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 before the water is diverted out in either Windsor or Greeley at water treatment plants and then placed into the cities’ water supply infrastructure.
Save The Poudre is currently in court against Northern Water’s proposed massive dam project called the “Northern Integrated Supply Project” (NISP), and is in court against the City of Thornton’s proposed massive water pipeline project. Save The Poudre will continue and escalate these court battles, and foresees more court battles against NISP, the City of Greeley, and potentially the City of Fort Collins. At the same time, Save The Poudre encourages these cities to change direction and support Nature-Based Solutions and collaboration.
“We’re now reaching out to Northern Water and the cities of Greeley, Fort Collins, and Thornton with our plan to support collaborative Nature-Based Solutions that use the Poudre River as the natural infrastructure for conveyance of water,” said Wockner. “Our next steps will reach out to federal decisionmakers about using federal infrastructure money that will create a United Nations-based approach here in Northern Colorado that sets up the region as a leader of environmental conflict management.”
Save The Poudre will soon make a video to describe and explain the new Nature-Based Solution plan.
This press release is posted here.