Tag Archives: Saguache County news

Center Receives Help with Water

Finally, there’s a bit of good news for water in the San Luis Valley.

Earlier this month on November 19, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy announced that the department is investing $635 million in 122 projects (PDF, 315 KB) to improve water systems and wastewater handling services in rural communities in 42 states. USDA is funding the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program.

From Center to Saguache water is gold in the San Luis Valley.

The projects will benefit communities from across America, but those closer to home in Colorado include one in Saguache County. The town of Center will use a $1,855,000 million loan and $6,663,000 million grant to replace the district’s failing lagoons wastewater plant with a mechanical wastewater treatment plant. The existing lagoons system is currently out of compliance. This investment, along with a partnership with the Department of Local Affairs, will assist the district in installing a new treatment plant which will bring the district back into compliance with Colo. Department of Public Health and Environment.

“These investments will bring reliable infrastructure to rural communities. They will replace old, fragile, leaking water pipes with new ones and allow upgrades to water handling systems that are decades old, boosting water pressure and cutting water losses. Working with our partners, these investments create jobs and improve public health and safety,” LaVoy said.

One of the other awards in Colorado went to Florida River Estates, a real estate subdivision located 6 miles Northeast of Durango on CR 240 (Florida Rd).​​ The Florida River Estates HOA, Inc. is a non-profit organization responsible for the management of the community water system, common areas and the HOA.

The Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. Photo: Saguache Today.

This Rural Development investment will be used to make water system upgrades. The distribution system will be replaced with new mains, valves, meter pits, meters and yokes to bring the system up to the American Water Works Association standards.

Both of these awards were sponsored by Saguache County’s Washington representatives: Senators Michael Bennet, and Cory Gardner, as well as Rep. Scott Tipton (03). Eligible applicants include rural cities, towns and water districts. The funds can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems in rural communities that meet population limits.

About the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

“Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to partnering with rural communities to help them improve their infrastructure, because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives,” concluded Sec. LaVoy.

The new water project in Center includes a new treatment plant which will bring the district back into compliance with Colo. Department of Public Health and Environment.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Decker Wildfire Update

According to officials from the US Forest Service, the Decker Fire was very active on Saturday, specifically on the southwestern flank as the fire moved south of Merkt Creek towards the Oxcart Fire burn scar. There was activity in the upper Bear Creek drainage along the top of the ridge as well. In both locations, the fire moved through heavy dead and down fuels and was spurred by low humidity, warmer temperatures, and consistent winds. The fire remains on national forest lands and primarily in the Wilderness.

Heavy fuels saw the Decker Wildfire send plumes of smoke into the skies on Saturday. Photo: USFS

On the west side of the fire, the Platte Canyon Wildland Fire Module continues to check the fire’s spread onto non-forest lands on the west side of the ridge and tied the fire into natural barriers within the Wilderness. They remain spike camped on the northwest side of the fire to monitor behavior.

The east side of the fire was also active yesterday afternoon, as the fire moved into heavy dead and down beetle-killed fuels. The fire did not make any significant runs towards the east and remains totally in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area. Crews will continue monitoring the east side of the fire and allowing fire to play its natural role in Wilderness to promote forest health and resiliency. A crew (MOD2) completed work to clear fuels from around the communications site on Methodist Mountain. Crews also placed repeaters and a remote weather station on Saturday. A Type 3 helicopter from Helena, Montana remains assigned to the incident and remains available, should the need arise.

The fire is expected to continue flanking south towards the Oxcart Fire scar today as well as slowly working north along the ridge towards the peak of Methodist Mountain.

Interactive Map Includes a Close-up of Area.

The fire is visible at night and will be visible from both the US 50 and US 285 corridors. Motorists are asked to not stop in the roadway and to safely get off the roadway to observe the fire. Please do not call 911 to report fire behavior on the Decker Fire or to request fire information. A fire information line (number below) is available for fire updates. Please call 911 for emergencies only.

Weather & Fuel Conditions: Temperatures are expected to reach the upper 60s and minimum humidity will be from 17-22%. Winds are forecast to be 8 mph out of the southwest, with intermittent gusts of up to 20 mph. With low humidity, warmer temperatures, and consistent winds, it is possible that fire behavior and smoke production will be active today, similar to yesterday. A low pressure system will develop over southern Colorado this afternoon. The low pressure system will bring isolated thunderstorm chances over the Decker Fire Sunday afternoon.

Evacuations and Closures: There are no evacuations or closures at this time. Smoke may settle into the US Highway 50 corridor in the late afternoons or evenings. Drivers are encouraged to reduce speed near the fire if smoke affects visibility.

Smoke: On Saturday, the Air Resource Advisor moved the Salida smoke monitor to the Bear Creek area. The other sensor remains in Coaldale. Real-time smoke information for both sensors is available at bit.ly/deckerfiresmoke. A smoke forecast has been issued for the Salida and Arkansas River Valley. That forecast can be found at https://wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlooks/CentralColorado. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s smoke outlook can be found at https://www.colorado.gov/airquality/colo_smoke.aspx.

Decker Fire Statistics:
Size: Approximately 355 acres as of 2 p.m. Saturday
Containment: 0%
Total Personnel: 47
Cause: Lightning
Start Date: September 8, 2019
Location: 9 miles south of Salida, CO

Contact Information:
Facebook: facebook.com/DeckerFire2019
Fire Info Line: (719) 626-1095 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
Email: 2019.Decker@firenet.gov
Twitter: #DeckerFire2019