Commercial production of ethanol in the San Luis Valley, Colorado. Final Report Page: 77 of 222
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The Colorado Water Quality Control Commission held hearings in mid-
April 1981 for the purpose of reclassifying all Colorado streams and revising the state
water quality standards. The Commission anticipates completing these revisions in the
near future. They are not presently available, however.
The upper unconfined and lower confined aquifers underlying the valley
contain approximately 2714 cubic kilometers (2.2 billion acre-feet) of water. Depth of
the unconfined aquifer varies from 15-91 meters (50 to 300 feet) below the valley floor.
Throughout most of the area, the depth to water in the unconfined basin from the land
surface is less than 3.7 meters (12 feet).
Water quality in the unconfined aquifer is excellent in the valley areas
nearest the mountains. North of Monte Vista, the nitrogen content is high. The dis-
solved solids concentration, consisting mainly of salt and sodium ions, increases in the
central portion of the valley (San Luis Valley Electric Coop., Inc., 1980).
Discontinuous layers of clay or volcanic rock separate the unconfined
aquifer from the lower confined aquifer. Since the confining layer is not continuous,
there is some hydrologic connection between the unconfined and confined aquifers. In
some locations geologists have differentiated the unconfined and confined aquifers. No
area-wide differentiation has been made, however.
Water quality in the confined aquifer generally is superior to that in the
unconfined aquifer (San Luis Valley Electric Coop., Inc., 1980). Mineral content is
greater in the sump area of the Closed Basin and on the outer edges of the valley. In
some areas there is medium to high sodium content. Water in the central portion of the
confined aquifer contains gas and has a brown color. The color is associated with a high
concentration of fluoride, high salinity, medium to high alkali and the presence of
hydrogen sulfide. Analysis of water samples taken from the Mapco-Amoco well (see
Figure 3-7) is presented in Section 3.1.4.
18.104.22.168 Biological Resources
The San Luis Valley contains three major federal wildlife management
areas: Blanca Wildlife Habitat Area, which the Bureau of Land Management admin-
isters, the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge and Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge,
both managed by-the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). In addition, the Depart-
ment of Interior plans to establish the Mishak National Wildlife Refuge in conjunction
with the Closed Basin Division, San Luis Valley Project.
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Hewlett, E.M.; Erickson, M.V.; Ferguson, C.D.; Sherwood, P.B.; Boswell, B.S.; Walter, K.M. et al. Commercial production of ethanol in the San Luis Valley, Colorado. Final Report, report, July 1, 1983; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc874948/m1/77/: accessed April 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.