Thursday, 29 May 2014 12:27
Ziegler Reservoir: Sustainable water management in Snowmass
Special to the Snowmass Sun
Since the last ice age receded, water in Snowmass Creek has flowed from the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, carving out what’s known as the Snowmass Creek Valley. The water irrigates ranches and supports wells for a few subdivisions and scattered homes before joining the Roaring Fork River in Old Snowmass.
Over time, additional demands for water to support the development of Snowmass Village and snowmaking at the Snowmass ski area added to the pressures on Snowmass Creek, giving rise to concerns over the preservation of sustainable flows in the creek. But the inevitable conflict, which first existed between users in the Snowmass Creek Valley and those in the Brush Creek drainage over the water in Snowmass Creek, is now developing into a novel and promising partnership to manage and protect water that people in both valleys depend on.
The centerpiece in this partnership is Ziegler Reservoir.
Ziegler Reservoir holds roughly 82 million gallons of water and is about 252 acre-feet in size.
The creation of this off-stream reservoir provides the flexibility and water security to support a 21st-century approach to sustainable water management where water is shared between agriculture and a municipality and across two basins.
When the resort of Snowmass Village was created in 1967, senior water rights from Snowmass Creek pertaining to the underlying ranch lands were converted to serve the newly planned community, the tourist condominiums and hotels, and, eventually, snowmaking at the ski area. The Snowmass Water and Sanitation District was created to provide clean water and treat wastewater for a growing base of Snowmass customers at the new resort.
More than 96 percent of the district’s water flows from the Snowmass Creek Basin. East Snowmass Creek provides most of that water, with the rest coming from Snowmass Creek. Less than 5 percent of the sanitation district’s water comes from Brush Creek. All of the water from East Snowmass Creek is gravity-fed down to the water-treatment plant at the bottom of the Snowmass ski area.
Over the years, the shared use of Snowmass Creek water became a contentious issue between residents in Old Snowmass and the Snowmass Water and Sanitation District — particularly in the winter. The town of Snowmass Village needs the most water in winter around the holiday season, when the low temperatures of December and January cause the lowest flows in the creek. When the need for water for snowmaking was added in the ’90s, the pressure on Snowmass Creek increased.
Worried about the health of Snowmass Creek, the Snowmass-Capitol Creek Caucus challenged the Snowmass Water and Sanitation District and Aspen Skiing Co. over minimum stream flows in Snowmass Creek. In 1996, the Colorado Water Conservation Board established a stair-step minimum stream-flow baseline for Snowmass Creek in an attempt to balance human and environmental demands for the water. But tensions remained among the Snowmass Water and Sanitation District, the Snowmass-Capitol Creek Caucus and Skico because the minimum in-stream flow rights set by the state are not binding on more senior water-right holders like the sanitation district.
Chelsea Congdon is a member of the Snowmass-Capitol Creek Caucus and a leader in its efforts to protect Snowmass Creek.
“Snowmass Creek has shaped and defined the Snowmass Creek Valley, and it is literally the lifeblood of all the ecosystems of this valley,” Congdon said. “That creek is shared by people in two watersheds, and the caucus spent a lot of time and a lot of money trying to find a way to compel or convince (the sanitation district) to join in the effort to protect that creek.”
Tuesday, 25 February 2014 19:08
Where is ACES Ed?
A Science Classroom Without Boundries
Since 1975, ACES Ed has partnered with local schools to bring science education to students in the classroom and outdoors. Each school year, ACES educators teach over 2,000 in-class lessons and provide experiential field programs for pre-school through high school students from 42 regional schools.
Three dedicated classrooms in Aspen, Basalt, and Crystal River Elementary schools.
Tuesday, 28 January 2014 09:26
We're excited to announce the launch of ACES Bird Club (ABC)!
As an ABC member, you will be immediately welcomed into a network of
fun, passionate birders and your membership will provide funds
to expand ACES' birding programs.
This $250 membership is for both novice and experienced birders and includes:
* Unlimited birding with ACES - more than 20 birding outings throughout the year
(monthly in winter, weekly in summer)
* 10% discount on binoculars, scopes, and other birding gear at The Fat Robin
* Opportunities to attend birding migration trips and special birding events
ACES Bird Club was created to engage our birding community and is all about birders sharing
the wonder and excitement of birding in our valley, across North America, and around the world!
Don't miss Birding with ACES at Hallam Lake on Tuesday, February 4th.
Click here for more information about ACES Bird Club including
discounted punch passes!
The liturgy schedule for St. Benedict's Monastery is as follows:
Sunday Mass is at 8:15 AM
From Monday thru Saturday mass is at 7:30 AM except on Thursdays when it is at 7 PM
Monday thru Saturday Vespers (Evening Prayer) is at 7 PM
For special liturgies on bigger feasts such as Christmas, etc, please dial our monastery phone number 927-3311 and press #8 when the welcoming message starts to be given the times for the special liturgies.