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Commentary and Analysis Regarding Colorado Law

Colorado Water Right Abandonment List

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The State of Colorado prides itself on its system of water management. Situated in the arid American West, a once novel priority system was established for equitable water distribution. This prior appropriation system allows the delivery of water to senior users basing the order of use on priority date, not location or proximity to the water source. This system is aimed at allowing water to flow to its most valuable use, preventing speculation, while maximizing beneficial use. The Decennial Abandonment List represents one of the system's checks to make sure that water stays in use. Kara Godbehere of Lyons Gaddis recently was interviewed by KUNC, Community Radio for Northern Colorado regarding the Abandonment List. Click here for the full article and interview. 

If you have a water right that appears on the Decennial Abandonment List or would like more information on the process, the best course of action is to hire a water professional to defend your right from abandonment. Consider hiring one of the Lyons Gaddis water team for the best results. 

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Protecting Water Rights from Calls

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Water rights in Colorado are prioritized and administered based on the year of their decree and date of appropriation. The oldest decreed water rights are most senior and are entitled to divert their decreed flow rate when water is in short supply. If there is not enough water in the stream at their diversion point, they can place a call for the delivery of water against junior water users to satisfy their full demand. The State Engineer and Division Engineers can also shut down water diversions that cannot be adequately administered to protect other water users.

In many parts of Colorado, the streams have been over-appropriated for 100 years or more at certain times of the year, and calls for water rights may be as senior as the 1860s. Water rights on the main stem of the Yampa River had never been called out until 2018. It happened again in 2020. Those highly publicized calls were placed to protect water rights decreed in 1951 through 1963 near Dinosaur National Monument. The calls lasted about 23 days in 2018 and only ten days in 2020, assuming the early September snowstorm puts an end to calls this year. Those calls would have lasted longer if it had not been for tremendous cooperation between the water users, Division Engineer, Tri-State, Colorado Water Trust, and the Colorado River District.

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Times Call - Longmont Housing Authority

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In addition to serving as Co-Managing Shareholder of Lyons Gaddis, Cameron Grant is also the Chair of the Longmont Housing Authority.  This extracurricular pursuit allows Cameron to bring his real estate and housing expertise into play as he helps the organization serve Longmont residents in need of affordable housing.  Cameron is quoted extensively in this Times Call article regarding the restructuring of the Housing Authority and its new relationship with the City of Longmont.

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What If I Was Hit by an Uninsured Motorist

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In an ideal world, vehicle accidents would never happen. And if they did, everyone involved would have enough insurance coverage for all the damages that are caused. In reality, this is not the case and many people are involved in crashes caused by the negligence of an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

What should you do if this happens to you?

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Aurora Purchase of Northern Colorado Water

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Recently, the City of Aurora entered into a contract to purchase 119 shares in the Whitney Irrigation Company from BCI Waterco, LLC, an affiliate of the Broe Companies. Some are concerned that this purchase signals a renewal of water raids from the Denver metro area into northern Colorado water supplies. However, the Denver metro area water needs are on a scale that water providers want to purchase and assemble large blocks of water.

It is not efficient or economical for metropolitan water providers to purchase small amounts of water and then transport that water to the south. Economies of scale discourage such patchwork purchases where options to make a single purchase of a larger quantity of water exist. The Aurora purchase is for shares with an already quantified historic consumptive use of 1,629 acre feet for a purchase price of more than twenty-six million dollars. The shares historically irrigated approximately 1,100 acres.

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Lyons Gaddis Shareholder Named Tax Law Lawyer of the Year for Boulder by Best Lawyers ®

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Jennifer Spitz has been named Tax Law Lawyer of the Year for Boulder for 2021.  The Best Lawyers ®  “Lawyer of the Year” honor is bestowed on a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area making this accolade particularly significant. Honorees are selected based on impressive voting averages received during the peer-review assessments.

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Preparing for Death and Possible Disability

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Real Estate Rescue – Government Help for Commercial Property


This Alert is one in a collection of articles created by Lyons Gaddis in our effort to get important information to our clients regarding the effect of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States.  This Alert focuses on a proposed Bill called the “Helping Open Properties Endeavor Act of 2020,” establishing a loan fund to avoid a wave of property foreclosures. 

HOPE Act: Early Thoughts on a Possible Rescue Plan for Real Estate

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Governor Polis’ Safer-at-Home Order and Implications for Employers and Restaurants

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UPDATE: On June 1, 2020, Governor Polis issued an updated Executive Order, linked here, that extended the Safer-at-Home phase of the states COVID-19 pandemic response for thirty (30) days. That Order now only recommends rather than directs employers to accommodate employees with childcare needs or that live with a Vulnerable Individual. That Order also encourages Coloradans to explore the vast outdoors while practicing social distancing and wearing a face covering. In addition to this extended Order, the restaurant guidelines, although forbidding bars to open, has evolved based upon a loophole that a few bars and breweries have found. If a bar or brewery has a restaurant license and offers food items it can reopen. However, if a bar or brewery reopens under its restaurant license it must also follow the restaurant guidelines. Further discussion on bars and breweries reopening can be found here.


On April 27, 2020, Governor Polis issued an Executive Order, linked here, that transitioned the state from Stay-at-Home to Safer-at-Home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Safer-at-Home Executive Order is one of three governmental response levels meant to protect public health. The three levels are Stay-at-Home, Safer-at-Home, and Protect-Our-Neighbors. A graphic of the levels can be found here. Each level provides differing business closures, testing requirements, and permitted density of gatherings based upon the prevalence of the virus in the state. The Governor will monitor the virus and shift his Orders accordingly. On May 25, 2020, Governor Polis extended the April 27, 2020, Executive Order, which was set to expire on May 27, 2020, to June 1, 2020. The extended Executive Order can be found here.

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Executive Authority In Plain View During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Article IV, Section 2 of the Colorado Constitution states that “The supreme executive power of the state shall be vested in the governor, who shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Perhaps no other time in recent memory has this authority been wielded more rapidly, widely, and with such impact to members of the public than in the current pandemic created by the novel coronavirus. This impact has come through the Governor’s use of executive orders to control everything from the ability to move freely in the State (Stay at Home, D 2020-017, and Safer at Home, D 2020-044), to the operation of ski areas (D 2020-004), and the ability to have an elective or non-essential surgery (D 2020-09), to name a few.Put simply, executive orders allow the Governor to create law without the normal legislative process the General Assembly goes through to enact statutes. Under normal circumstances, the General Assembly (as the legislative branch) is charged with making the laws through the approval of bills, while the Governor holds approval authority over the bills passed by the legislature before they can become law (the judiciary, as the third branch of government is charged with interpreting the constitution and laws of the state). In effect, executive orders are intended to allow for more flexibility in specific times of need, so that quick actions can be taken outside of the context of the normal three-branch system of government. [In case anyone needs a refresher on our three-branch system, I would direct you to the following scholarly overview: Schoolhouse Rock (I will leave the irony of the “three-ringed circus” analogy up to the reader)].

Executive orders are usually limited to directing how the executive branch of government functions. However, with prior approval from the legislative branch, executive orders can become more wide-reaching, which is what we have seen in the current pandemic circumstances.

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New Louisville Office Location

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As of May 1, 2020, after working 6 years on the west side of Louisville, Lyons Gaddis moved the Louisville office downtown. Our new address is 950 Spruce Street, Suite 1B, right across the street from the Louisville Public Library. We look forward to serving and seeing you at our new office.

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Highlights from Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act)

May 15, 2020
Highlights from Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act)
By Brian L. Allard, Associate

On May 12, 2020, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, introduced a $3 trillion bill, titled the HEROES Act, to provide further assistance to individuals, state and local governments, and public and private businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The text of the bill can be found here. 

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Special Education during the COVID-19 Global Pandemic

April 14, 2020
Special Education during the COVID-19 Global Pandemic
By Brian L. Allard, Associate

As the spread of the global pandemic of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, causes school closures for in-person learning across the nation, school districts have been left with extraordinary challenges, including but not limited to rapidly transitioning to online learning and conducting day-to-day business virtually. As school districts move to this virtual setting, an additional challenge includes that federal and state mandates for special education remain in place. School districts are still required to provide students with disabilities a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). This means that school districts must still comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II).

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COVID-19 and Potential Employment and Liability Issues

April 24, 2020
COVID-19 and Potential Employment and Liability Issues
By Brian L. Allard, Associate

As businesses confront challenges not seen in generations, due to the COVID-19 crisis, it is extremely easy to become complacent with basic personnel and business liability matters. Yet now more than ever, businesses must stay vigilant. As revenues drop and payrolls become more difficult to maintain, wage and hour disputes will become more and more prevalent. Even in a crisis, businesses must pay their employees. Also, in financially difficult times more scrutiny will be placed on employees’ wages and hours. More information regarding wage and hour laws in the state of Colorado can be found here.

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Grant Funds Available to Local Governments and Nonprofits

April 17, 2020
Grant Funds Available to Local Governments and Nonprofits
by Adele L. Reester, Shareholder

School and special districts throughout Colorado continue to make adjustments in conducting business operations and educating students during the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic, expending funds in response to the numerous public health orders and school closures.  Following the federal and state emergency disaster declarations, many of these local governments have executed their own emergency declarations to help navigate these uncharted waters.  While these emergency declarations may be useful in exercising powers to operate in the COVID-19 environment, they are also beneficial for applying to access state and federal grant dollars for the reimbursement of these unanticipated COVID-19-related expenses.  

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1031 Exchange and Opportunity Zone Investment Deadlines Extended

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April 15, 2020
1031 Exchange and Opportunity Zone Investment Deadlines Extended
by 
Cameron A. Grant

On April 9, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2020-23 extending certain deadlines provided by the Internal Revenue Code for taxpayers either engaging in Section 1031 like-kind exchanges or making investments in Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds.

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COVID-19 ALERT: Beware of Scams

April 15, 2020
COVID-19 ALERT: Beware of Scams

by Jennifer M. Spitz, Shareholder

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many examples of altruism and community support.  Unfortunately, though, not everyone has good intentions.  Some people use this difficult time to try to defraud others.  Below are some examples to watch out for.

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Northern Water Now Accepting C-BT Transfer Applications

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Lyons Gaddis Covid-19 Alert

This Alert is one in a collection of articles created by Lyons Gaddis in our effort to get important information to our clients regarding the effect of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States.  This Alert focuses on the transfer of C-BT water by the NCWCD. 

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PPP Loan Update:  YOU ARE APPROVED!  Now What?

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Lyons Gaddis Covid-19 Alert

This Alert is one in a collection of articles created by Lyons Gaddis in our effort to get important information to our clients regarding the effect of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States.  This Alert focuses on the new PPP Loan Program and recommendations for managing your loan proceeds. 

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PPP Loan Update:  Borrow Now or Wait?

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Lyons Gaddis COVID-19 Alert

This Alert is one in a collection of articles created by Lyons Gaddis in our effort to get important information to our clients regarding the effect of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States.  This Alert focuses on the new PPP Loan Program and the timing of borrowing funds. 

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Serving The Entire State Of Colorado
Map and Directions


Longmont Office

515 Kimbark Street, Second Floor
Longmont, CO 80501
Phone: 303-776-9900 
Maps & Directions

Louisville Office

950 Spruce Street, Unit 1B
Louisville, CO 80027
Phone: 720-726-3670 
Maps & Directions

Satellite Office

748 Whalers Way, Suite # 240A
Fort Collins, CO 80525
Maps & Directions