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Comments Due on Proposed Poudre River Reservoir Project - Colorado

Posted: 08/28/2015
by Nathan Fey



The Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) is a proposed large-scale dam and reservoir project, which threatens the ecology and recreational opportunities of the Cache la Poudre River in LaPorte, Fort Collins and Greeley, CO. The project would divert approximately 35% of Poudre water as it currently flows through the City of Fort Collins, on top of the 60% of water that is already diverted annually. The Poudre as it runs through and between these cities is a National Heritage Area and is the lifeblood of these Northern Colorado communities.



The City of Fort Collins recently green lighted a river restoration and enhancement project that will bring numerous recreation benefits to the City, including a long sought after whitewater park. NISP seriously threatens what’s left of the rivers flood regime, negatively impacting recreation opportunities and the riparian areas that rely on these spring surges in flow.



The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the NISP Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) in June and at the end of July held public hearings in Greeley and Fort Collins. These sessions were well attended, by both proponents of the project and those in opposition. Verbal comments were put into the public record on these nights but the Corps will be accepting written comments until September 3, 2015. We're urging all local AW friends and members to submit comments which the Corps will consider substantive, as all comments meeting these criteria will be responded to in the Final EIS. Comments are considered substantive if they:


·      Question, with reasonable basis, the accuracy of the information in the document
·      Question, with reasonable basis, the adequacy of the environmental analysis
·      Present reasonable alternatives other than those evaluated for or presented in the DEIS or SDEIS
·      Cause changes or revisions in the alternatives
·      Provide new or additional information relevant to the analysis


Talking points:



·      According to a 2011 study by Dr. John Loomis, Professor, Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University, the potential annual economic impact of the soon to built Fort Collins Whitewater Park could be as high as $745,337. The SDEIS fails to adequately address the economic impacts and potential mitigation for the negative impacts NISP would have on the Whitewater Park.
·      The SDEIS does not adequately address the negative impact reductions in flow will have on recreational paddling opportunities. There was no scientific study conducted to determine true minimum and optimum flows for boating and a completely unreferenced 150 cfs minimum flow is used throughout the report. The assumptions made in the SDEIS surrounding recreation opportunities are not backed up scientifically, therefore the existing conditions and changes to those conditions are flawed from the outset.
·      The loss of potential future recreation resources is not addressed in the SDEIS. With the building of the Whitewater Park and completion of the river restoration project in Fort Collins, future benefits and greater user numbers are certain exist, however the NISP projects impacts to these future conditions are not addressed in any form.

·      The SDEIS fails to adequately address the negative environmental impacts the reduction in peak flows will have on the river environment. Without these spring peak flows the river loses its ability to re-charge wetland and riparian areas, clear the channel of algae blooms and bring sediment and nutrients critical to fish and other aquatic species habitat. Though water quality impacts are addressed, the document fails to fully realize the negative impacts rises in water temperature and nutrient loss could potentially have on fish species and plant species native to the river.

To read the recreational component of the SDEIS go here Mitigation and Socioeconomic Impacts



To read the entire SDEIS and other relevant documents please go to http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Missions/RegulatoryProgram/Colorado/EISNISP.aspx



All comments must be submitted by September 3 in writing to:

John Urbanic, NISP EIS Project Managerʉ۬

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha Districtʉ۬Denver Regulatory Officeʉ۬

9307 S. Wadsworth Blvd.ʉ۬

Littleton, CO  80128 â€¨

 

E-mail: nisp.eis@usace.army.mil


 


 

Colorado Stewardship Director
Nathan Fey
1601 Longs Peak Ave.
Longmont, CO 80501
Phone: 303-859-8601