Public Scoping Announced for Green River Pumpback

posted March 20, 2009
by Nathan Fey

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Green River, Wyoming - After much anticipation, the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) has announced the first set of public meetings on the controversial Regional Watershed Supply Project (RWSP)--also known as the Green River or Flaming Gorge Pumpback. The Project proposes to remove up to 250,000 acre-feet of water from the Green River at Flaming Gorge, sending it east through 500 miles of pipelines to Colorado's Front Range. The Project is proposed by Million Conservation Resource Group (MCRG), which is a private water development group based in Fort Collins, Colorado. The RWSP would be a non-Federal project constructed, owned, and operated by MCRG.

 

Construction of the Regional Watershed Supply Project is expected to require a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit provided by the US ACOE. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze the direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of the project in Wyoming and Colorado as part of the permitting process.

 

This April, the ACOE will be conducting public scoping meetings at six locations in both States to describe the Project, the NEPA process, and to solicit input on the issues and alternatives to be evaluated before approving the projects 404 permit. The ACOE has prepared a scoping announcement to familiarize agencies, the public and interested organizations regarding the proposed RWSP and potential environmental issues that may be involved.

 

 
Scoping meetings will be held on:
1. April 14, 2009, 6:30 to 9 p.m., Green River High School, 1615 Hitching Post Drive, Green River, WY.
2. April 15, 2009, 6:30 to 9 p.m., Uintah High School, 1880 West 500 North, Vernal, UT.
3. April 16, 2009, 6:30 to 9 p.m., Laramie High School, 1257 North 11th Street, Laramie, WY.
4. April 20, 2009, 6:30 to 9 p.m., Fossil Ridge High School, 5400 Ziegler Road, Fort Collins, CO.
5. April 21, 2009, 6:30 to 9 p.m., West High School, 951 Elati Street, Denver, CO.
6. April 22, 2009, 6:30 to 9 p.m., Risley Middle School, 625 N. Monument Ave., Pueblo, CO.

 

Written comments for scoping will be accepted until May 19, 2009.


The proponent of the project, MCRG, proposes the following configuration of the RWSP:

- two water withdrawal facilities, one on the east side of Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Wyoming and the other on the east bank of the Green River in Wyoming approximately 200 feet downstream of the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge;

- One water treatment storage reservoir located near the Green River intake system;

- water pipeline system (approximately 560 miles in length and a diameter of 72 to 120 inches) from the two withdrawal points to a) southeastern Wyoming and b) the Front Range of Colorado (Wyoming-Colorado State Line to Pueblo);

- one regulating reservoir located along the western end of the pipeline system;

- approximately sixteen natural gas powered pump stations located along the pipeline route;

- temporary (construction phase) and permanent (operation and maintenance phase) access roads;

- three water storage/flow regulation reservoirs, 

    1) Lake Hattie in Wyoming [available volume of approximately 40,000 acre feet];

    2) the proposed Cactus Hill Reservoir near Fort Collins, CO [185,000 acre-foot capacity];

    3) the proposed T-Cross Reservoir to be constructed near Pueblo, CO [25,000 acre-foot capacity]);

- outlet structures at each reservoir consisting of water treatment facilities;

- on-site transformers and overhead power lines from local electrical grids for the water withdrawal and storage reservoir facilities;

- water delivery systems from the storage reservoirs to water users.

 

As part of the EIS process, a full range of reasonable alternatives, including the Proposed Action and No Action, will be evaluated. Additional alternatives defined at this time by the applicant include four alternative withdrawal points that would involve withdrawal only from the Green River (two separate points) or Flaming Gorge Reservoir (two separate points). A different pipeline segment would connect each alternative withdrawal point to the mainstem pipeline route. Alternative storage reservoirs in the Front Range of Colorado also may be considered for the Project.

 

The potential water users for the proposed project would include agriculture, municipalities, and industries in southeastern Wyoming and
the Front Range of Colorado. In Wyoming, approximately 25,000 acrefeet of water would be delivered annually to users in the Platte River
Basin. The remaining 225,000 acre-feet of water would be delivered annually to the South Platte River and Arkansas River basins in Colorado.


The ACOE has invited the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be cooperating agencies in the preparation of the EIS. Other Federal and State agencies will participate in the EIS review process to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

 

Questions or comments regarding the proposed action and EIS should be addressed to:

 

Ms. Rena Brand, Project Manager

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Denver Regulatory Office

9307 S. Wadsworth Blvd.

Littleton, CO 80128–6901

(303) 979–4120
mcrg.eis@usace.army.mil.

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


Associated Rivers

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Green [CO]
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Documents

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