Mike Weber of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District attended the May 13 meeting of the Otero County Commissioners to provide an update on the district's removal of islands from the river in the North La Junta area.

The third phase of the program has been approved, and funding should be available July 1, said Weber.

Phase three of the project will cost $33,000. The district acquired a grant for $27,000 and is providing $6,000 of its own money.

Phase one began around four years ago and involved removing islands near North La Junta, as well as work on a dike. Phase two involved completion of the dike and removal of more islands, said Weber.

Weber estimates the phase 3 island removal work will begin in November.

"The other thing I wanted to inform you of, ... there was a bill brought in to push pressure onto the Army Corps of Engineers to actually dredge the river way down to John Martin Reservoir," said Weber.

Colorado Senate Join Memorial 19-002, signed by the leaders of the Colorado House and Senate, requests that the U.S. Congress enact legislation requiring the dredging of the river from below the Fort Lyons diversion to John Martin.

"Hopefully that will put some pressure on it," said Weber. "The plan is for $10 million - I can't guarantee that money's coming - but it was put into writing to push it onto the Corps of Engineers."

cburney@ljtdmail.com