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Executive Committee Meeting

RRWCD meeting room and virtually via Zoom

July 16, 2024

Proposed Agenda 

(Times are Approximate)

8:00 AM Welcome – Rod Lenz, Committee Chairman 

  • Prayer
  • Approval of agenda
  • District office updates: assessments, public outreach, etc. – Deb, Reon & Payton
  • Discuss Appreciation Dinner and Board Retreat – Deb Daniel, General Manager
    • Appreciation Dinner suggestion – late August
    • Board Retreat suggestion – January 9-10, 2025 —- Best Western Plus Overland Inn – Fr. Morgan, CO —- Historic Cow Palace – Lamar, CO —- Best Western Sidney Lodge – Sidney, NE
  • Discuss RRWCD podcasts – Rod, Deb, Payton and Reon
  • Discuss invoice from Lenz Farms – road materials – Deb Daniel
  • Discuss professional invoices and Board reimbursements – Deb Daniel
  • Update status of CDPW grant to SFRRC on Bonny dam project – Deb Daniel and Reon McBride
    • Possible grant available from CWCB  —- Possible BOR grant available for Bonny and CCP 
  • Discuss rates in SFFZ if $5M grant is not approved by CWCB/2025 State Legislature – Deb Daniel
  • Discuss offering well owners within 1 mile of live-stream flow of North Fork Republican the same rate per acre as being offered in SFFZ – Rod Lenz
  • Discuss the possibility of the RRWCD using the CCP augmentation to off-set no more than 600,000 AF of pumping annually – Rod Lenz
  • Discuss financial needs to include in 2025 Budget – Aaron Sprague
  • Discuss upcoming special Board meeting – Rod Lenz
  • New Business
  • Old Business
  • Adjourn meeting. 
RRWCD Conservation Committee Meeting

RRWCD Conservation Committee Meeting

Republican River Water Conservation District

410 Main Street, Suite 8

Wray, CO  80807

and offered virtually via Zoom

(for virtual link – contact RRWCD office)

January 24, 2023

Proposed Agenda

(Times are Approximate)

1:30 PM Welcome – Steve Kramer, committee chair

o Pledge of Allegiance
o Prayer
o Approval of agenda
o “How do we continue the momentum from the PTAC presentation?” – Tim Pautler
o Extended RAMP proposal – Steve Kramer & Dennis Wieser
o Program rates in SFFZ – Deb Daniel
● CREP – EQIP/WPPP – RAMP
● Dryland Farmable CREP
o Issues with RAMP program – Deb Daniel & Payton Liming
● Description of acres
o Forage program proposal to encourage reduce pumping – Deb Daniel
o New Business

o Old Business

o Adjourn meeting.

For questions, please contact the RRWCD office at 970-332-3552. Thanks!

PTAC Committee Meeting

Zoom PTAC Meeting May 2, 2024 @ 1:00 PM

Agenda

A. Welcome – Tim Pautler – Chairperson

  1. Pledge
  2. Prayer
    B. Review and approval of Maintenance Protocol Document
  3. Randy Hendrix
  4. Bill Hahn and Dennis McGrain available for questions.
    C. Review and approval of 2 Expansion Protocol Documents
  5. Randy Hendrix
  6. Bill Hahn and Dennis Mcgrain available for questions.
  7. Chad Masching of GEI available for questions.
    D. Tracy Travis Request
    E. Discussion with the Cures Roads / Trails on the property
    F. Monitoring wells not used by Cures for livestock
    G. New business
    H. Adjourn meeting

RRWCD Special Virtual Board Meeting

Special Board meeting – February 12, 2024

offered virtually and in person

410 Main Street, Suite 8, Wray, CO  80758

Proposed Agenda

(Times are Approximate)

2:00 PM – Welcome – Rod Lenz – President of the Board

  1. Pledge of Allegiance & Prayer
  2. Roll call of Directors/declare a quorum – Kristen Schneider, Secretary of the Board 
  3. Introduction of guests
  4. Approve the agenda

2:10 PM – Approval of Irrigated Property Lease

  1. Recommendation to Board – Steve Kramer – Vice President
    1. Discuss and vote on lease bids

2:30 PM – RAMP Applications

  1. Review RAMP blind evaluation – Payton Liming, Administrative Assistant
    1. Discuss and vote on RAMP applications

2:45 PM – Professional rates

  1. Review 2024 accounting rate – Rod Lenz, Board President
    1. Discuss and vote on 2024 accounting rate

3:00 PM – Executive session to receive legal advice on legal questions and litigation concerning South Fork water rights; to discuss and determine positions, develop strategies, and instruct negotiators concerning the purchase or lease of water rights; determine positions and instruct negotiators concerning water supply acquisition, receive legal advice on legal questions related to such agreements, contracts and easements, discuss program applications; Compact Compliance and discussions with Kansas (to the extent subject to privilege), and the Compact Compliance Pipeline and Bonny Reservoir, and to discuss personnel matters

3:30 PM – Adjourn meeting

Senator Bennet’s CREP Improvement Act Summary

Senator Bennet’s CREP Improvement Act Summary

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program Improvement Act sponsored by Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO.) and Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS)

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), leverages federal and non-federal funds to target specific state, regional, or nationally significant conservation concerns. Traditionally, it has provided farmers and ranchers with payments to remove land from production in order to address specific conservation concerns. Each CREP is unique, and in drought-prone regions in Colorado, Kansas, and across the West and the Great Plains, CREP is used primarily to voluntarily reduce water consumption on farmland.


However, the CREP program has not always worked as intended, and producers have sought more flexibility to achieve CREP goals while allowing for alternative water conservation practices and fairer compensation for enrollment in the program. The 2018 Farm Bill included a provision to allow dryland farming on retired irrigated acres in CREP. Unfortunately, USDA still has not implemented this provision, and payments on these acres are insufficient to encourage participation in key regions where water conservation is a top concern.


For example, Colorado’s Republican River CREP is a partnership between USDA, the Republican River Water Conservancy District, and the State of Colorado to reduce irrigation water use of the Ogallala Aquifer, a critical water source for the Great Plains, and to help Colorado satisfy its commitments under the Republican River Compact, a water allocation agreement between Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska that has been in place since 1943. In recent years, the Republican River CREP has faced challenges enrolling enough producers in the program to meet CREP’s objectives. Producers are hesitant to permanently retire their water rights and take their land out of production as a result of lower payment rates in certain areas of the Republican River Water Conservation District.


Other CREPs have faced similar challenges with the program’s lack of flexibility. In Southern Colorado, 40 percent of the farmland grows alfalfa, but is ineligible for enrollment into the CREP overseen by the Rio Grande Water Conservation District because a producer must show a historical rotational cropping pattern. This inflexibility hinders the ability of the Rio Grande CREP to achieve their water conservation goals using the program.
Additionally, the CRP program’s $50,000 annual cap on payments to producers often restricts participation by producers with multiple fields in production, further limiting the success of water conservation CREPs.

Specifically, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program Improvement Act would improve the CREP program by:
● Explicitly directing USDA to allow dryland agricultural uses on CREP acreage where appropriate;
● Specifically adding dryland crop production and grazing to the list of appropriate conservation practices for the CREP program;
● Allowing continuous cropping systems, like alfalfa, to be eligible for drought and water conservation CREP agreements;
● Ensuring fairer payments to producers by stipulating that annual payments for drought and water conservation CREP agreements will be equal to the difference between the irrigated acre payment rates and the dryland acre payment rates, as determined by USDA. And ensuring that any drought and water conservation agreement that includes the permanent retirement of a water right receives the full irrigated acre payment rate;
● Making the payment formula retroactive for existing drought and water conservation agreements;
● Letting producers choose their payment allocations under the program, instead of a fixed payment per year for the 10-15 year contract period; and
● Waiving CREP payments from the $50,000 annual payment limitation under the Conservation Reserve Program.
The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program Improvement Act will provide the flexibility farmers and ranchers need to conserve water on working lands under CREP, while providing them with fair compensation for retiring their water rights or limiting their water use.

(Text from press release from Sen. Bennet’s office.)

If you would like to view the Act, please click the following link: A BILL To amend the Food Security Act of 1985 to modify the conservation reserve enhancement program.

RRWCD FEE INCREASED TO $30 PER IRRIGATED ACRE

RRWCD FEE INCREASED TO $30 PER IRRIGATED ACRE

The county assessors and treasurers are working on the 2023 tax rolls for their counties.  The tax roll includes an assessment on irrigated acres from the Republican River Water Conservation District (RRWCD). 

The RRWCD assessments fund the district’s ongoing Compact Compliance efforts.  In the past, the assessment was $14.50 per irrigated acre.   Acres irrigated in the 2022 calendar year will be assessed $30 per acre on the upcoming tax roll.

In 2016, the Republican River Compact Administration (RRCA), consisting of the State Engineers from Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado, approved a Resolution which allowed Colorado 100 percent credit for the water delivered by the Compact Compliance Pipeline. 

In exchange for the 100 percent credit, Colorado agreed to retire 25,000 irrigated acres in the South Fork Focus Zone (SFFZ), located in parts of Kit Carson and Yuma counties, by the end of 2029. Colorado must have 10,000 irrigated acres permanently retired in this area by the end of 2024 and the remaining 15,000 acres retired from irrigation by December 31, 2029.

Colorado State Engineer, Kevin Rein, previously stated that if Colorado does not retire the acres by the deadlines stipulated in the 2016 RRCA Resolution, he will shut down all large capacity wells in the Republican River Basin. This includes all irrigation, municipal and large commercial wells.

Throughout 2021, the RRWCD held over 30 public meetings all over the basin to discuss increasing the water use fee to offset the additional expense of retiring acres in the South Fork Focus Zone. 

During the November 2021 quarterly Board meeting the RRWCD held a public hearing on increasing the RRWCD Water Use Fee Assessment from $14.50 per irrigated acre to $30 per irrigated acre.  The board voted unanimously to approve increasing the annual fee with the stipulation the fee would “sunset” (return to $14.50) at the end of 2029.  The board deemed it crucial to have a dependable source of funding in place to meet the retirement of acres required to meet the 2024 and 2029 deadlines. 

Landowners who own irrigated land throughout the basin are eligible to enter conservation program contracts.  Every week producers in the basin meet with the RRWCD staff to discuss the voluntary, permanent retirement of irrigated acres in the basin for new and current conservation programs. Working with well owners and local Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offices, the RRWCD has retired 6,278 irrigated acres in the SFFZ.

For more information contact the RRWCD district office, 970-332-3552 or call Deb Daniel, RRWCD General Manager, at 970-630-3525.