by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG — The regular monthly meeting of the Huerfano County Water Conservation District convened in a new location, and board president Sandy White moved quickly through the agenda with all board members present except Kent Mace.
HCWCD is now based in the administration building of the Career Building Academy just east of the Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center.
In her treasurer’s report, Carol Dunn noted mill levy checks had not arrived, but should be sizable. “The second half of the taxes are due in June,” Dunn said. The mill levy checks vary quite a bit, but June’s tax receipts should be about $28,000, which the board will receive later in July. The HCWCD receives about $250,000 annually in mill levy revenues, disbursed through the county treasurerʼs office. The board accepted the report on a 4-0 vote.
The grant and loan information report showed the grant from the CWCB for the Upper Cucharas River Watershed Pre-fire Assessment, completed a couple months ago, was $45,000. Local matching funds totaled $35,000 and $10,000 came from HCWCD for a total project of $90,000.
Phase 2 of that project, the engineering design of sediment control structures, will be funded by a grant of $90,000 from the CWCB, Arkansas Basin Roundtable, and a local match of $4,000 from the Huerfano County Commissioners, and $6,000 from HCWCD. The project total will be $100,000.
In the June meeting the board learned the total for the entire Cucharas River Watershed Collaborative grant for $245,000 was approved with the Lower Ark Valley Water Conservation District as fiscal agent. The CRWC grant is a separate project from the Upper Cucharas River Watershed Pre-Fire Assessment. The CRWC grant is still in the works.
The draft report on the districtʼs audit update is in the hands of the districtʼs board. A copy of the final report will be delivered to HCWCD after the end of July when it is submitted to the state. The report shows at the end of 2014, the districtʼs liabilities exceeded its assets by about $115,000. The disparity is due to the large loan the board took from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) in order to buy the William Craig ranch with water rights. The board voted 4-0 to adopt the audit.
The Redwing Augmentation Facility project is still on hold.
Doug Brgoch reported the upper Huerfano River is running at about 41.5 feet with the lower Huerfano running at about 14.7 feet. “That means it will be running short on call between Badito and the interstate. We need to see about 18 feet of flow per second to cover any calls,” he said.
On the other side of Huerfano County, the upper Cucharas River is running at 32.5 feet with the lower river flowing at 37.5 feet and water is currently passing to the Arkansas River. “We have soggy ground east of the interstate on the Cucharas River,” Brgoch said. “Right now the 1888 Killian is still good. What weʼre seeing here is a bench-mark on what can happen in a year with no snowpack.”
The board voted 5-0 with board member Kent Mace now present, to not oppose water case 2015CW10, filed by Robert and Marilyn Keagle. They applied for an absolute surface water right on spring one, flowing at 15 gallons per minute. It is a tributary to Pass Creek which feeds into the Huerfano River.