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Water symposium could help answer questions

By D. Bruce Bosley
CSU Extension agent, cropping systems
Colorado

Irrigators, city water managers and others interested in irrigation and water supply issues in the South Platte river basin should consider attending the Lower South Platte Water Symposium in mid-March. The theme for this program is "Today's Issues Impacting Tomorrow's livelihood." The symposium will be held March 11 at Northeastern Junior College.

The Lower South Platte Water Symposium's goal is to provide people with status and forecast information and discussion of legal and environmental issues affecting water users in this basin. People attending should be better prepared to make water and land management decisions for their farm, municipal, or industrial uses. The Lower South Platte Water Symposium has been held every other year, since 2003.

This year's program includes presentations on topics related to water supply. Jim Hall, Colorado State Engineer for this area, will provide a water supply update and discuss future issues. Colorado State University's State Climatologist Nolan Doesken talks about how weather affects water supply in the South Platte. Colorado Water Roundtable members, Jim Yahn, Eric Hecox, and Rod Kuharic will discuss Colorado's water issues.

Colorado State University scientists, Neil Hansen and James Pritchett will be presenting current research results from limited water studies and a discussion of future alternatives for water transfers. Their presentations are intended to help agricultural water users find ways to avoid the "Buy and Dry" impacts of municipal and industrial water purchases and rentals.

Three presentations are planned that will highlight environmental opportunities and challenges. Jerry Kenny, executive director of the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program, will talk about how this organization is helping to manage basin habitats in the Platte River in Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming for critical wildlife. The PRRIP is an organization created by farmers and Rranchers, cities, and environmental groups to help save threatened and endangered wildlife while sustaining agriculture and rural communities. Greg Karnohan, Ducks Unlimited, will talk about how his organization partners with farmers and ranchers in developing wetlands for water augmentation and wildlife enhancement. Finally, Peter Walker, Colorado Division of Wildlife, will present the current spread of zebra and quaga mussels in Colorado. Pete will also discuss how these small mussels can impact water users, how they are spread, and how to control them.

Come, learn, and enjoy the discussions and creative ideas presented at this program.

Please contact me, Bruce Bosley, about this or other cropping systems or natural resource topics at 970-522-3200, ext. 285 in Sterling, or 970-542-3540 in Fort Morgan.



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