skip to Main Content

TAKE ACTION: Ask The Larimer County Commissioners to “Reconsider” the Biased, Illegal NISP Permit

Hi Amazing Poudre River Lovers!

It’s time to take ACTION!

The new Larimer County Commissioners have many options for how to handle the biased, illegal NISP permit — and the lawsuits against it — that was issued by the previous Commissioners (Donnelly and Johnson) just weeks before they left office.

We need you to reach out to the new amazing Larimer County Commissioners — John Kefalas, Kristin Stephens, and Jody Shadduck-McNally — and very respectfully and professionally ask them to “RECONSIDER” the biased, illegal permit issued by the former Commissioners. Recall, Commissioner Kefalas — now the “Chair” of this new Commission — voted against the NISP permit.

We’ve made a simple form, with a friendly letter, for you to send them a quick email. Click here:

Let’s do it, team! It’s a new year, a new world in Larimer County, and it’s time to take action!

Thank you!

Gary Wockner, Director, Save The Poudre


Hi Amazing Poudre River Lovers!

For 17 years, we’ve been fighting to stop the proposed Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) because it would further dam/drain/divert the Poudre River through Fort Collins. All 3 permits NISP needs — State, County, and Federal — will occur in 2020, and we are taking legal action to stop it.

It’s Your Support That Allows Us To Take Action!
Please donate online by clicking here:

First, Save The Poudre took legal action by filing an “appeal” against the State of Colorado which gave NISP a “401 Water Quality Certification” in January. Save The Poudre’s appeal alleges thirteen violations of State regulations. The Top Five violations are:

1. No water rights – the plan to fill Glade Reservoir requires buying hundreds of farms in Weld County, whereas only a few farms have been bought.

2. Fails to take into account climate change and its reduction in streamflow in the Poudre River.

3. Mitigation won’t occur until full build-out, maybe 30 years in the future.

4. Mitigation doesn’t allow for peak flows to clean out the river and restore the riparian forest through Fort Collins.

5. Fails to quantify any requirements to meet state water quality standards and relies on nebulous “adaptive management”.

The State permit was given by the staff at the Water Quality Control Division. The appeal now goes to the “Water Quality Control Commission” appointed by Governor Polis. The appeal process will play out over the coming months.

Second, Save The Poudre and two neighborhood groups – Save Rural NoCo and No Pipedream – filed a formal appeal with the Larimer County Land Use Director requesting a reversal of the County determination that Northern Water’s NISP application is complete. The 10-page appeal lists numerous  issues completely ignored by the NISP application that Save The Poudre and neighborhood groups claim are required by Larimer County’s land use regulations.

Not only did we get the County process postponed through the coronavirus pandemic, our challenge requires that the County Land Use Director respond and either reverse the completeness determination or counter the challenge with justifications, which may also extend the process. This appeal will also play out in the coming weeks and months.

The County permitting process is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, so stay tuned about how you can get involved, comment, and show up at County hearings!

Third, Save The Poudre is awaiting the final “Record of Decision” from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is expected to be released in the summer of 2020. Our legal and scientific team is ready for battle when this permit is released.

Finally, we are still in court against the proposed Thornton Pipeline. With all of your help, we helped stop the Thornton Pipeline dead in its tracks, and are defending the County’s decision to deny the Pipeline.

Here’s the bottom line – THIS IS IT! Your past support has made all of the difference in our ability to engage in these battles, and your current and future support is what will keep us fighting hard. 2020 is THE YEAR. We’ve been girding for this battle for 17 years. We intend to run through the tape in a full sprint to keep the Poudre River healthy and flowing.

Every $25 or $50 makes a real difference.  If you can afford $100 or $250 or more, that’s great too! If you’d like to discuss a larger donation, feel free to call Gary Wockner at 970-218-8310. All donations are tax deductible

Please donate on our website at:

Thank you for your support!

Mark Easter, Chair of the Board;
Gary Wockner, Executive Director

Save The Poudre Update: The Action Has Begun — NISP is a Half-Baked Boondoggle!

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 your support that keeps us in the fight.

Please consider donating to keep us working hard through the next months of this battle. You can donate online by clicking here:

Thank you, and stay tuned for more action!

Gary Wockner, Director, Save The Poudre



Save The Poudre: Patagonia Matching Grant, $10,000!

Hi Poudre River Lovers!

We have good news. Our wonderful partners at Patagonia, the outdoor gear/apparel company, will match your donation to Save The Poudre, up to $10,000, starting today through the end of 2019.

The donation link is here:

Patagonia will securely process your donation and then transfer the money to Save The Poudre.

We are especially excited to partner with Patagonia in this matching grant campaign because they are one of the leading voices on the planet for fighting dams and protecting rivers. Patagonia is also one of our leading funders!

What did Save The Poudre accomplish in 2019?

  1. Helped stop the Thornton Pipeline dead in its tracks!
  2. Intervened in state district court against the City of Thornton to defend the Larimer County Commissioners against Thornton’s lawsuit.
  3. Saw through the construction of the amazing Poudre River Whitewater Park, a project that we initiated back in 2010!
  4. Filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Colorado to stop the proposed Windy Gap Water Project in Colorado.
  5. Intervened with the Larimer County permitting process against the Northern Integrated Supply Project (“NISP”), the massive proposed dam project we’ve been fighting for 17 years.
  6. Intervened with the State of Colorado permitting project against NISP.
  7. Filed more comments with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers against NISP.
  8. Kept the Poudre River’s voice alive to the public, in the media, and throughout the northern Colorado region.
  9. And more!

When you donate to Save The Poudre, we get right to work! Patagonia Action Works is a wonderful partner putting your money into action.

Please donate here through Patagonia Action Works and help us protect this amazing river!

The donation link is here:

Thank you for your support!

Gary Wockner, Director, Save The Poudre. 

Take Action: Send an email to the Fort Collins City Council about their Poudre River LEGACY.

Hi Poudre River Lovers!

This Fort Collins City Council will make “legacy” decisions about the future of the Poudre River.

They can stand up and be statewide leaders in water conservation and river protection! Please send them an email by clicking here — ask them to protect and restore the Poudre River for future generations:

Thank you for taking action!

The Save The Poudre Team

Take Action: Say “NO” to the Thornton Pipeline, and “YES” to the Poudre River!

Hi Amazing Poudre River Lovers!

We have a once-in-100 years opportunity to help restore the Poudre River, and your voice can help do that — don’t miss out!!

On January 28th, the Larimer County Commissioners will be making a decision on the Thornton Pipeline. Save The Poudre and many homeowners north of Fort Collins have been working with Larimer County for over a year to support the County Commissioners in saying “NO” to the Thornton Pipeline and “YES” to the Poudre River.

Thornton can send their water down the Poudre River and remove that water from the river near Windsor, instead of putting the water in a massively damaging pipeline across northern Larimer County. This is a “win-win” for Thornton, Larimer County, and the Poudre River.

We need you to click through here to send an email to the Larimer County Commissioners.

Please click through today!

Please check out our new video about the Thornton Pipeline here!

Thank you for Taking Action to Restore the Poudre River!

Look Who Donated $10,000 To Save The Poudre!

Hi Poudre River Lovers!

We greatly appreciate your membership and support, and we are committed to fighting to protect the Poudre through 2019 and beyond.

A few months ago, I got an email from another Poudre River Lover, Sue Pendell of Fort Collins, who wanted to meet and discuss a donation to Save The Poudre. At our meeting, Sue told me that for for 40 years she has enjoyed going to the Poudre River in Fort Collins and up in Poudre Canyon. Sue’s not a kayaker or fisherperson — she enjoys the peace and solitude and often takes a book along to read as she relaxes along the Poudre River.

Sue has very generously donated $10,000 to Save The Poudre out of her retirement account to support our work to protect and restore the Poudre River!

I told Sue that I’d like to tell all of you about her generous donation because it may inspire other people to give. Sue replied, “Oh, I’m just a regular person. Nobody knows me. I doubt if that will help you.” And I told Sue, “That’s exactly why I’d like to let our supporters know – you’re just a regular person, and that’s the story of Save The Poudre. We’re thousands of ‘regular people’ who want to protect the Poudre River through Fort Collins.

In the spirit of Sue’s donation, our end-of-year fundraising goal is to match Sue’s $10,000.
Can you join us and help match Sue’s love for a healthy, free-flowing Poudre River?
Please renew your membership by clicking here:

Here’s an update on all of our work in 2018 and our plans for 2019:

First, some really great news: We hired one of the best public-interest environmental law firms in the U.S. – Meyer, Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP – to coordinate the writing of our comments in to the Army Corps of Engineers for the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the massive proposed river-draining dam project we’ve been fighting for 15 years, the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP). Having this great law firm on our team will ensure we are in the best place possible if and when litigation is needed in the future. We also hired a team of experienced scientists and analysts to review and comment on the FEIS – all of which was finalized on Oct. 4th. Your support helped make this happen!

Second, we have heavily engaged to try and influence the City of Fort Collins and the State of Colorado in their roles of commenting on and permitting NISP. Good news — the City of Fort Collins continued its “do not support” position on NISP. The State of Colorado is working to finalize its position and permit in the next few months.

Third, we did extensive public outreach to the Larimer County Commissioners regarding their role in permitting for NISP. We sent them a strongly worded legal letter that sets us up to continue engaging with the County during its permitting process in 2019.

Fourth, we helped fight the proposed Thornton Pipeline to a standstill. In fact, the application for the pipeline to the Larimer County Commissioners was “tabled” and a Working Group was appointed to try and resolve the conflict. I was appointed to the Working Group which has been meeting throughout the Fall and Winter 2018/19.

Fifth, FUN! The “Whitewater Park” in downtown Fort Collins is breaking ground right now, and it is in part due to the eight years of our work instigating this project. A small dam (photo below) has been removed and the heavy equipment has come in to build the park throughout the winter.

Sixth, we will continue to bird-dog the Colorado Water Plan to make sure it contains no pro-NISP support or funding. We’ve fought against bills in the Legislature that may further harm the Poudre, and we will continue this work in 2019.

Finally, we continue to be the strongest voice in the media, with over a dozen stories in newspapers highlighting our work to protect the Poudre River, with more to come.

It is YOUR support that helped make all of work possible! The next 24 months will be critical in our fight to stop the massive NISP dam project, address the Thornton Pipeline, and protect the river for future generations of people and all the non-human critters that depend on the river for survival.

Thank you for your past support, and for considering us in your year-end giving in 2018. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

Please renew your membership by clicking here:

Gary Wockner, PhD, Director
Save The Poudre

TAKE ACTION: Don’t Let The River District Become The “Ditch” District”

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

The NISP “Final Environmental Impact Statement” is coming

Hi Poudre River Lovers!

After 15 years, it appears the “Final Environmental Impact Statement” for NISP will be released in May or June. We have word from the City of Fort Collins that the timeline is likely, and so we need to gear up!

We have a team of scientists and attorneys who standing by to sink their teeth into the documents. We’ve been at it for 15 years, and we’re just getting warmed up! We also ask all of you — our AMAZING supporters — to also gear up! We will need volunteers to help review the document, and we will need funding to help pay scientific experts.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Gary Wockner
Director, Save The Poudre

Great News, Poudre River Lovers! NISP HAS BEEN DELAYED AGAIN!

Great News, Poudre River Lovers!


We recently found out that the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) has now been delayed until 2018. So, in 2018 that will be the FIFTEENTH YEAR we have been fighting and Stopping NISP.


Thank you for all of the support for the last 14 years! Your support has made all of the difference, and we’d be grateful for your support again.

Please click here to donate to Save The Poudre:

But the news isn’t all good. Due to the Trump administration’s lock on the federal government, we can almost guarantee that the permitting process for NISP will get fast-tracked in 2018. Further, it’s becoming increasing clear to us that the system is rigged. Over the 14 years of our fighting to stop NISP, we’ve been relentless in providing objective, scientific information to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. However, every time they come out with a new draft of the Environmental Impact Statement, they pretty much blow off our comments and agree with the NISP side of the story.

More recently, we provided objective, scientific information to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, but they also blew us off and supported the “mitigation plan” for NISP which is filled with loopholes in the even minimal mitigation it proposes.

All of that means we are likely headed to court.

When our forefathers and foremothers in Congress in the 1960s and 1970s passed laws to protect the environment, they included provisions that allowed for citizens and groups like Save The Poudre to enforce the law. If we feel that the federal and state govt have violated the law, then we can enforce that law by filing lawsuits against those governments.

But we can’t be successful without your help.

Your financial support has and will continue to make the difference. Every time a public comment period is open in the permitting process, we throw ourselves into it – hiring outside scientific consultants and spending hundreds of hours packing the legal record for the eventual lawsuit. Over the next 12 months, there will be more critical periods where we will once again throw ourselves into it.

You have been a great member of the Save The Poudre team for 14 years! We greatly appreciate your support, but more importantly, you’ve allowed us to speak for the Cache la Poudre River in this long, crazy battle to stop NISP and Save The Poudre.

Every $10 or $25 makes a real difference.

If you can afford $50 or $100 or more, that’s great too!

Thank you for your support!

Mark Easter, Chair of the Board; Gary Wockner, Executive Director

Back To Top