Jan. 15, 2019, The Colorado River District’s board of directors unanimously votes to support the White River Storage Project with up to $50,000 cash and up to $30,000 staff time (see memo). In an internal review of the project, River District staff notes “This project could serve as water supply augmentation during compact administration.” The internal review also notes that “The primary hurdle for this project appears to be identifying demand within the basin and associated funding sources. The project proponent, RBWCD, seems reluctant to adjust the project scale to more conservative demand projections. If River District experience suggests that downscaling the project is in RBWCD’s best interest, River District staff should deliver that message tactfully.”
November 14, 2018, The CWCB approves a $350,000 grant to keep studying the White River dam project.
“The Project is expected to enhance tax revenues to the State of Colorado and local governments and will provide a minimum of 44.000 to more than 400.000 acre-feet of new water storage,” the grant says. “If the higher end of the storage is implemented. the Project has tremendous potential to help the majority of the State of Colorado address Colorado River Compact Administration issues.”
November 7, 2014, TerraCarta Energy Resources LLC files a proposed draft decree in 17CW3045 indicating its intent to move 85,342 acre-feet of its conditional storage rights from the south fork of the White River to either the off-channel or on-channel location of the potential Wolf Creek Reservoir, aka the White River dam project, proposed by the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy Project. TerraCarta also files a response to the Division Engineer, an affidavit from a Shell Oil executive.
October 4, 2018, Erin Light, the Division Engineer in Div. 6, submits a comment letter to the participants in the water court case where Rio Blanco WCD is seeking conditional water storage rights tied to the potential dam and reservoir. In the letter Light questions the purpose and need of the White River dam and reservoir project and raises the issue of speculation.
“Though there has been a great deal of communication between the District and I regarding the District’s water rights claimed in this case, the Engineers are not convinced that the District has met its burden of proof that it can and will put the requested Wolf Creek Reservoirs claims of 90,000 AF of water to beneficial use within a reasonable period of time and that the requested water rights are not speculative,” Light wrote.
Aug. 28, 2018, The Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District makes a public presentation of its Phase2A for the White River dam project. The slides from the presentation are made public by the district upon request.
July 31, 2018, The Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District files a grant application to the CWCB seeking $350,000 in state funding, to be matched by $350,000 from the Rio Blanco district, to keep studying the project. The grant application is seeking $121,500 in state funds for “project management and outreach” and $39,500 in state funds for “purpose and need refinement.”
July 26, 2018, the Yampa White Green Basin Roundtable chairs sends a letter of support to the CWCB for the White River dam project, stating the roundtable members voted unanimously to “’support the continued investigation of the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District’s White River Storage Project during this pre-permitting phase’ by offering this letter supporting the consideration of a CWCB Water Plan Grant.”
July 13, 2018, The Division Engineer in Div. 6 issues a report on the stated intent of TerraCarta Energy Resources LLC to move 85,342 acre-feet of conditional water storage rights from the South Fork Reservoir, on the south fork of the White River, to the proposed Wolf Creek Reservoir at the confluence of Wolf Creek and the White River.
“It is completely unclear what the applicant herein is trying to accomplish by moving their water rights down to proposed sites for which another entity is trying to obtain water rights,” the report states. “Is the applicant proposing to have a reservoir site capable of storing 175,342.4 AF (90,000 AF as claimed in 14CW3043 plus 85,342.4 AF for South Fork Reservoir)? Is the applicant suggesting that the reservoir site only have the more senior 85,342.4 AF water right decreed to it and that the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District forego their junior 90,000 AF claim?”
June 28, 2018: Judge in Div. 6 Water Court in Steamboat Springs issues order approving stipulation agreement between Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District and opposer TerraCarta Energy Resources, LLC. The agreement references a proposed decre in Exhibit A, which reflects the currently anticipated terms of the proposed project, which include a potential on-channel reservoir formed by a dam that is 126 feet tall and 2,500 feet wide, and would hold back 90,000 acre-feet of water.
May 13, 2018: The Aspen Times publishes an article entitled “Water district hones in on options for potential White River Dam near Rangely.”
May 9, 2018: Steve Jamieson, a principal engineer and president at W.W. Wheeler and Associates, and Brad McCloud, a senior project manager at EIS Solutions, presented the information developed as part of Phase 2A of the White River storage project to a meeting of the Yampa/White/Green basin roundtable, which was a public meeting. Here are some of the slides presented at the meeting.
April 30, 2018: Water Court judge in case 14CW3043, which is seeking 90,000 acre-feet of storage rights in a potential Wolf Creek Reservoir, either on or off channel, holds a status conference and sets a date of Sept. 5, 2018, for next status conference in the case. The CWCB, one of the opposers in the case, has reached an agreement in the case with Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District.
April 30, 2018: The Grand Junction Sentinel publishes a story by Dennis Webb entitled “New dam merely a figment? Reservoir on map sparks water debate.”
April 26, 2018: Aspen Journalism publishes a story by Brent Gardner-Smith titled “Colorado water managers studying Lake Powell levels issues.” The article mentions Wolf Creek Reservoir in the context of a potential water bank to help shore up water levels in Lake Powell.
April 19, 2018: Pagosa Post publishes a guest column by Gary Wockner on Wolf Creek Reservoir.
April 14, 2018: Rio Blanco Herald Times publishes an article entitled “Updates on new dam at river basin forum; dire weather predictions.”
Dec. 29, 2017, Terracarta Energy Resources LLC files an application to change its conditional water storage rights for the South Fork Reservoir to the Wolf Creek Reservoir site.
Nov. 11, 2017: Presentation from Rio Blanco WCD at Yampa/White/Green roundtable meeting. Slides show the maximum size of off-channel reservoir is 1.58 million acre-feet and the maximum size of an on-channel reservoir is 2.92 million acre-feet. The presentation was made by Brad McCloud of EIS, consultants for Rio Blanco WCD.
Sept. 15, 2017: Rio Blanco Herald Times publishes an article entitled “Rangely council gives added funds to Wolf Creek project.”
Aug. 30, 2017: In water court case 14CW3043, Rio Blanco WCD responds to comments from division engineer, who told the applicant, “this application continues to contain aspects that are speculative and this is concerning to me.” Also, notably, the attorney for Rio Blanco told the division engineer, in the court filing, that the “applicant is in discussions with an energy company for the joint development/use of the Wolf Creek Reservoir.”
June 16, 2017: CWCB notice to proceed for Rio Blanco WCD’s grant to fund the Phase II study. Scope of work includes studying a “maximum reservoir,” noting “The objective of this maximum reservoir work would be to develop an approximate cost for a much larger reservoir that could have additional benefits to the State of Colorado.”
March 22-23, 2017: CWCB board is presented with summary sheet for the Phase 2A study for Wolf Creek Reservoir and unanimously approves a $167,888 grant. One task in the study was to “develop feasibility designs and cost opinions for a maximum size reservoir [off-channel and on-channel].”
March 6, 2017: In 14CW3043, which seeks up to 90,000 AF of water rights for either an on- or off-channel Wolf Creek Reservoir, a proposed decree reflects settlements to date.
March 6, 2017: Date of WRSA grant application from Rio Blanco WCD to CWCB for “Phase 2A Study.” Application states that “Part of the Phase 2A study is to determine if the project may have the potential to provide Colorado compact curtailment insurance during periods of drought.”
Jan. 11, 2017: Yampa/White/Green approves grant for Phase 2 study of Wolf Creek Reservoir.
Nov. 9, 2016: Rio Blanco WCD’s WSRA grant application for Phase II of study for Wolf Creek Reservoir is presented to the Yampa/White/Green basin roundtble meeting and attached to the minutes from the meeting. Brad McCloud, a senior project at EIS Solutions, which is managing the project for Rio Blanco WCD, told the roundtable that “Our biggest purpose in this, and driving it from the district’s standpoint, is that we need to be able have a storage facility for supplying water to the town of Rangely. We obviously did come up with some others, but that’s the primary one.” He also said, “The more stakeholders that have needs for water in your bucket will determine the size of that bucket, for sure.”
Nov. 9, 2016: The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent publishes guest column by Randy Baumgardner and Bob Rankin in support of Wolf Creek Reservior. This project will bring a number of important regional benefits: It will provide the town of Rangely with the quality and quantity of water necessary to serve residents’ needs and address the growing water crisis that they are facing; it will assist in conservation efforts, providing possible opportunities for enhancing endangered fish species recovery; and, crucially, it will provide diversification to the local and regional economy through the tremendous recreational options it affords.”
Oct. 31, 2016: Diligence filing, 16CW3034, for other Rio Blanco WCD rights reports $650,000 in expenses related to its “White River Storage Reservoir.”
July 10, 2015: Response from Rio Blanco WCD in 14CW3043 to summary of consultation. Includes July 8, 2015, report from W.W. Wheeler, which states, “Based on flow data available on the White River near Watson, Utah (USGS 09306500), approximately 500,000 acre-feet of water exits the State of Colorado every year, with the volume ranging from an annual minimum of approximately 200,000 acre-feet to a maximum of approximately 1,200,000 acre-feet.”
March 17, 2015: Division engineer’s summary of consultation filed in 14CW3043 application for Wolf Creek Reservoir storage rights.
Dec. 29, 2014: Rio Blanco WCD applies for water storage rights for both an on-channel and an off-channel reservoir on the White River at Wolf Creek.
July 16-17, 2014: Date of WSRA grant summary sheet for Phase II study grant application from Rio Blanco WCD. CWCB unanimously approves grant for $195,500 at its July 16-17 meeting. The summary sheet says, “Other potential uses of new storage on the White River could potentially benefit the State of Colorado to provide future storage for Colorado River compact compliance, transbasin diversions, or generation of additional energy through hydropower.”
May 30, 2014: WRSA grant application from Rio Blanco WCD.
April 24, 2014: “White River Storage Feasibility Study,” phase 1, by W.W. Wheeler Associates, is released by Rio Blanco WCD. Includes discussion of compact compliance, stating that, “Providing an emergency supply of water in storage that could be released to offset a Colorado River Compact call could assist the State of Colorado to provide the required water demands without injuring other Colorado water users; however, the feasibility or demand of this potential water storage is unable to be quantified at this time.”
The study also notes, “Based on a meeting with representatives from the BLM White River Field Office and the RBWCD on April 16, 2014, the NEPA documentation for a new storage reservoir on the White River will likely require extensive documentation as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) because, as a minimum, there will likely be significant impacts to endangered fish in the White River and Colorado downstream of the reservoir.”
Feb. 20, 2014: CWCB sends notice to proceed on grant funding for reservoir study to Rio Blanco WCD. Lists one potential use as “Providing Colorado River Compact storage during periods of extreme drought.”
Nov. 19-20, 2013: CWCB issues summary sheet for WSRA grant. Notes that reservoir could be used for “Colorado River Compact Drought Storage.” CWCB approved, by a 9-to-0 vote, $135,000 for a feasibility study for White River Storage project.
Oct. 25, 2013: Yampa White Green roundtable sends another letter to CWCB, citing an Oct. 13, 2013, roundtable meeting and support for the second phase of a feasibility study.
Oct. 21, 2013: Yampa White Green roundtable sends letter to CWCB after voting to support Rio Blanco WCD’s proposed reservoir.