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TAKE ACTION: Don’t Let The River District Become The “Ditch” District”

Hi Poudre River Lovers!

Thank you for checking out our website and for taking action to protect the beautiful Cache la Poudre River!

You may not know this, but the Poudre River through Fort Collins is deeply endangered. Much of its water has already been diverted out, and even more water is proposed to be diverted before the river reaches downtown Fort Collins.

Right now, there are four proposals for new dams, diversions, and pipelines upstream of Fort Collins that would take even more water out the river potentially turning the river in Fort Collins into a muddy, stinking ditch. These new diversions of water would have serious negative impacts on the health of the river, on the forest along the river, on the new Whitewater Park in downtown, and on the fish and ecosystem in the river.

But you can take action to do something about these problems right now!

One of the proposed new dams/diversions is called the “Northern Integrated Supply Project” and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – which has to go through a permit process for the project – recently released the “Final Environmental Impact Statement” for the project and is accepting comments from the public about the proposed permit until October 4th.

Save The Poudre’s excellent team of highly experienced scientists and attorneys has analyzed the Final Environmental Impact Statement and has created a short summary of problems that the Army Corps needs to fix. We will also be sending in a much longer technical letter with our comments, but you can take action to send in a summary of comments that will give you legal standing in the permitting process now and in the future.

Please click here to go to our Action Page and send a comment letter to the Army Corps.

Thank you for visiting, and thank you for Taking Action!

The Save The Poudre Team


For Immediate Release
August 1, 2018
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310

Fort Collins, CO: Tonight, the Larimer County Commisioners “TABLED” the Thornton Pipeline application until December 2018. After multiple meetings and public process and testimony, the Commissioners voted unanimously to TABLE Thornton’s 1041 permit to run a massive pipeline across northern Larimer County carrying Poudre River water. All three Commissioners said that Thornton did not consider alternatives, especially the ‘Poudre River Option’. The Commissioners want more public outreach and information.

“Thornton now has a tremendous opportunity to work with, not against, the people of Larimer County and do the right thing for the Poudre River by choosing the ‘Poudre River Option'”, said Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre. “We’d be delighted to work with the City of Thornton — as we have told them for 10 years now — to see them run their water down the Poudre River thereby providing great benefits to the river and the people of Larimer County while still ensuring Thornton’s future water supply.”



Gary Wockner, PhD, Director
Save The Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper
Author: “River Warrior: Fighting to Protect the World’s Rivers” (2016)
PO Box 20, Fort Collins, CO 80522


Poudre River Supporters turn out in droves again to fight for the Poudre!

One hundred more people voiced their concerns at the Larimer County Commissioners second hearing on the Thornton Pipeline Proposal this week.  The Commissioners will hold a third meeting on August 1st to hear the rest of the comments.

Attend the meeting on August 1st and add your voice to ours by asking the the Commissioners to “DENY” the Permit For The Thornton Pipeline and tell Thornton to send their water down the Poudre.   

Or, send the Commissioners an Action Alert Email right here.

Find out more about the pipeline proposal at

PRESS RELEASE: Groundhog Day On The Poudre River: With Release of NISP FEIS, Nothing Has Changed In 15 Years

For Immediate Release
Save The Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper
Contact: Gary Wockner, Director, 970-218-8310

Groundhog Day On The Poudre River: With Release of NISP FEIS, Nothing Has Changed In 15 Years As Massive Dam Project Would Still Drain The Poudre Through Fort Collins

Fort Collins, CO: Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the long-awaited “Final Environmental Impact Statement (link here)” (FEIS) for the “Northern Integrated Supply Project” (NISP), a massive proposed new dam/diversion that would further drain the Cache la Poudre River through Fort Collins. Although 15 years has passed by, nothing has changed — the project would still dramatically reduce river flows and have huge negative impacts on the river.

In fact, right off the bat on page 15 (link here, image below), the FEIS indicates that the NISP “preferred alternative” (“2M”) would drain 45% of the water out of the river in May during high-flow periods and 39% of the water in June, the two peak flow months in downtown Fort Collins. Further, these impacts would occur exactly where the City of Fort Collins will begin construction of a new whitewater park this Fall (See graph below for the “Lincoln Gage” which is right across the street from New Belgium Brewing).

“It’s Groundhog Day on the Poudre River,” said Gary Wockner. “Every day for 15 years we’ve been waking up and nothing has changed — and now this FEIS clearly indicates, again, that NISP would further drain and destroy the Poudre River through Fort Collins.”

Further yet, the Poudre River has already had 63% of its water drained out by farms and cities at the same point in the river, and thus this new diversion would dramatically decrease river flows compared to the river’s natural state.

The FEIS weighs in a 2,272 pages plus 23 additional “technical reports”, but the Army Corps has given the public a paltry 45 days to review the massive document.

“The first thing we will do is send the Corps a request to extend the public comment period,” said Wockner. “And then our team of scientists and attorneys will dig in for our summer of reading.”

“We’ve been at this for 15 years, and we are digging in for the home stretch,” continued Wockner. “We are bigger, stronger, and better funded than ever, and we will never stop fighting to protect the Poudre.”

This press release is posted here.


Gary Wockner, PhD, Director
Save The Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper
PO Box 20, Fort Collins, CO 80522


PRESS RELEASE: June 22/23, 50th Anniversary Celebration, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Cache la Poudre

For Immediate Release
June 11, 2018
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper, 970-218-8310

June 22/23, 50th Anniversary Celebration, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Cache la Poudre

Fort Collins: Toyota USA, the Waterkeeper Alliance, and Save The Poudre are joining together on June 22nd and 23rd to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act with a SPLASH event. The celebration will be on the Cache la Poudre River, the ONLY Wild and Scenic River in the state of Colorado designated by an Act of Congress.

The celebration will feature:

  • June 22: Photography presentation by renowned Colorado nature photographer John Fielder featuring his photographs of beautiful rivers in Colorado, at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins at 7:00 pm (Information and tickets here).
  • June 23: Free half-day rafting on the Cache la Poudre River for 100 guests, including a free Save The Poudre t-shirt, funded by Toyota. The rafting trips will be hosted by Mountain Whitewater and Wanderlust, both long-term professional rafting companies on the Cache la Poudre.

“The Cache la Poudre is a beautiful river and we are lucky to have it here in northern Colorado,” said Gary Wockner, Director of Save The Poudre. “Please join the celebration to enjoy this Wild and Scenic River, and if you can’t join us, try to get out on the river as often as possible this summer.”

“Beyond our own water conservation and watershed protection activities, through this partnership we aim to drive awareness in the community about the importance of protecting our water resources,” said Kevin Butt, general manager of environmental sustainability, Toyota Motor North America. “The SPLASH series provides a fun way to contribute to water conservation projects and make a difference.”

“Engaging people with their local waterways is a crucial part of securing drinkable, fishable, swimmable water,” said Marc Yaggi, executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance. “The SPLASH Event Series strengthens connections between communities and waterways across the country. We thank Toyota for their commitment to the environment, clean water, and another great year of SPLASH.”

See more about the national Toyota/Waterkeeper SPLASH series here.






JUNE 22: John Fielder, 50th Anniversary, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

June 22, 7:00pm
Lincoln Center, Magnolia Room

Tickets $10 here:

Please join legendary Colorado nature photographer, John Fielder, in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. John will showcase some of this wonderful photography on the big screen in the Magnolia Theater, including photos of the Dolores River, Yampa River, and our own


Cache la Poudre River. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was created by Congress in 1968 and now includes 208 sections of rivers across the U.S. The Cache la Poudre River is the only designated Wild and Scenic River in the state of Colorado. Save The Poudre is hosting John Fielder to celebrate the anniversary and the Cache la Poudre’s unique Wild and Scenic status.

John Fielder has worked tirelessly to promote the protection of Colorado’s environment during his 35-year career as a nature photographer and publisher. His photography has influenced people and legislation, earning him recognition including the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award in 1993 and, in 2011, the Aldo Leopold Foundation’s first Achievement Award given to an individual. Over 40 books have been published depicting his Colorado photography. He teaches photography workshops to adults and children, and his latest books are and Wildflowers of Colorado and A Colorado Winter. He lives in Summit County, Colorado. 30% of proceeds to benefit Save the Poudre. Information about John and his work can be found at

PRESS RELEASE: To Avoid Federal Permit, Thornton Continues To Drain Poudre and Wreak Havoc on NoCO Neighbors

For Immediate Release
May 14, 2018
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310

To Avoid Federal Permit, Thornton Continues to Drain the Poudre River and Proposes Massive Water Pipeline that would Wreak Havoc on NoCO Neighborhoods, Even Though “Poudre River Option” is $50 Million – $150 Million Cheaper

Fort Collins, CO: Through a Colorado Open Records Act, it has been revealed that the City of Thornton has long been analyzing the “Poudre River Option” (see map here) for their Thornton Water Supply Project. That analysis indicates that the Poudre River Option could be $50 million – $150 million cheaper than a “Pipeline Option”, but Thornton is almost solely choosing the Pipeline Option to avoid permitting processes, especially a federal permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Samples of slides from the Thornton Water Project presentation.

The short summary presentation (posted here, dated June 3, 2014) was prepared by City of Thornton staff for the Thornton Planning Commission and the Thornton City Council back in June of 2014. The presentation contains several slides about the permitting process and the City’s discussions with the Army Corps of Engineers about how to avoid the Corps permit process.

The Cache la Poudre River through Fort Collins is already severely depleted, with 63% if its water drained out by farms and cities before the river reaches downtown Fort Collins. Thornton’s diversion already occurs, but the amount of water — up to 20,000 acre feet (over 6 billion gallons/year) — proposed for the Project could be sent down the Poudre River through Fort Collins and diverted into the Thornton Pipeline downstream near Windsor, thus vitally replenishing the Poudre River through Fort Collins. In addition, the water could be sent down the river during the peak flow months of June/July/August when the water would make the river healthier for people and the environment.

“Thornton has the opportunity to do the right thing. In fact, we’ve been talking to Thornton about this for nearly 10 years,” said Gary Wockner, Director of Save The Poudre. “Running this water through Fort Collins would not only save Thornton a lot of money, it would make the river cleaner and healthier for people who recreate in the river as well as support the wetlands and riparian forest through Fort Collins.”

Thornton has applied for a “1041 permit” from Larimer County to run the water through a proposed massive pipeline under and along Douglas Road north of Fort Collins, through other neighborhoods north and east of Fort Collins, and down through neighborhoods near Windsor. The Larimer County Planning Commission is considering the permit on Wednesday, May 16th. If the Planning Commission approves the pipeline, the final permit authority goes to the Larimer County Commissioners at a meeting currently scheduled for July 9th.

“Thornton should collaborate instead of continuing to drain the Poudre River through Fort Collins and wreaking havoc on neighborhoods,” said Wockner. “Why won’t Thornton collaborate? The people of Fort Collins would embrace Thornton as a good neighbor if Thornton did the right thing here.”

Over the last several years, Save The Poudre has told Thornton that Save The Poudre would support the federal permit and help shepherd the Project through the permitting process at the state and federal level if Thornton chose the “Poudre River Option”.





APRIL 25, 2018

     For Further Information Contact:
     Karen Wagner,  970-227-7437


Based on Thornton’s own admissions in today’s (4/25/18) Rocky Mountain Collegian article, the grassroots No Pipe Dream organization, Save the Poudre and the citizens of Larimer County call on the Larimer County Planning Department to inform the City of Thornton that its 1041 application is premature and should be withdrawn, until all present and future impacts of the city’s water transfers on land uses in Larimer County can be satisfactorily demonstrated.

In the Collegian article, Thornton officials admit that multiple pipelines could be needed in Larimer County in the future; Thornton’s current 1041 application is limited to a single pipeline.  Additionally the city stated that it was currently uncertain as to when the Denver suburb will need to deliver more water from the Cache la Poudre River in Larimer County.  Both statements are at odds with Thornton’s most recent contentions that a single 48” pipeline will be sufficient to meet the city’s needs until 2065 and that the 3-phase project doesn’t include additional raw water or return flow pipelines.

No Pipe Dream, Save the Poudre and the citizens of Larimer County publicly call for the City of Thornton to withdraw its 1041 pipeline application for Phase 1 of the Thornton Northern Project, until such time that Thornton adequately lays out the full scope of the 3-phase project, provides a timeline and project description for Phase 2 and Phase 3, and discloses all present and future impacts to land uses in Larimer County as is required by the land use code.   

If Thornton declines to withdraw its current, Phase 1 application, we ask the Larimer County Planning Department, in consultation with the Larimer County Commissioners, to once again cancel the upcoming hearings based on a 1041 application that is premature, piecemeal, incomplete and fails to comply with the requirements of the land use code.

As residents of Larimer County, we believe it would be a dereliction of duty for the Larimer County Planning Commission and the County Commissioners to consider or approve the current 1041 application without full disclosure of all present and future land use impacts of Thornton’s water transfers and the Northern Water Project .  If Thornton cannot evaluate all present and future impacts at this time, the City should withdraw its application and reapply when all of those impacts can be substantiated.

                                                     # # #

Submitted by Karen Wagner (

on behalf of the No Pipe Dream Steering Committee
for Save The Poudre

Colorado Water Plan Prepares To Drain Front Range Rivers?

For Immediate Release
April 23, 2018
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado/Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310

Colorado Water Plan Prepares To Drain Northern Front Range Rivers?

CWCB Proposed “Regional Water Development Projects”

Front Range, CO: Today, Save The Colorado is sounding a statewide alarm about an apparent effort by the Colorado Water Conservation Board to launch a large-scale “Water Development” strategy to identify to new dam and diversion projects on Front Range rivers. The CWCB sent out an email at 1:59pm on Friday April 20, 2018, announcing “workshops” aimed at “Water providers and stakeholders in the South Platte River basin interested in a regional water management and storage project.” The email, with flyer (posted here), goes on to say that the “South Platte/Metro Basin Implementation Plan” says the “projects will need to be developed.” The workshops, both in May, are scheduled at the state’s two biggest water agencies — Denver Water and the Northern Water.

The “implementation plans” were developed during the “Colorado Water Plan” process, with the South Platte/Metro Basin Roundtable being the center of extreme controversy around the state. The Roundtable and its Implementation Plan identified a spider’s web of dam and pipeline projects, diverting water from rivers all over the state and sending that water to the Denver/Northern Colorado metroplex. This new Front Range “Water Development” strategy seems to be the first salvo in the next wave of dam proposals.

“The Colorado Water Plan was extremely controversial and too heavily focused on draining and destroying rivers, not protecting and restoring them,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Colorado and Save The Poudre. “We will continue our vigilance as this process moves forward and we will fight to protect the rivers across the state.”


Did you see the Poudre River on TV Yesterday?

Hi Poudre River Lovers!

Did you see the Poudre River on TV Yesterday?

Channel 7 in Denver did a profile of Save The Poudre’s work to protect the Poudre River in northern Colorado. We told them the story point-blank: The Northern Integrated Supply Project would further drain and destroy the Poudre River, and it must be stopped!

Yesterday, we also sent you a fundraising email letting you know that it’s “Go Time” for our efforts to fight this massive river-draining dam project in court. It’s been 15 years, but 2018 will be the year where we need to raise as much money as possible to plan and carry out our legal work.

You’ve stayed with us for 15 years, and now it’s time to run through the tape to the finish line.

Can you please donate to Save The Poudre today?

Click here to donate online.

We are working hard! And we will work even harder with your support!

Thank you!
Gary Wockner
Director, Save The Poudre

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