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…
Hello Poudre River Lovers! Thank you for your support!
We are pushing hard on every single lever to protect and restore the Cache la Poudre River.
First, NISP DOES NOT HAVE A PERMIT TO BEGIN CONSTRUCTION!
Many of you have reached out to see what’s going on with the apparent construction in the valley where Glade Reservoir might be built. Please know that we are paying close attention and consulting with our legal team constantly.
The digging at the proposed site for Glade Reservoir is deemed by the Army Corps of Engineers to be “pre-construction” and “test hole drilling” that does not require a permit from the Corps. NISP is doing this work on land that NISP owns, and while it is very concerning to everyone, including all the neighbors, we talked at length with our legal team and there’s no way we can stop it.
Northern Water, which is building the Chimney Hollow Reservoir west of Loveland right now, did similar pre-construction work at that site. After we filed the lawsuit against Northern and the Corps’ after the permit came out, all of the construction at Chimney Hollow stopped.
We are very vigilant about everything that’s going on at the Glade site, and we are in constant communication with our legal team. We are nearly 100% likely to file a lawsuit against the Corps and Northern when the NISP permit is released. We expect the Corps to release the permit any day, and our legal team is poised with pens ready to fight and file.
Second, recall that we sued the former Larimer County Commissioners for giving a permit for NISP, and that lawsuit is still playing out in state court in Larimer County. We believe we have a strong case and our legal team is fighting hard to get the best outcome.
So far, the judge has not acted on any motions, and hasn’t issued any kind of rulings. It could take a year or more for this lawsuit to play out.
Third, our intervention in the lawsuit to stop the proposed Thornton Pipeline recently had a hearing in front of the state court of appeals in Denver. We are expecting a ruling in the coming weeks or months. Recall, the Larimer County Commissioners denied a permit to Thornton, then Thornton sued the County. Thornton lost in state district court and has now appealed to the state court of appeals.
Fourth, we continue to be engaged in the preparation of the City of Fort Collins’ new “1041 regulations” that will apply to NISP. We’ve provided many comments to the Council and the staff, and we are waiting for a final draft that will be on the City Council agenda in October or November. These regs are very important to protect the Poudre River as well as the Natural Areas all the way through Fort Collins.
PLEASE KNOW – 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. We’ve been girding for this legal action for 19 years.
Every $25 or $50 makes a real difference. If you can afford $100 or $250 or more, that’s great too! All donations are tax deductible
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Thank you for your support!
Mark Easter and Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre