October 4, 2022 For Immediate Release Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310 Save The Poudre Promotes "NATURE-BASED SOLUTION" To End Poudre River Dam Fights Fort Collins: After nearly 20 years of intense battle that has paralyzed water supply planning in Northern Colorado, Save The Poudre has adopted a new United Nations-based model that could both restore the Cache la Poudre River and allow city agencies to meet their water needs. Called "Nature-Based Solutions", the model will be a central feature of next week's United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Montreal (see conference details here). In addition, a new public opinion poll paid for by the Walton Family Foundation indicates that the American public has a strong preference for Nature-Based Solutions to solve environmental problems (see their poll here). "We are excited to turn the page towards Nature and collaboration in this two-decade long battle to save the Poudre," said Gary Wockner, director of Save The Poudre. "This United Nations approach that supports working with Nature instead of against it gives everyone involved a path forward." Save The Poudre's plan is to reach out to city water agencies and federal decisionmakers to investigate using federal infrastructure money to use the Poudre River as the conveyance for water (see more details here about using the river as conveyance). To achieve that goal, water treatment plants would need to be built downstream on the Poudre River -- likely in Windsor and Greeley -- so that agencies can run water all the way down the Poudre River through Fort Collins before diverting it out for municipal use. Regardless of where water is stored, and regardless of whether the water is stored in above-ground reservoirs or underground aquifers, in the United Nations model all of the water would return to the river and flow downstream to the water treatment plants. "Using the Poudre River as the conveyance of water is an example of using 'natural infrastructure' that restores the river, increases the biological diversity of the river corridor and watershed, makes the river cleaner and healthier for humans and wildlife, helps address climate threats, and creates immense recreational opportunities for boaters and the public from the mouth of Poudre Canyon all the way to Greeley," said Gary Wockner. "The Walton Family poll revealed that 76% of the American public prefers Nature-Based Solutions that use natural infrastructure." The battle on the Poudre began over 20 years ago when Northern Water, the City of Greeley, the City of Fort Collins, and the City of Thornton all proposed new dams, diversions, and pipelines to further drain the Poudre River before it reached Fort Collins. Altogether, the cities' approach would be a final death blow to the Poudre River, further draining it and turning the river into a muddy, stinking ditch through Fort Collins. Save The Poudre has fought the cities' plans every step of the way. The Nature-Based Solution approach would allow almost all of the municipal water to flow downstream in the Poudre River through Fort Collins…
August 14, 2020
For Immediate Release
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310
Citizen Groups Say Larimer County Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson Must Recuse From NISP Vote
Fort Collins, CO: Today, citizens groups including Save The Poudre, No Pipe Dream, and Save Rural NoCo informed the Larimer County Commissioners that Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson must recuse themselves from the hearings for the 1041 permit for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP). The hearings are set to commence on August 17th.
The 1041 permit process is “quasi-judicial” and as such both the Larimer County land use code and the Colorado constitution prohibit sitting commissioners from taking a position on NISP prior to the hearings because they have to “judge” the permit application from an unbiased viewpoint. Both Donnelly and Johnson have supported NISP in public statements, attended NISP rallies, and endorsed the project for at least a decade.
The citizens groups filed a “petition” with the commissioners that included a letter, a formal listing of the legal background including a lawsuit filed in Larimer County district court, and 26 exhibits where Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson made statements supporting NISP. One exhibit includes a post from Commissioner Donnelly’s facebook page where he’s speaking at a NISP rally and commenting in support of NISP (left).
“Both the Larimer County land use code and the Colorado constitution require that county commissioners not have taken a position prior to a hearing and quasi-judicial 1041 permit,” said Gary Wockner, director of Save The Poudre. “Both Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson have public supported, and been listed as endorsers for, NISP for at least a decade, and therefore are biased. As such, they must recuse themselves from the hearings.”
The citizen groups argue that when the hearings commence on August 17th at 6:30pm, the first order of business will be to address the petition that requires the recusal of both Donnelly and Johnson. The groups also argue that the County should delay the hearing process until after the 2020 election when two new commissioners on the 3-member board are seated replacing both Donnelly and Johnson who are term-limited.
This press release is posted here.