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…
For Immediate Release
Contact: Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre and Save The Colorado, 970-218-8310
Colorado Rivers Press Release: Thornton Water Pipeline DENIED by Colorado State Court of Appeals
Fort Collins: Today, the Colorado State Court of Appeals in Denver upheld a lower court’s ruling that denied the City of Thornton the right to build a water pipeline across northern Larimer County north of Fort Collins.
For several years, Thornton has tried to build a water pipeline across northern Larimer County to transfer water from over 20,000 acres of farms down to the City of Thornton. In 2018, the Larimer County Commissioners denied a permit for the pipeline, and Thornton sued the County. Save The Poudre, which has about 1,000 members in Larimer County, and another neighborhood group, No Pipe Dream, both intervened in the case to support Larimer County which was sued by Thornton. The pipeline proposes to transfer over 14,000 acre feet of water from farms down to Thornton.
Pipeline opponents, Save The Poudre and No Pipe Dream, argued that Thornton should run the water down the Cache la Poudre River through Fort Collins until it reached the Town of Windsor and then divert the water into a pipeline, thus restoring flows to a critically endangered 12-mile section the Poudre River.
“We’ve told Thornton for over 10 years that the water should flow down the Poudre River through Fort Collins,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre. “This is potentially a win-win project, but Thornton refuses to use the River as a conveyance and continues to waste everyone’s time and money in court.”
Thornton must now decide if it will appeal the ruling to the Colorado Supreme Court, or propose a new pipeline route in Larimer County, or simply let the water flow down the Poudre River to Windsor which is an outcome that doesn’t even require any kind of permit in Larimer County.
“Once again, we offer to collaborate with Thornton rather than litigate,” said Wockner. “By working together, we can restore the Poudre River and Thornton can get the water.”
Save The Poudre’s mission is to protect and restore the Cache la Poudre River of northern Colorado.