June 10, 2021 For Immediate Release Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310 Save The Poudre Sues to Stop NISP Damage on Fort Collins Natural Areas Fort Collins: Yesterday, Save The Poudre filed a lawsuit in state district court in Larimer County against the Northern Integrated Supply Project's ("NISP") attempt to use the SPAR (Site Plan Advisory Review) process for placing a diversion structure, pump station, and massive pipeline across City of Fort Collins' Natural Areas (the lawsuit is posted here). The City Land Use Code makes perfectly clear that SPAR can only be used if NISP "owns or operates" the City Natural Area property, which NISP does not. Further, City Manager Darin Atteberry sent a memo to the City Council on April 16, 2020, telling the Council that NISP had to buy the land, negotiate an easement, or condemn the Natural Areas by eminent domain in order to build the project, but NISP has not done any of those things (the memo is posted here). "We're proud to stand up and defend the citizen-owned Natural Areas," said Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre. "If the whole Hughes Stadium issue taught the City government anything, it's that the people of Fort Collins want their Natural Areas to be protected, restored, and enhanced, not degraded and diminished." The City staff has scheduled a hearing at the Planning and Zoning Commission for NISP on June 30th. Save The Poudre in turn filed a "temporary restraining order" with the court against the City to stop the Commission hearing. Save The Poudre alleges that the City is not enforcing its own land use code and is letting NISP skate by with a bogus review process instead of forcing NISP through a rigorous permit application that must require the review of the full City Council. NISP would drain water out of Natural Areas along the Poudre River throughout Fort Collins, thereby draining wetlands, drying up the riparian forest, and diminishing wildlife habitat. Homestead Natural Area, Kingfisher Natural Area, and Riverbend Ponds Natural Area would be further degraded by the construction of a water diversion structure, pump station, and massive pipeline. "NISP is a massively damaging project that would degrade and destroy City-owned Natural Areas that were bought and paid for by City ratepayers and taxpayers. The people of Fort Collins love their Natural Areas and we are excited to stand up and defend the citizens and their property against this environmentally destructive project," said Wockner. Save The Poudre is joined in the lawsuit with No Pipe Dream Corporation. ***end***
For Immediate Release
Save The Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper
Contact: Gary Wockner, Director, 970-218-8310
Groundhog Day On The Poudre River: With Release of NISP FEIS, Nothing Has Changed In 15 Years As Massive Dam Project Would Still Drain The Poudre Through Fort Collins
Fort Collins, CO: Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the long-awaited “Final Environmental Impact Statement (link here)” (FEIS) for the “Northern Integrated Supply Project” (NISP), a massive proposed new dam/diversion that would further drain the Cache la Poudre River through Fort Collins. Although 15 years has passed by, nothing has changed — the project would still dramatically reduce river flows and have huge negative impacts on the river.
In fact, right off the bat on page 15 (link here, image below), the FEIS indicates that the NISP “preferred alternative” (“2M”) would drain 45% of the water out of the river in May during high-flow periods and 39% of the water in June, the two peak flow months in downtown Fort Collins. Further, these impacts would occur exactly where the City of Fort Collins will begin construction of a new whitewater park this Fall (See graph below for the “Lincoln Gage” which is right across the street from New Belgium Brewing).
“It’s Groundhog Day on the Poudre River,” said Gary Wockner. “Every day for 15 years we’ve been waking up and nothing has changed — and now this FEIS clearly indicates, again, that NISP would further drain and destroy the Poudre River through Fort Collins.”
Further yet, the Poudre River has already had 63% of its water drained out by farms and cities at the same point in the river, and thus this new diversion would dramatically decrease river flows compared to the river’s natural state.
The FEIS weighs in a 2,272 pages plus 23 additional “technical reports”, but the Army Corps has given the public a paltry 45 days to review the massive document.
“The first thing we will do is send the Corps a request to extend the public comment period,” said Wockner. “And then our team of scientists and attorneys will dig in for our summer of reading.”
“We’ve been at this for 15 years, and we are digging in for the home stretch,” continued Wockner. “We are bigger, stronger, and better funded than ever, and we will never stop fighting to protect the Poudre.”
This press release is posted here.
Gary Wockner, PhD, Director
Save The Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper
PO Box 20, Fort Collins, CO 80522
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