here.

Colorado Climate Change Vulnerability Study

Colorado's climate has warmed in recent decades, and climate models unanimously project this warming trend will continue into the future. Climate change has and will continue to impact the state's resources in a variety of ways, including more rapid snowmelt, longer and more severe droughts, and longer growing seasons. Moreover, Colorado experiences numerous climaterelated disasters, such as floods, droughts, and wildfires, which will continue to occur in the future and pose serious hazards to public safety and the economy, regardless of the rate at which the climate warms.

During its 2013 session, the Colorado Legislature passed HB13-1293, which declared that "climate change presents serious, diverse, and ongoing issues for the state's people, economy, and environment." Among other provisions, the bill required the governor to submit an annual report to a number of committees within the legislature "on climate change issues generally, the current climate action plan…and the specific ways in which climate change affects the state." The Colorado Energy Office commissioned the University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado State University to assemble a team of Coloradobased experts to complete this study, as one initial step in a multi-agency response to the requirements of HB 13-1293.

The Colorado Climate Change Vulnerability Study provides an overview of key vulnerabilities that climate variability and change will pose for Colorado's economy and resources. The purpose of the study is to provide state agencies, local governments, and others with background for preparedness planning.

To read more about this study, click here.

West-Wide Climate Risk Assessments: Irrigation Demand & Reservoir
Evaporation Projections

Section 9503 of the SECURE Water Act, Subtitle F of Title IX of P.L. 111-11 (2009) (SECURE Water Act), authorizes the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) to evaluate the risks and impacts of climate change in each of the eight major Reclamation river basins identified in the Act, and to work with stakeholders to identify climate adaptation strategies. Reclamation implements Section 9503 of the SWA through the Department of Interior’s WaterSMART Program1, which is working to achieve a sustainable water strategy to meet the Nation’s water needs now and for the future. Through Basin Studies, part of WaterSMART, Reclamation works with State and local partners to evaluate the ability to meet future water demands within a river basin and to identify adaptation and mitigation strategies of the potential impacts of climate change. Through another activity, West-Wide Climate Risk Assessments (WWCRA), Reclamation is working to provide projections of future changes in water supplies, water demands, and river system operations that could result from changes in climate.

As part of WWCRA, Reclamation has conducted an analysis of the potential changes in crop irrigation demand in eight major river basins in the West and projections of evaporation for 12 reservoirs within those river basins when considering observed and projected impacts of climate change. This report contains the results of that analysis. The findings presented in this report are intended to be used for future basin-specific WWCRA impact assessments and Basin Studies conducted under WaterSMART if the teams conducting those studies elect to do so.

To read the full report, click here.

SECURE Water Act Section 9503(c) – Reclamation Climate Change and Water 2011

Established in 1902, the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is best known for the dams, powerplants, and canals it constructed within the 17 Western United States. Today, Reclamation is the largest wholesaler of water in the United States and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the Western United States. Reclamation’s mission is to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public. Reclamation’s vision is to protect local economies and preserve natural resources and ecosystems through the effective use of water. This vision is achieved through Reclamation’s leadership, use of technical expertise, efficient operations, and responsive customer service.

In meeting its mission, Reclamation’s planning and operations rely upon assumptions of present and future water supplies based on climate. Climate information influences the evaluation of resource management strategies through assumptions or characterization of future potential temperature, precipitation, and runoff conditions, among other weather information. Water supply estimates are developed by determining what wet, dry, and normal periods may be like in the future and by including the potential for hydrologic extremes that can create flood risks and droughts. Water demand estimates are developed across water management system uses, including both the natural and socioeconomic systems, which include agriculture, municipal, environmental, and hydroelectric power generation. System operation boundaries include the natural system and the socioeconomic system. Acknowledging the uncertainties associated with future climate and associated potential impacts, the Omnibus Public Land Management of 2009 (Public Law 111-11) Subtitle F – SECURE Water authorized Reclamation to continually evaluate and report on the risks and impacts from a changing climate and to identify appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies utilizing the best available science in conjunction with stakeholders.

To read the full report, click here.

West-Wide Climate Risk Assessments: Bias-Corrected & Spatially Downscaled
Surface Water Projections

Public Law 111-11, Subtitle F (SECURE Water Act), section (§) 9503 authorizes the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) to assess climate change risks for water and environmental resources in ―major Reclamation river basins.‖ Section 9503 also includes the authorities to evaluate potential climate change impacts on water resource management and development of strategies to either mitigate or adapt to impacts. The major Reclamation river basins listed within the SECURE Water Act are the Colorado and Columbia River Basins and the Klamath, Missouri, Rio Grande, Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Truckee River basins. Reclamation is accomplishing the SECURE Water Act authorities through activities within its WaterSMART Basin Study Program.

To read the full report, click here.