P2M Surveys are out

The district has just sent out producer surveys and will be sending out buyer surveys over the next month.  If you would like to participate plese contact the district by calling the office at (970) 848-5605 and we will send you a survey.


Yuma CD 50th Annual Meeting

On Tuesday November 11, 2008 the Yuma Conservation District hosted its fiftieth annual meeting at the Club at Indian Hills.  Roughly 150 members and partners were in attendance.

The night included display boards spanning the previous 50 years which highlighted photos and important documents, Representative Jerry Sonnenberg served as Master of Ceremonies, presentation of the ADM Community Partnership grant by local plant manager Deb Heid, recognition of the Outstanding Cooperators of the Year Carrol and Vicki Flemister, special recognition of Marvin Salvador and Ted Tuell, a Distinguished Service Award for 50 years of dedication and honorable service was presented to Bud & Genève Mekelburg, key note speech by National Association of Conservation Districts, President John Redding, a Certificate of Commendation from the 66th General Assembly of the Colorado House of Representatives was presented by Representative Cory Gardner and the Grand Prize a $500 travel voucher generously donated by Bank of Colorado was won by Tim Powell.

The locally grown menu featured French Onion Soup, onions grown by Jensen Onions producers, garlic mashed potatoes grown and donated by Joe and Kellie Newton, baked beans grown and donated by local ADM producers, pork tenderloin grown and donated by Murphy Brown, prime rib donated by Scharmm, butter and sour cream grown and donated by Yuma County Dairy and cheesecake.

Founding members of the Yuma Conservation District that were present included Perry Blach, Willard Gorman and Bud Mekelburg.

50th Annual Meeting Date has been set

Yuma Conservation District will be hosting their 50th Annual Meeting on November 11, 2008.  The guest speaker will be President of the National Association of Conservation Districts John Redding.  Location and time will be announced soon.  

President, John Redding planting a tree with his grandaughter

President, John Redding planting flowers with his granddaughter

John Redding, is a second generation landowner from Monroe, Georgia. Redding’s involvement with districts is vast; he has served as a district supervisor since 1978 and as a Chairman since 1979. He was elected president of the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts in 1996. Redding’s participation at the national level began in 1990 when he was elected to the Board of Directors. He has served on NACD’s Executive Board since 2001 and was elected to national office in 2004. Redding’s commitment to conservation and districts was recognized by his colleagues when he was named the Outstanding Supervisor in Georgia in 2003.

Redding owns a 400-acre farm where he raises cotton, peanuts and pine trees. The cotton and peanuts are irrigated using three wells and a nine-acre pond, all of which are permitted. Conservation practices on his farm include riparian buffers, conservation tillage and grassed water ways.

In addition to his work with districts, Redding has served as the Agency Manager of Georgia Farm Bureau Insurance in Walton County since 1970.

Water court logjam

“All is not well when it comes to water court,” said John Meininger, an attorney who represents irrigation well owners along the South Platte River. Some of his clients, he said, have been waiting five years for a final decision.

Meininger’s comments came at a public hearing designed to gather information on where problems lie within Colorado’s water court system. The Colorado Supreme Court is conducting an eight-month review of the system after a task force appointed last summer by Gov. Bill Ritter asked it to do so. A final report is due Aug. 1. 

Full story Rocky Mountain News

Denver Post Blogs on Yuma County DOW shut-out

Birds or Fish – What’ll it be?

Rarely has such a question like the one floating over eastern Colorado been posed to sportsmen. On one hand, we have the Colorado Division of Wildlife striving mightily to protect the water source for its hatchery at Wray, where 40 per cent of the state’s warmwater fish are raised. But involvement in a lawsuit involving these surface water rights puts the wildlife agency at odds with local farmers whose water wells–and livelihoods–could be shut down if DOW and the other plaintiffs prevail.

The immediate result of the controversy has been a landowner uprising in the form of a threatened lockout of pheasant hunters during the 2008 season. The rooster rebellion has its focus in Yuma County, scene of of the water fight in the North Republican River basin. But it also has spread among sympathetic landowners in neighboring counties. More than 300,000 acres has been pledged to a lockout that also threatens landowner participation in the popoular Walk-In hunter access program.


Colorado’s solution in pipeline

Story from OmahaNewsstand

As Nebraska and Kansas water czars wade closer to non-binding arbitration to settle troubles over sharing Republican River water, Colorado is moving ahead with plans to divert itself out of the fray.

“Frankly, when you’re in a hole, you need to stop digging deeper,” said Ken Knox, deputy state engineer for the Colorado Division of Water Resources.

This week, Knox and his boss, Dick Wolfe, the state engineer, hope to convince their Nebraska and Kansas counterparts that Colorado’s pipeline plan is a viable solution to that state’s share of basin water problems.

“I can’t make it rain,” Knox said, explaining the necessity of building a $71 million pipeline to the Nebraska border and pumping underground water into the Republican River.

The bulk of the cost went to buying water rights on about 9,600 acres of farmland on Colorado’s eastern plains. Colorado paid more than $50 million, or $5,300 an acre.

A 13-mile pipeline and infrastructure is budgeted at $21 million. Construction is expected to begin later this year.

The project is financed by a $14.50 tax per irrigated acre on landowners in the Republican River Water Conservation District around the streams that create the river’s headwaters.

Colorado shares water rights on the Republican, a 550-mile river that flows from the eastern Plains across part of southern Nebraska and into part of northern Kansas. The river provides water for irrigation, drinking, recreation and other uses in those three states. Its use is governed by a 1943 compact among the three states that allocates 49 percent to Nebraska, 40 percent to Kansas and 11 percent to Colorado.

Kansas says Nebraska and Colorado continue to use more than their share of the river basin water in violation of water use rules spelled out by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 2002 settlement of a Kansas-instigated lawsuit.

The states could be headed back to the high court.

Colorado’s Wolfe, Nebraska’s Ann Bleed and Kansas’ David Barfield plan to meet Tuesday and Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo., in a special meeting of the Republican River Compact Administration.

The meeting was forced when Barfield submitted Kansas’s dispute with Nebraska to the compact administration as a fasttrack issue in February.

Kansas formally declared in December that Nebraska significantly consumed more than its share of Republican River water from 2003 through 2006. Farmers use the vast majority of water pumped out of the basin to irrigate crops. Excessive usage violates the compact that allocates Republican water among the three basin states.

Barfield proposed that Nebraska cease pumping from all irrigation wells within 2.5 miles of the Republican and its tributaries and from wells added after 2000. He also demands that Nebraska pay unspecified monetary damages.

Nebraska state and local water officials oppose Barfield’s remedy as inefficient and likely to have a devastating economic impact on farmers and communities.

Bleed, Barfield and Wolfe are the compact administration’s only members. If they don’t resolve the dispute with a unanimous vote during this week’s meetings, Kansas is expected to invoke nonbinding arbitration.

“We’re all to agree. If not, I assume we’ll be in arbitration,” Bleed said.

If arbitration fails, Barfield has said Kansas would sue Nebraska in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bleed is expected to defend Nebraska’s attempts to remedy its overuse of the river water. These include reducing groundwater pumping by farmers and buying river water from irrigators who hold rights to the flows and release it downstream to Kansas.

Nebraska’s state and local water managers have informally discussed following Colorado’s pipeline example and pumping water into the Republican near Guide Rock, where the river flows into Kansas.

But such river augmentation projects aren’t yet part of Nebraska’s working list of remedies for its troubles with Kansas.

Knox said Colorado, like Nebraska, wrestles with how to meet its water obligations to its downstream neighbors without damaging the rural economy.

“It’s simplistic, but what Nebraska and Kansas choose to do or not do is their business,” he said. “We’re trying to get our house in order.”

The pipeline project is one tool Colorado can use to comply with the compact.

“We’re looking at this issue with binoculars,” Knox said. “The pipeline helps us immediately — during the next 10 to 20 years — but I’m mindful that we need to prepare for the period 20 to 100 years from now.”

Groundwater Levels Rise in South-Central Kansas, Drop in Western Counties

Groundwater levels rose in south-central Kansas this year as levels in the western part of the state continued a downward trend according to preliminary data compiled by the Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas.