CARNOTITE … That’s a term you hear a lot in this region in relationship to yellowcake – the processed ore from mills that’s used to create uranium fuel for nuclear reactors. Carnotite was first discovered up the Roc Creek canyon off of the Dolores River, just downstream from the confluence of the San Miguel and Dolores rivers. According to a Montrose Daily Press story from 1934, an old Irishman by the name of Tom Dullan is credited with finding an outcrop of the bright to greenish-yellow rock in 1895 … T.M. McKee, a prospector and Montrose photographer, couldn’t identify the samples, and the assays turned up negative for gold, copper or iron. When Charles Poulot, in search of rare minerals for a Michigan syndicate, set up a small assay shop at the Cashin Mine in 1899, McKee took around a six-pound sack of Dullan’s poke. Unable to identify it, Poulot sent it off to one of his professors in France, who wired back in a few weeks and said it was “uranium in a new color,” which the French scientists M.M.C. Freidel and E. Cumenge named carnotite, in honor of a French mining engineer and chemist, M. Adolphe Carnot (1839-1920) … The mineral occurs typically as crusts and flakes in sandstones. Amounts as low as one percent will color the sandstone a bright yellow. It is found in the states of Wyoming, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Pennsylvania, as well as Colorado, and overseas in Zaire, Morocco, Australia and Kazakhstan.
WATER RIGHTS … Montrose County has filed for water rights to storage in two reservoirs that haven’t even been built yet – the proposed Marie Scott Reservoir on Saltado Creek and a reservoir slated for Maverick Draw (east and north of Norwood). Water for those reservoirs is located in San Miguel County … While it is not illegal for one county to file for water in another county, one would expect the filing county to notify the county filed on beforehand. In this case, that did not happen. San Miguel County found out about the filings, after the fact, from third parties … And, as the reservoirs are yet to be built, the filings will be conditional (the only kind of “speculative” water filings allowed in Colorado water court), which is in itself kind of curious … Private conversations with Commissioner David White (my Montrose counterpart whose district takes in the West End) suggest that there’s no hanky-panky going on – perhaps just a simple oversight. And by filing for these rights, Montrose County may be helping to build a case for constructing these reservoirs, which is why the Norwood Water Commission and the ditch companies in Norwood appear to be supportive of the filings … Anyone interested in learning more about this issue ought to attend the Tri-County North meeting in Ridgway where Montrose County will explain its intentions in filing for water in San Miguel County. The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held in the 4-H building at the Ouray County Fairgrounds on Tuesday, February 15th, starting at 9:30 a.m.
THE TALKING GOURD
Does all magic die
in the extermination camp
of the mind?
Or are there slices of the divine
between the rows & columns?
Between all of these regimented lives?
(Outskirts Press, Denver, 2009)