Comments needed on Draft EIS for Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP)
The US Army Corps of Engineers has released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) and is preparing to issue a permit, under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, to dredge and fill lower segments of Colorado's only Wild and Scenic River, the Cache la Poudre. The Denver Regulatory Office of the Corps has released electronic copies of the Draft EIS for public review and comment.
The Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District (NCWCD) has requested authorization from the US Army Corps of Engineers to excavate and place fill material into the Poudre River, South Platte River, Owl Creek, and various wetlands in connection with the construction of two new reservoirs, Glade Reservoir and Galeton Reservoir. The purpose of the Proposed Action is to provide 16 local municipalities with 40,000 acre-feet of new reliable water supply from the Poudre River, through a regional water delivery project coordinated by the District.
The Army Corps permit will allow the District to construct a new dam for Glade Reservoir through a valley northwest of Laporte, CO, allowing for storage of 170,000 acre-feet of water. The reservoir will innundate about seven miles of US highway 287, which would be rerouted to the east. In addition, the existing Poudre Valley diversion and canal will be rehabilitated and improved to transport water from the Cache la Poudre River to Glade Reservoir. Glade Reservoir would be filled with a new water right as well as agricultural water normally diverted for irrigation at point further down the Poudre river.
Under the Proposed Action, the District also intends to construct the South Platte Water Conservation Project (SPWCP), which includes the proposed Galeton Dam and 40,000 acre-foot Galeton reservoir. Construction of the SPWCP includes a new diversion on the South Platte River, and a system of pumps and pipelines to deliver water from the river into Galeton Reservoir.
If NISP/Glade Reservoir were to remove the projected average of 40,000 acre feet per year from the river, it is estimated that peak flows that are necessary to maintain the health of the river would be lost. These peak flows clean accumulated sediment and algae from the river’s bed and support a healthy, vibrant riparian community. USGS has calculated that flows to flush the Poudre River through Fort Collins must peak above 2,000 cfs. The river has been altered from a situation where flushing flows historically occurred 15 out of 20 years to the current situation where flushing flows happen about 10 out of every 20 years. If Glade is constructed, flushing flows at or above 2,000 cfs will be rare, occurring only about 5 years out of 20, essentially eliminating quality recreation along the river.
The decision to issue the permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, incuding cummulative impacts of the Proposed Action on the public interest. To make this decision, public input is used to assess impacts on endangered species, aesthetics, recreation, conservation, and fish and wildlife values to name a few.
American Whitewater encourages all paddlers to provide comments on the Proposed Action.
Oral and/or written comments may be presented at either of the public hearings:
Tuesday June, 17th, 2008
Fort Collins Senior Center
1200 Raintree Drive, Fort Collins
4:00 pm - Open House
6:00 pm Hearings called to order
Thursday June, 19th 2008
University of Northern Colorado - University Center
2045 10th Ave, Greeley
6:00 pm - Open House
7:00pm Hearings called to order
For more information, or to submit written comments:
Mr. Chandler Peter
US Army Coprs of Engineers
Denver Regulatory Office
9307 South Wadsworth Blvd.
Littleton, CO 80128-6901
Fax: (303) 979-0602
Colorado SWSI (CO)
Colorado's Statewide Water Supply Initiative may very well determine the fate of Colorado's whitewater rivers by dictating how much water can be removed from rivers to serve a growing population.