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Water Conservancy approves easement contract

HUERFANO — The Huerfano County Water Conservancy District approved an easement contract with the owners of Sheep Mountain, granting the HCWCD rights to construct a reservoir on a portion the property. The reservoir is part of the development of a regional augmentation plan for the replacement of out-of-priority depletions to the Huerfano River in the county. This includes storage facilities for use in connection with its pending changes of water rights, exchanges, and plan for augmentation. Rialm, a California company which owns Sheep Mountain Property, agreed to allow easement over and through a portion of the property for the construction, maintenance, operation, repair, and use of the reservoir, pump station from the Huerfano River, and water transmission pipelines. The agreement will be active for 40 years and can be renewed for another 40 years. This will allow the HCWCD to justify the costs of construction, and will allow the HCWCD to provide a more permanent source of replacement water to its constituents under the augmentation plan. The agreement doesn’t specify or guarantee any maintenance in water levels for the reservoir, but it does allow Rialm to use the reservoir for personal use such as fishing. Cucharas Sediment Basins project The final draft report for the Cucharas Sediment Basins Project has been received by most of the HCWCD directors. Sandy White expressed disappointment in some of the content of the draft

report. The report writers had been turned down by a landowner concerning the location of the construction of a sediment basin on Echo Creek, a drainage creek located on their property, which eventually joins the Cucharas River. “This is important,” White said. “Because if they don’t have drainage on Echo Creek their headgates are going to be sedimented in.” White encouraged the Arkansas Basin Roundtable group that authored the report to return to the property owners and explain to them the importance of the project. “They (the Arkansas Basin Roundtable) are anxious for this to be a model for the entire Arkansas Basin,” White said. Maps were passed to both guests and members of the HCWCD board. The maps illustrated burn severity and the proposed location of sediment basins in the Cucharas Basin. The idea is to give the map to the Office of Emergency Management in Huerfano County, with instructions that the sediment basins be built in the designated locations following a wildfire but prior to the next rain. The basins will catch the runoff, which will be filled with sediments and debris from the wildfire, and allow the sediments to settle before the water is released back into the streams. The HCWCD went into executive session at 6:46 pm.