Governor Polis Signs Multiple Bills Funding Critical #Water Conservation Programs — @CWCB_DNR — Coyote Gulch

Following a busy legislative session for the Colorado General Assembly, which ended May 11, Governor Polis signed several bills directing funding for numerous programs administered by the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB ).

“The Colorado Water Conservation Board is delighted with the support of the Colorado Legislature and Governor Polis for Colorado water issues during the last legislative session,” said CWCB Director Becky Mitchell. . “This support is exemplified by the passage and signing of several bills that will do things like increase project funding for the Colorado Water Plan, help communities address watershed health issues and be better prepared. to future wildfires, and allow so many other critical water programs to continue with the necessary funding.

Below is a summary of the signed legislation affecting the CWCB in 2022:

Tarn goose pasture. Photo credit: Town of Breckenridge

Construction Fund Projects Bill
House Bill 1316, or Projects Bill, supports several Building Fund programs each year. Programs supported by this Bill, among others, include: Floodplain Map Modernization, Weather Modification Authorization (Cloud Seeding), Platte River Restoration Implementation Program, dam safety assessments for reservoir expansions and the Colorado Waterbody Grant Program. This bill also includes for the first time funding from Proposition DD (taxes levied on sports betting in Colorado) to supplement the Colorado Water Plan grants. Also unique to this year’s bill, it allows the CWCB to issue a low-interest loan to the town of Breckenridge to rehabilitate the Goose Pasture Tarn Dam.

Watershed Restoration Funding Bill for Forest Fire Prevention
House Bill 1379 provides $10 million for post-wildfire watershed restoration and wildfire mitigation grants, as well as $5 million for technical assistance to local governments during the request for additional federal funding and for the hiring of support staff.

Mrs. Gulch’s “Eyelash” Blue gramma patch August 28, 2021.

Turf Replacement Program Bill
House Bill 1151 allocates $2 million to the CWCB to establish a new funding program to incentivize the replacement of turf with water-based landscaping. This voluntary program defines water-friendly landscaping as a “water and plant management practice that emphasizes the use of plants with lower water requirements”. Local governments, certain districts, tribal nations and non-profit organizations can apply to the CWCB for funding to help fund their own existing turf replacement programs as well. More information on this pending program will be available in spring 2023.

Groundwater Compact Compliance Bill
Senate Bill 028 creates the Groundwater Pact Compliance and Sustainability Fund to help fund efforts to reduce groundwater use in the Rio Grande River Basin and the Republican River Basin ( such as the purchase and withdrawal of irrigation wells and irrigated areas in these river basins). Specifically, the bill allocates $60 million to the CWCB to administer the fund and its planned efforts in coordination with the Division of Water Resources, the Rio Grande Water Conservation District and the Rio Grande Conservation District. water from the republican river.

This map shows the 15-mile reach of the Colorado River near Grand Junction, home to four endangered fish species. Credit card: CWCB

Species Conservation Trust Fund
Senate Bill 158 earmarks $6 million for conservation programs designed to protect threatened or endangered native species. Funding is allocated to programs through the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, and this bill includes $1.9 million for the Platte River Restoration Implementation Program, $800,000 for programs implementation of endangered fish salvage from the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basin, and $250,000 for Ruedi Reservoir water. discharges for environmental benefits on the 15 mile reach of the Colorado River.

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