Mail Stop 60189


To: Water Acquisition Committee

From: George Smith, Chairman, Water Acquisition Committee

Subject: Water Acquisition Committee Meeting Notes, February 4, 1998

The Water Acquisition Committee met to review the revised draft RIPRAP and the draft Program Guidance (Drafts). Present at the meeting were George Smith, Chairman; Bob Norman, Vice Chairman; Tom Pitts; Ray Tenney; Randy Seaholm; Sue Uppendahl; Angela Kantola; Brent Uilenberg; Mark Uppendahl; Robert Wigington; and Henry Maddux.

Review of WAC Annual Project Reports

Projects were reviewed and only minor typographical errors were corrected. Angela reminded the group that in the future, the project summary needs to be a good standalone summary of the project goals and results.

Review of the Program Guidance and RIPRAP

The Water Acquisition Committee review of the RIPRAP was comprehensive, and a small number of items were identified that were out of sequence or needed updating to reflect the current direction of the Recovery Program. I have attempted to summarize the proposed changes and to summarize the discussions in the attached Memorandum to the Management Committee. CWCB staff also proposed a number of changes to the RIPRAP to make the RIPRAP deadlines reflect recent changes in the Colorado Instream Flow Program and to make the filing process more sequential. CWCB staff will forward suggested changes in the RIPRAP directly to the Management Committee.

Review of the Grand Valley Water Management EA

The WAC generally reviewed the Draft Environmental Assessment for Grand Valley Water and found the document to be well written, and complimented Reclamation on the content and general appearance of the Draft. The major outstanding issues are 1) the length of the contract with Public Service, and 2) the protection of the water in excess of the demand of the Public Service Power Plant. The following options were discussed:

<> Forbearance agreements with the major water users that could tap the unprotected releases;

<> Change the water right decree for Green Mountain reservoir;

<> Develop a new power plant in the Grand Valley;

<> Deliver the water to the Grand Valley Project to operate a fish screen; and

<> Have the Colorado Attorney General and DOJ address the issue.

Tom Pitts suggested that the issue may be easier to solve when the issue is a major part of the Reasonable and Prudent Alternative under the Colorado Programmatic Biological Opinion. The WAC set a tentative meeting date in May to deal with this issue and any others that might come out of the Programmatic BO.

Coordinated Reservoir Operations 15-Mile Reach Channel Monitoring

During a 1997 meeting of the Biology Committee, Tom Pitts asked the Coordinated Reservoirs Work Group (CROS) to review the Scope of Work submitted to the Recovery Program for channel monitoring in the 15-Mile Reach. Malcolm Wilson convened several meetings of the CROS group, which reviewed the Scope of Work and offered the comments provided in the attached letter. The WAC discussed the letter and requested that the Scope of Work be modified to concentrate work on the development of a matrix, ( similar matrix to the one attached), and that the first year of the research be directed to collection of data to fill out the matrix. The modifications to the work should be developed with input from the WAC and the Biology Committee. The WAC Chairman was directed to meet with the principals involved and redirect the FY-98 work to develop the matrix and collect data need to fill out the matrix.

Other Issues

Utah flow protection issues were discussed, and Robert Wigington asked that the Program begin to track how Utah is to assign the 400,000 acre-feet of water from Flaming Gorge. Henry Maddux will prepare a letter to Utah inquiring how the rights will be assigned. The Chairman suggested that a future meeting of the WAC be held in Utah in conjunction with a Management Committee Meeting.

Jensen USGS Gage Temperature Probe

The WAC also discussed adding a new project to the guidance for the placement of a temperature probe on the Jensen USGS gage. The temperature measurements were dropped by Reclamation in 1998, but several program biologists have expressed an interest in the Recovery Program reinstituting temperature measurements. The WAC directed the WAC Chairman to develop a fact sheet and analysis of a USGS temperature probe vs. a Service, Division of Water Resources, thermograph at the gage site.

Yampa Green Sediment Monitoring

The Recovery Program has been informed by USGS that they have funds available to match the $25,000 that the Recovery Program has dedicated to the Green and Yampa River sediment monitoring program. The WAC recommended that the Scope of Work be revised to reflect the match, and that a source of non-federal funds be identified for the match, which is a USGS requirement.

Installation of a Gage at the Lower End of the 15-Mile Reach

Randy Seaholm raised the issue of placing a permanent USGS gage at the lower end of the 15-Mile Reach to facilitate administration of the 300 cfs Instream flow water right. The WAC discussed the need for such a gage and decided that a gage is currently not needed but may be needed in the future if new water use develops in the Reach.

Conditional Water Rights

The WAC discussed several references in the RIPRAP to the "assess need for retirement of conditional water rights." The WAC noted that this task is behind schedule and needs to be resolved. Robert Wigington recalled that Peter Evans, Windy Wise, Randy Seaholm, Robert Wigington, David Harrison, and Eric Kuhn were going to meet to address the issue. Randy Seaholm related that, to date, nothing had been done except some informal staff discussions at the CWCB. Tom Pitts suggested that the group identified above flush out tasks to be included in FY-99 scopes of work, or develop a rationale for why the item should be removed from the RIPRAP. Randy Seaholm suggested that the group meet to do an assessment of the pros and cons of the handling of conditional rights in the current Colorado water right system, and then decide if anything additional needs to be done. Tom Pitts requested that the WAC Chairman draft a letter describing the issue, and schedule a meeting for the work group to address the issue.

The next meeting of the WAC was set for July 9, 1998, for 9:30 a.m. at the Service office in Lakewood. A tentative meeting date of May 19, 1998, was set to work on any issues that might come out of the Colorado River Programmatic Biological Opinion.