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Poudre River Update: Tell the City of Fort Collins to adopt “1041 Regulations” for NISP!

Hi Poudre River Lovers!

It’s time to show up and speak out! 

At its Tuesday, Oct. 19th meeting, the City of Fort Collins is proposing to create new regulations — called “1041 regulations” — that would protect the City, the Poudre River, and City Natural Areas from huge destructive development projects like the Northern Integrated Supply Project (“NISP”). Recall, NISP would drain so much water out of the Poudre that the river would resemble a muddy stinking ditch in Fort Collins. Further, the NISP pipeline would eviscerate Fort Collins Natural Areas.

We need you to show up and speak to the Fort Collins City Council at the Tuesday, Oct. 19th meeting. 

If you can’t show up, we encourage you to send an email to the Council, and we created a quick Call2Action on our website that you can click through to send the Council an email, here: 

Also, if you can’t show up at City Hall, you can ZOOM into the meeting to speak during the comment period. Directions for ZOOM are here: 

Please read the Call2Action for talking points. Also, always feel free to tell the Council your own personal story of why the Poudre River is special to you and needs to be protected.

Thank you for all you do!

Save The Poudre

Save The Poudre Action Alert: NISP Needs City of Fort Collins Permit, and Your Voice Matters!

Hi Poudre River Lovers!

It’s time for action! The massive proposed Poudre River-destroying Northern Integrated Supply Project needs a permit from the City of Fort Collins, and your voice matters.

NISP is having a “neighborhood meeting” on Zoom on Wednesday, April 21st, at 6:00pm, and all members of Save The Poudre — that’s you! — are “neighbors”. We need you to do two things:

First, stay tuned for the link to sign up for the neighborhood meeting. The City’s website (here) says they will provide a zoom link 48 hours ahead of the meeting so ALL OF YOU can join the meeting. We will send you another email as soon as the link is posted on Monday.

Second, please send an email to the Fort Collins City Council  telling them you are opposed to NISP and you want a full, public “development review” for NISP, not just a “Site Plan Advisory Review” that the City is proposing now. We’ve made a simple link for you to send an email to the City Council (click here).

Thank you for TAKING ACTION, and stay  tuned for more information about you can help stop NISP in the City of Fort Collins.

And of course, thank you for donating to Save The Poudre (you can donate by clicking here). If you can’t show up to the Zoom meeting, your financial support makes sure that we will.

Gary Wockner, Director, Save The Poudre

Save The Poudre Update: We’re in the heat of battle — thank you for your support!

Hi Poudre River Lovers!

Thank you for your support!! It’s your support that keeps us working hard. Please donate online by clicking here

Good News First! In February, State District Court in Larimer County ruled in support of our fight to stop the Thornton Pipeline. The court ruled that the Larimer County Commissioners were legally justified to deny Thornton’s permit, a denial we intervened to support in the lawsuit. Thornton has now appealed that decision, and we are counting on this new Larimer County Commission to defend itself in the State Court of Appeals.

If Thornton would simply do the right thing – which is run the water down the Poudre River through Fort Collins – they wouldn’t even need a permit at all! Thornton would have saved millions of dollars in court costs, planning, and permitting by simply taking Save The Poudre’s advice TEN YEARS AGO and keeping the water in the Poudre. We will remain vigilant and engaged in this battle – stay tuned for the action!

Second, our ongoing battle to stop the Northern Integrated Supply Project continues to work its way through the court system. We now have two lawsuits against the FORMER Larimer County Commissioners, Steve Johnson and Tom Donnelly, for their illegal decision to support NISP. First we argue that Johnson and Donnelly were biased due to their decades of support for NISP. Second, we argue that Johnson and Donnelly’s decision violated the Larimer County land use code in multiple ways.

NISP would have dramatic negative impacts on the Poudre River, on neighbors around the proposed reservoir, and on neighbors along the pipeline route. We have worked in close coalition with two local neighborhood groups – “Save Rural NoCo” and “No Pipe Dream” – to fight the project and influence the court’s and the County’s decision.

The NISP battle now turns to the City of Fort Collins!

NISP has applied for a “Site Plan Advisory Review” for the project, including for the massive environmentally destructive pipeline through the City’s Natural Areas on the east side of Fort Collins. The City has scheduled a “neighborhood meeting” on April 21st at 6:00pm, and ALL SAVE THE POUDRE MEMBERS are invited as neighbors!

We are encouraging all of you to sign up for this “Zoom” neighborhood meeting – let’s show the City how much we care about the Poudre River and its Natural Areas, and how much we OPPOSE NISP. We’ll keep you posted on how to zoom attend the neighborhood meeting – make sure and sign up for our newsletter on

Finally, Save The Poudre is awaiting the final “Record of Decision” from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is expected to be released this year. Our legal and scientific team is ready for battle when this permit is released. We have a great attorney lined up to fight this permit if needed, and we are prepared to do everything we can to stop NISP.

In other Big News, we’re excited to have launched a new “Rights of Nature” program for the Poudre River. The “Rights of Nature” concept is accelerating rapidly across the U.S. and the planet. With our sister organization, Save The Colorado, we are engaging here on the Poudre River. We’ve had our first community meeting about the new program, and we are working together with the “Earth Law Center” based in Boulder to create this program. Ultimately, we hope to pass a resolution with the City of Fort Collins giving the Poudre “Rights of Nature” that will create a legal “guardian” body to represent the river in all City decisions and processes. Stay tuned for more about this exciting program!

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 battle for 18 years.

Every $25 or $50 makes a real difference.  If you can afford $100 or $250 or more, that’s great too! If you’d like to discuss a larger donation, feel free to call Gary Wockner at 970-218-8310. All donations are tax deductible

Please donate on our website by clicking here:

Thank you for your support!

Mark Easter, Chair of the Board; Gary Wockner, Executive Director

TAKE ACTION: Ask The Larimer County Commissioners to “Reconsider” the Biased, Illegal NISP Permit

Hi Amazing Poudre River Lovers!

It’s time to take ACTION!

The new Larimer County Commissioners have many options for how to handle the biased, illegal NISP permit — and the lawsuits against it — that was issued by the previous Commissioners (Donnelly and Johnson) just weeks before they left office.

We need you to reach out to the new amazing Larimer County Commissioners — John Kefalas, Kristin Stephens, and Jody Shadduck-McNally — and very respectfully and professionally ask them to “RECONSIDER” the biased, illegal permit issued by the former Commissioners. Recall, Commissioner Kefalas — now the “Chair” of this new Commission — voted against the NISP permit.

We’ve made a simple form, with a friendly letter, for you to send them a quick email. Click here:

Let’s do it, team! It’s a new year, a new world in Larimer County, and it’s time to take action!

Thank you!

Gary Wockner, Director, Save The Poudre


Hi Amazing Poudre River Lovers!

For 17 years, we’ve been fighting to stop the proposed Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) because it would further dam/drain/divert the Poudre River through Fort Collins. All 3 permits NISP needs — State, County, and Federal — will occur in 2020, and we are taking legal action to stop it.

It’s Your Support That Allows Us To Take Action!
Please donate online by clicking here:

First, Save The Poudre took legal action by filing an “appeal” against the State of Colorado which gave NISP a “401 Water Quality Certification” in January. Save The Poudre’s appeal alleges thirteen violations of State regulations. The Top Five violations are:

1. No water rights – the plan to fill Glade Reservoir requires buying hundreds of farms in Weld County, whereas only a few farms have been bought.

2. Fails to take into account climate change and its reduction in streamflow in the Poudre River.

3. Mitigation won’t occur until full build-out, maybe 30 years in the future.

4. Mitigation doesn’t allow for peak flows to clean out the river and restore the riparian forest through Fort Collins.

5. Fails to quantify any requirements to meet state water quality standards and relies on nebulous “adaptive management”.

The State permit was given by the staff at the Water Quality Control Division. The appeal now goes to the “Water Quality Control Commission” appointed by Governor Polis. The appeal process will play out over the coming months.

Second, Save The Poudre and two neighborhood groups – Save Rural NoCo and No Pipedream – filed a formal appeal with the Larimer County Land Use Director requesting a reversal of the County determination that Northern Water’s NISP application is complete. The 10-page appeal lists numerous  issues completely ignored by the NISP application that Save The Poudre and neighborhood groups claim are required by Larimer County’s land use regulations.

Not only did we get the County process postponed through the coronavirus pandemic, our challenge requires that the County Land Use Director respond and either reverse the completeness determination or counter the challenge with justifications, which may also extend the process. This appeal will also play out in the coming weeks and months.

The County permitting process is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, so stay tuned about how you can get involved, comment, and show up at County hearings!

Third, Save The Poudre is awaiting the final “Record of Decision” from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is expected to be released in the summer of 2020. Our legal and scientific team is ready for battle when this permit is released.

Finally, we are still in court against the proposed Thornton Pipeline. With all of your help, we helped stop the Thornton Pipeline dead in its tracks, and are defending the County’s decision to deny the Pipeline.

Here’s the bottom line – THIS IS IT! 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. 2020 is THE YEAR. We’ve been girding for this battle for 17 years. We intend to run through the tape in a full sprint to keep the Poudre River healthy and flowing.

Every $25 or $50 makes a real difference.  If you can afford $100 or $250 or more, that’s great too! If you’d like to discuss a larger donation, feel free to call Gary Wockner at 970-218-8310. All donations are tax deductible

Please donate on our website at:

Thank you for your support!

Mark Easter, Chair of the Board;
Gary Wockner, Executive Director

Save The Poudre Update: The Action Has Begun — NISP is a Half-Baked Boondoggle!

Hi Poudre River Lovers!

2020 is the year that it all comes to a head, and Save The Poudre is in the fight!

First, last week the State of Colorado gave a “401 Water Quality Certification” (401 Cert) to the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP). We have unleashed our scientists and attorneys on the documents and are preparing for legal battle. The 401 Cert for NISP is one of the worst we’ve ever seen, with almost no actual safeguards or conditions that ensure the protection of the river’s health. We have now asked the State Water Quality Control Commission for a time extension to review it — they initially gave us only 30 days — because the documents are over 1,000 pages of technical and legal details that our team is digging through. This permitting fight will be a legal and scientific battle that is not open to the public, but it is YOUR SUPPORT that has given us the financial ability to hire attorneys and scientists. We are digging in for the fight.

Second, Larimer County will soon start its permitting process for NISP. As of this writing, NISP has not yet submitted their application to the County, but it is expected in the next few weeks. As soon as the application is submitted, we will dig into that document — also likely to be 1,000 pages — and engage in that permitting process. This permitting process WILL BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. We will be getting back in contact with you to let you know when you can submit comments to the County Planning Commission as well as atttend hearings of the Larimer County Commissioners.

Finally, NISP continues to be a “Half-Baked Boondoggle”. In 2019, NISP was unable to reach an agreement with farmers to secure more than half the water for the project, and so now NISP has started buying farms in Weld County to get the water from those farms. That farm-buying process is not working out — so far, NISP has only been able to buy three farms, totaling ~160 acres (and ~160 acre-feet of water). NISP needs to buy 22,000 acre-feet of water, which will require them to buy several hundred farms. Not only will NISP further drain and destroy the Poudre River through Fort Collins, it now proposes to be the biggest farm-buying scheme in the history of northern Colorado. Already proposed to cost $1.1 billion, NISP’s farm-buying scheme — if it is successful, which is highly speculative — will drive the cost nearer to $1.5 billion!

It’s patently ridiculous — and we believe, illegal — that the State of Colorado, as well as Larimer County, are both considering permits for a project that doesn’t even have the water rights to allow it to operate. Rest assured, we will be communicating with the State and the County about this ridiculous half-baked process.

Our mission is to protect and restore the Cache la Poudre River! We’ve been at it for 17 years, and it’s your support that keeps us in the fight.

Please consider donating to keep us working hard through the next months of this battle. You can donate online by clicking here:

Thank you, and stay tuned for more action!

Gary Wockner, Director, Save The Poudre



Save The Poudre: Patagonia Matching Grant, $10,000!

Hi Poudre River Lovers!

We have good news. Our wonderful partners at Patagonia, the outdoor gear/apparel company, will match your donation to Save The Poudre, up to $10,000, starting today through the end of 2019.

The donation link is here:

Patagonia will securely process your donation and then transfer the money to Save The Poudre.

We are especially excited to partner with Patagonia in this matching grant campaign because they are one of the leading voices on the planet for fighting dams and protecting rivers. Patagonia is also one of our leading funders!

What did Save The Poudre accomplish in 2019?

  1. Helped stop the Thornton Pipeline dead in its tracks!
  2. Intervened in state district court against the City of Thornton to defend the Larimer County Commissioners against Thornton’s lawsuit.
  3. Saw through the construction of the amazing Poudre River Whitewater Park, a project that we initiated back in 2010!
  4. Filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Colorado to stop the proposed Windy Gap Water Project in Colorado.
  5. Intervened with the Larimer County permitting process against the Northern Integrated Supply Project (“NISP”), the massive proposed dam project we’ve been fighting for 17 years.
  6. Intervened with the State of Colorado permitting project against NISP.
  7. Filed more comments with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers against NISP.
  8. Kept the Poudre River’s voice alive to the public, in the media, and throughout the northern Colorado region.
  9. And more!

When you donate to Save The Poudre, we get right to work! Patagonia Action Works is a wonderful partner putting your money into action.

Please donate here through Patagonia Action Works and help us protect this amazing river!

The donation link is here:

Thank you for your support!

Gary Wockner, Director, Save The Poudre. 

Take Action: Send an email to the Fort Collins City Council about their Poudre River LEGACY.

Hi Poudre River Lovers!

This Fort Collins City Council will make “legacy” decisions about the future of the Poudre River.

They can stand up and be statewide leaders in water conservation and river protection! Please send them an email by clicking here — ask them to protect and restore the Poudre River for future generations:

Thank you for taking action!

The Save The Poudre Team

Take Action: Say “NO” to the Thornton Pipeline, and “YES” to the Poudre River!

Hi Amazing Poudre River Lovers!

We have a once-in-100 years opportunity to help restore the Poudre River, and your voice can help do that — don’t miss out!!

On January 28th, the Larimer County Commissioners will be making a decision on the Thornton Pipeline. Save The Poudre and many homeowners north of Fort Collins have been working with Larimer County for over a year to support the County Commissioners in saying “NO” to the Thornton Pipeline and “YES” to the Poudre River.

Thornton can send their water down the Poudre River and remove that water from the river near Windsor, instead of putting the water in a massively damaging pipeline across northern Larimer County. This is a “win-win” for Thornton, Larimer County, and the Poudre River.

We need you to click through here to send an email to the Larimer County Commissioners.

Please click through today!

Please check out our new video about the Thornton Pipeline here!

Thank you for Taking Action to Restore the Poudre River!

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:

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:

Gary Wockner, PhD, Director
Save The Poudre

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