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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:
http://www.savethepoudre.org/take-action/donate/

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:
http://www.savethepoudre.org/take-action/donate/



Gary Wockner, PhD, Director
Save The Poudre

PRESSER: The Northern Integrated Supply Project Would Violate Clean Water Act

For Immediate Release
October 4, 2018
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310

The Northern Integrated Supply Project Would Help Kill The Poudre River, Violate Clean Water Act

“Diverting what’s left of the peak flows of water would increasingly turn the river — which is greatly loved by the people of Fort Collins — into a muddy, stinking, lifeless ditch.” — Gary Wockner

Fort Collins: Today, Oct 4th, was the close of the public comment period for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP), a massive, billion-dollar, proposed dam and diversion that would further drain the Cache la Poudre River through Fort Collins. Save The Poudre and other Conservation Groups inserted a 36-page document into the comment period (along with 282 pages of technical attachments) — prepared by the Washington D.C.-based law firm, “Meyer, Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP” — arguing that the Army Corps would be violating the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act if they give a permit to NISP.

Save The Poudre and the Conservation Groups argue that the impacts of NISP on the Cache la Poudre River would be devastatingly negative to the health of the river and the wetlands along the river as it flows through Fort Collins. Building NISP, the Groups argue, would not be the “Least Environmentally Damaging Practical Alternative” (LEDPA) which the Clean Water Act requires. In fact, about 63% of the river’s water is already diverted by farms and cities before the river reaches downtown Fort Collins, and NISP proposes to cause massively more environmental damage by diverting about 40% of what’s left of the peak flows in the months of May and June, on average.

“NISP would cost over a billion dollars and basically kill the Poudre River through Fort Collins,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre. “Diverting what’s left of the peak flows of water would increasingly turn the river — which is greatly loved by the people of Fort Collins — into a muddy, stinking, lifeless ditch.”

Save The Poudre and the Conservation Groups factually argue that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ FEIS violates the Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act because the Corps:

  • Failed to implement and analyze a proper “alternatives analysis” that would cause less damage on the environment, including alternatives that use more water conservation and buy water from farmers.
  • Failed to adequately analyze the negative impacts to water quality in the river.
  • Failed to adequately analyze negative impacts to sensitive wetlands and the forest along the Poudre River corridor in Fort Collins.
  • Failed to adequately analyze the negative impacts to the Whitewater Park currently being built in downtown Fort Collins.
  • Failed to provide adequate mitigation caused by the devastating negative impacts of NISP.

“The FEIS violates federal law,” said Gary Wockner. “The Corps has one more chance to correct these fatal errors when they create the ‘Record of Decision’ in the coming months. We’ve had an eagle-eye on NISP and the Corps for 15 years and we are dug in to protect the beautiful Cache la Poudre River through the end of this process.”

The Conservation Groups include Save The Poudre, Sierra Club, Waterkeeper Alliance, Wildearth Guardians, Save The Colorado, and Fort Collins Audubon Society.

On Tuesday, Nov. 2nd, the Fort Collins City Council also responded to the FEIS by voting to send comments to the Corps about the negative impacts on the river and to “Not Support NISP”. The City focuses on the project’s negative impacts of how “the declined flows, and only three days of peak days, would hurt the surrounding environment, flood plains and overall river health.” (as reported by the Fort Collins Coloradoan — see article here)

The Save The Poudre/Conservation Groups’ comment letter is posted here.

This press release is posted here.

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PRESSER: State Must Investigate, Reveal Cause of Fish Kill on Poudre River

For Immediate Release
Oct. 1, 2018
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310

State Must Investigate, Reveal Cause of Fish Kill on the Poudre River

Fort Collins: Recent news reports have indicated that the fish kill on the Poudre River through Fort Collins has wiped out thousands of fish (see Sept 28 Coloradoan story here). Further, one of the prevailing hypotheses for the kills is warmer temperatures and lower flows in the Poudre River.  Further yet, warmer temperatures and lower flows may be the exact future for the Poudre River as climate change intensifies and if the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) is built.

“The State must fully investigate and reveal the cause of this fish kill,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre. “If it is related to warmer temperatures and lower flows, then climate change and NISP could turn the river through Fort Collins into a muddy, stinking, dead ditch, not a river ever again.”

About 63% of the water in the Poudre River is already drained out by cities and farmers before the river reaches downtown Fort Collins. If the Northern Integrated Supply Project is built, about 40% of what’s left of the peak flow of water during May and June will also be drained out (see July 20 press release here). Even worse, the proposed ‘mitigation’ for the huge negative impacts on the health of the river wouldn’t extend downstream past LeMay Avenue in Fort Collins where the fish kill has occurred.

“NISP would basically kill the Poudre River through Fort Collins,” said Wockner.  “The State and the Army Corps of Engineers must do a full analysis of the potential impacts of NISP including its low flows and interaction with climate change.”

October 4th is the deadline for comments to the Army Corps of Engineers on the Final Environmental Impact Statement for NISP.

The public can send in comments to the Army Coprs by clicking through to Save The Poudre’s ACTION PAGE HERE.

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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

PRESS RELEASE: Thornton Pipeline TABLED

For Immediate Release
August 1, 2018
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310

Fort Collins, CO: Tonight, the Larimer County Commisioners “TABLED” the Thornton Pipeline application until December 2018. After multiple meetings and public process and testimony, the Commissioners voted unanimously to TABLE Thornton’s 1041 permit to run a massive pipeline across northern Larimer County carrying Poudre River water. All three Commissioners said that Thornton did not consider alternatives, especially the ‘Poudre River Option’. The Commissioners want more public outreach and information.

“Thornton now has a tremendous opportunity to work with, not against, the people of Larimer County and do the right thing for the Poudre River by choosing the ‘Poudre River Option'”, said Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre. “We’d be delighted to work with the City of Thornton — as we have told them for 10 years now — to see them run their water down the Poudre River thereby providing great benefits to the river and the people of Larimer County while still ensuring Thornton’s future water supply.”

**end**

 


Gary Wockner, PhD, Director
Save The Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper
Author: “River Warrior: Fighting to Protect the World’s Rivers” (2016)
PO Box 20, Fort Collins, CO 80522
http://savethepoudre.org
http://www.facebook.com/SaveThePoudre

970-218-8310

Poudre River Supporters turn out in droves again to fight for the Poudre!

One hundred more people voiced their concerns at the Larimer County Commissioners second hearing on the Thornton Pipeline Proposal this week.  The Commissioners will hold a third meeting on August 1st to hear the rest of the comments.

Attend the meeting on August 1st and add your voice to ours by asking the the Commissioners to “DENY” the Permit For The Thornton Pipeline and tell Thornton to send their water down the Poudre.   

Or, send the Commissioners an Action Alert Email right here.  http://www.savethepoudre.org/take-action/send-action-alert-email/

Find out more about the pipeline proposal at https://nopipedream.com/why%3F

PRESS RELEASE: Groundhog Day On The Poudre River: With Release of NISP FEIS, Nothing Has Changed In 15 Years

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.

***end***


Gary Wockner, PhD, Director
Save The Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper
PO Box 20, Fort Collins, CO 80522
http://savethepoudre.org
http://www.facebook.com/SaveThePoudre

970-218-8310

PRESS RELEASE: June 22/23, 50th Anniversary Celebration, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Cache la Poudre

For Immediate Release
June 11, 2018
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper, 970-218-8310

June 22/23, 50th Anniversary Celebration, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Cache la Poudre

Fort Collins: Toyota USA, the Waterkeeper Alliance, and Save The Poudre are joining together on June 22nd and 23rd to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act with a SPLASH event. The celebration will be on the Cache la Poudre River, the ONLY Wild and Scenic River in the state of Colorado designated by an Act of Congress.

The celebration will feature:

  • June 22: Photography presentation by renowned Colorado nature photographer John Fielder featuring his photographs of beautiful rivers in Colorado, at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins at 7:00 pm (Information and tickets here).
  • June 23: Free half-day rafting on the Cache la Poudre River for 100 guests, including a free Save The Poudre t-shirt, funded by Toyota. The rafting trips will be hosted by Mountain Whitewater and Wanderlust, both long-term professional rafting companies on the Cache la Poudre.

“The Cache la Poudre is a beautiful river and we are lucky to have it here in northern Colorado,” said Gary Wockner, Director of Save The Poudre. “Please join the celebration to enjoy this Wild and Scenic River, and if you can’t join us, try to get out on the river as often as possible this summer.”

“Beyond our own water conservation and watershed protection activities, through this partnership we aim to drive awareness in the community about the importance of protecting our water resources,” said Kevin Butt, general manager of environmental sustainability, Toyota Motor North America. “The SPLASH series provides a fun way to contribute to water conservation projects and make a difference.”

“Engaging people with their local waterways is a crucial part of securing drinkable, fishable, swimmable water,” said Marc Yaggi, executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance. “The SPLASH Event Series strengthens connections between communities and waterways across the country. We thank Toyota for their commitment to the environment, clean water, and another great year of SPLASH.”

See more about the national Toyota/Waterkeeper SPLASH series here.

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JUNE 22: John Fielder, 50th Anniversary, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

June 22, 7:00pm
Lincoln Center, Magnolia Room

Tickets $10 here: https://www.lctix.com/john-fielder

Please join legendary Colorado nature photographer, John Fielder, in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. John will showcase some of this wonderful photography on the big screen in the Magnolia Theater, including photos of the Dolores River, Yampa River, and our own

 

Cache la Poudre River. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was created by Congress in 1968 and now includes 208 sections of rivers across the U.S. The Cache la Poudre River is the only designated Wild and Scenic River in the state of Colorado. Save The Poudre is hosting John Fielder to celebrate the anniversary and the Cache la Poudre’s unique Wild and Scenic status.

John Fielder has worked tirelessly to promote the protection of Colorado’s environment during his 35-year career as a nature photographer and publisher. His photography has influenced people and legislation, earning him recognition including the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award in 1993 and, in 2011, the Aldo Leopold Foundation’s first Achievement Award given to an individual. Over 40 books have been published depicting his Colorado photography. He teaches photography workshops to adults and children, and his latest books are and Wildflowers of Colorado and A Colorado Winter. He lives in Summit County, Colorado. 30% of proceeds to benefit Save the Poudre. Information about John and his work can be found at johnfielder.com.

PRESS RELEASE: To Avoid Federal Permit, Thornton Continues To Drain Poudre and Wreak Havoc on NoCO Neighbors

For Immediate Release
May 14, 2018
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310

To Avoid Federal Permit, Thornton Continues to Drain the Poudre River and Proposes Massive Water Pipeline that would Wreak Havoc on NoCO Neighborhoods, Even Though “Poudre River Option” is $50 Million – $150 Million Cheaper

Fort Collins, CO: Through a Colorado Open Records Act, it has been revealed that the City of Thornton has long been analyzing the “Poudre River Option” (see map here) for their Thornton Water Supply Project. That analysis indicates that the Poudre River Option could be $50 million – $150 million cheaper than a “Pipeline Option”, but Thornton is almost solely choosing the Pipeline Option to avoid permitting processes, especially a federal permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Samples of slides from the Thornton Water Project presentation.

The short summary presentation (posted here, dated June 3, 2014) was prepared by City of Thornton staff for the Thornton Planning Commission and the Thornton City Council back in June of 2014. The presentation contains several slides about the permitting process and the City’s discussions with the Army Corps of Engineers about how to avoid the Corps permit process.

The Cache la Poudre River through Fort Collins is already severely depleted, with 63% if its water drained out by farms and cities before the river reaches downtown Fort Collins. Thornton’s diversion already occurs, but the amount of water — up to 20,000 acre feet (over 6 billion gallons/year) — proposed for the Project could be sent down the Poudre River through Fort Collins and diverted into the Thornton Pipeline downstream near Windsor, thus vitally replenishing the Poudre River through Fort Collins. In addition, the water could be sent down the river during the peak flow months of June/July/August when the water would make the river healthier for people and the environment.

“Thornton has the opportunity to do the right thing. In fact, we’ve been talking to Thornton about this for nearly 10 years,” said Gary Wockner, Director of Save The Poudre. “Running this water through Fort Collins would not only save Thornton a lot of money, it would make the river cleaner and healthier for people who recreate in the river as well as support the wetlands and riparian forest through Fort Collins.”

Thornton has applied for a “1041 permit” from Larimer County to run the water through a proposed massive pipeline under and along Douglas Road north of Fort Collins, through other neighborhoods north and east of Fort Collins, and down through neighborhoods near Windsor. The Larimer County Planning Commission is considering the permit on Wednesday, May 16th. If the Planning Commission approves the pipeline, the final permit authority goes to the Larimer County Commissioners at a meeting currently scheduled for July 9th.

“Thornton should collaborate instead of continuing to drain the Poudre River through Fort Collins and wreaking havoc on neighborhoods,” said Wockner. “Why won’t Thornton collaborate? The people of Fort Collins would embrace Thornton as a good neighbor if Thornton did the right thing here.”

Over the last several years, Save The Poudre has told Thornton that Save The Poudre would support the federal permit and help shepherd the Project through the permitting process at the state and federal level if Thornton chose the “Poudre River Option”.

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