Hi Poudre River Lovers! 2020 is the year that it all comes to a head, and Save The Poudre is in the fight! First, last week the State of Colorado gave a "401 Water Quality Certification" (401 Cert) to the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP). We have unleashed our scientists and attorneys on the documents and are preparing for legal battle. The 401 Cert for NISP is one of the worst we've ever seen, with almost no actual safeguards or conditions that ensure the protection of the river's health. We have now asked the State Water Quality Control Commission for a time extension to review it -- they initially gave us only 30 days -- because the documents are over 1,000 pages of technical and legal details that our team is digging through. This permitting fight will be a legal and scientific battle that is not open to the public, but it is YOUR SUPPORT that has given us the financial ability to hire attorneys and scientists. We are digging in for the fight. Second, Larimer County will soon start its permitting process for NISP. As of this writing, NISP has not yet submitted their application to the County, but it is expected in the next few weeks. As soon as the application is submitted, we will dig into that document -- also likely to be 1,000 pages -- and engage in that permitting process. This permitting process WILL BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. We will be getting back in contact with you to let you know when you can submit comments to the County Planning Commission as well as atttend hearings of the Larimer County Commissioners. Finally, NISP continues to be a "Half-Baked Boondoggle". In 2019, NISP was unable to reach an agreement with farmers to secure more than half the water for the project, and so now NISP has started buying farms in Weld County to get the water from those farms. That farm-buying process is not working out -- so far, NISP has only been able to buy three farms, totaling ~160 acres (and ~160 acre-feet of water). NISP needs to buy 22,000 acre-feet of water, which will require them to buy several hundred farms. Not only will NISP further drain and destroy the Poudre River through Fort Collins, it now proposes to be the biggest farm-buying scheme in the history of northern Colorado. Already proposed to cost $1.1 billion, NISP's farm-buying scheme -- if it is successful, which is highly speculative -- will drive the cost nearer to $1.5 billion! It's patently ridiculous -- and we believe, illegal -- that the State of Colorado, as well as Larimer County, are both considering permits for a project that doesn't even have the water rights to allow it to operate. Rest assured, we will be communicating with the State and the County about this ridiculous half-baked process. Our mission is to protect and restore the Cache la Poudre River! We've been at it for 17 years, and it's…
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