Hi Poudre River Lovers! Thank you for checking out our website and for taking action to protect the beautiful Cache la Poudre River! You may not know this, but the Poudre River through Fort Collins is deeply endangered. Much of its water has already been diverted out, and even more water is proposed to be diverted before the river reaches downtown Fort Collins. Right now, there are four proposals for new dams, diversions, and pipelines upstream of Fort Collins that would take even more water out the river potentially turning the river in Fort Collins into a muddy, stinking ditch. These new diversions of water would have serious negative impacts on the health of the river, on the forest along the river, on the new Whitewater Park in downtown, and on the fish and ecosystem in the river. But you can take action to do something about these problems right now! One of the proposed new dams/diversions is called the “Northern Integrated Supply Project” and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – which has to go through a permit process for the project – recently released the “Final Environmental Impact Statement” for the project and is accepting comments from the public about the proposed permit until October 4th. Save The Poudre’s excellent team of highly experienced scientists and attorneys has analyzed the Final Environmental Impact Statement and has created a short summary of problems that the Army Corps needs to fix. We will also be sending in a much longer technical letter with our comments, but you can take action to send in a summary of comments that will give you legal standing in the permitting process now and in the future. Please click here to go to our Action Page and send a comment letter to the Army Corps. Thank you for visiting, and thank you for Taking Action! The Save The Poudre Team
For Immediate Release
March 6, 2019
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310
Dam To Nowhere? Massive Northern Colorado Dam Project Must Now Buy “100 Or More Farms”
Fort Collins, CO: Last week, the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District (Northern Water) revealed that they would have to buy “100 or more farms” containing 25,000 acre feet of water to supply the proposed Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) and its huge proposed Glade Reservoir. For sixteen years, and through three iterations of federally required Environmental Impact Statements, Northern Water has claimed that farmers in Larimer and Weld County would willingly “exchange” 25,000 acre feet of water for NISP. But on Thursday, Northern Water completely changed their story, announcing that it bought its first farm, and proclaiming in the Loveland Reporter Herald:
- “We need to tie up 25,000 acre-feet of water however we can do it,” Warner said, adding, “We’re not using eminent domain or anything.” To obtain the 25,000 acre-feet, he estimated it would take about a decade and 100 or more farms, depending on their size.
The massive farm-buying scheme continues to reveal the highly speculative and completely unpredictable nature of the NISP, as well as the continued escalation of cost. In the first Environmental Impact Statement in 2008, NISP was estimated to cost $350 million; in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) in 2018, NISP was estimated to cost $1.1 billion. Further, in the FEIS, NISP said the cost to buy water for their proposed alternative was “0” (zero). Now, NISP proposes to buy 25,000 acre feet of water with an estimated cost of at least $275 million or more just to have the water to make the project feasible. As of last week, NISP announced that it had so-far bought one 28-acre farm yielding “30 acre feet of water” for $330,000, at the same time that the price of farmland and water continues to skyrocket across northern Colorado over the last decade.
“Everything we said over a decade ago was correct and true,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre. “We said NISP was a billion-dollar boondoggle that would drain the Poudre River and require massive purchases of farm water to fill Glade Reservoir, and to a point, NISP is now well over a billion dollars, would further drain the Poudre River, and is now trying to buy 100 or more farms to fill Glade Reservoir.”
The new farm-buying scheme raises huge legal issues for the permits NISP needs from the Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Colorado, and Larimer County, all of which were predicated on the farmers “willingly exchanging” their water instead of NISP having to buy it.
“This new scheme completely changes the permitting requirements,” said Wockner. “In the coming weeks, we will be communicating with Army Corps about the necessity of a ‘Supplemental EIS’ that examines the new impacts of this scheme on flows in the Poudre River, the cost of the project, and the impact on northern Colorado farms and open space.”
The speculative nature of NISP continues to rapidly escalate. Two years ago, NISP announced that it was going to convey some of its water to Weld County towns by building a huge new pipeline across northern Larimer County. But last month, the Larimer County Commissioners unanimously denied a massive pipeline, proposed by the City of Thornton, along the exact same route as proposed by NISP.
“We are a law enforcement organization,” continued Wockner, “It’s our job to protect the Poudre River and make sure all federal, state, and local laws are followed to protect the environment and ensure sound decision-making.”