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New deal to bring water to John Martin Reservoir - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

New deal to bring water to John Martin Reservoir

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The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission honored three water engineers for their work to secure water for a permanent fish and wildlife conservation pool in John Martin Reservoir. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission honored three water engineers for their work to secure water for a permanent fish and wildlife conservation pool in John Martin Reservoir.
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Celebration this week as a 40 year deadlock between Colorado and Kansas is broken to secure water for a permanent fish and wildlife conservation pool in John Martin Reservoir.

The deal is reportedly orchestrated with the help of recently retired State Engineer Dick Wolfe, Steve Witte, Arkansas River Basin division engineer, and Bill Tyner, deputy Arkansas River Basin engineer. The three, working with CPW Southeast Region Manager Dan Prenzlow and Deputy Region Manager Brett Ackerman, negotiated the deal to bring a new source of water flowing into John Martin, beginning in June, to help stabilize the permanent pool.

"CPW has tried unsuccessfully for the past 40 years to get a new source of water approved by the Compact Administration," CPW Director Bob Broscheid said. "That multimillion-dollar fishery has constantly been in flux and at risk. This will preserve that valuable fishery and recreational facilities at John Martin Reservoir State Park and State Wildlife Area."

The water was approved for a one year agreement. Here's how it works as of now, the Arkansas River Compact Administration passed the resolution in May, allowing CPW to run water in the Highland Ditch on the Purgatoire River in Bent County into John Martin Reservoir west of La Junta.

There are stipulations in the agreement on how much water can be delivered during certain time periods. If the agreement goes as planned, parks and wildlife hopes to renew the deal for 2018 and eventually make it a permanent agreement.

Broscheid pointed to several benefits of the deal including saving money in leasing Colorado River water and restocking costs when the fishery is damaged.

"This was a group effort," Wolfe said, "It's been a long time in the making. And it shows the importance of fostering good relationships between state agencies and how cooperation between the various agencies solved a complex water administrative system issue."

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