A glimmer of progress?

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A glimmer of progress?

Offer by Durango could break the ice
Lake Nighthorse timeline

Like a rocky marriage that somehow manages to survive, the Animas-La Plata Project has weathered decades of heartbreak and hope. A chronological look at the project:
1968
Congress authorized the project, which came to be known as the A-LP, to provide 191,200 acre-feet a year of water for drinking, irrigation and industry.
Before a spadeful of earth could be turned, three national environmental laws made their weight felt. They were the National Historic Preservation Act (1966), the National Environmental Policy Act (1970) and the revised Clean Water Act (1972).
1980
A final environmental report was approved for Ridges Basin and construction was set to begin when President Jimmy Carter’s administration suspended all new public works water projects.
1988
The settlement of Ute tribe water-right claims brought new elements into the project.
1990
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sent shudders through project proponents with an opinion that taking water from the Animas River could threaten the existence of the Colorado pikeminnow.
1991
The agency issued a final opinion that limited the amount of water that could be used annually to 57,100 acre-feet.
1992
Environmental organizations, river rafters and individuals filed lawsuits to halt the A-LP.
1996-2000
Differences were worked out, and the Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Reclamation and, finally, Congress signed off on the project.
2002
Construction had no more than begun when it was discovered that the dam had been sited over bedrock, making relocation necessary. Ultimately, the change pushed the cost of the project from $335 milion to $500 million.
2008
Construction of the dam, inlet conduit and pumping plant were completed. Funding had to be authorized annually by Congress, requiring proponents to go, hat in hand, to Washington for approval.
2009-2011
Filling the reservoir with water pumped from the Animas River began May 4, 2009, and was completed June 29, 2011. The estimated capacity of 120,000 acre-feet turned out to be 123,541 acre-feet.
2014
Multiple water interests look for agreement on recreation on and around the reservoir, a process that began in March 2009 when the Animas La Plata Water Conservancy District put up $25,000 seed money for a recreation blueprint. The city of Durango ultimately took on the task.
Dale Rodebaugh

Brunot Treaty

The treaty, approved by Congress in 1874, is an agreement between the United States and certain Ute Indian tribes in Colorado. The Utes ceded certain land to the U.S. but reserved a right to hunt on those lands “so long as the game lasts and the Indians are at peace with the white people.”

A glimmer of progress?

The effort to bring recreation to Lake Nighthorse has been about as challenging as building the reservoir itself.
No fewer than a half-dozen entities, including the Bureau of Reclamation, for which Mark Chiarito works, are negotiating the future use of Lake Nighthorse.
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