A few weeks ago, the Lost Fort Collins blog published a story about the conflict around a Greeley water pipeline that’s slated to trench through Fort Collins .
Greeley pulls water from the Poudre and the Colorado rivers upstream of Fort Collins, treats it in Bellvue (also upstream), and then pipes it underground, 30 miles downstream of Fort Collins. This will be its 3rd line from the facility.
But the route for this pipe threatens some of our local historic and natural resources, say Bellvue residents. Plus, it could impact water levels flowing through Fort Collins, which matters a lot to local people and animals who swim, tube, fish, bike, and picnic on the river.
The controversy has been in all the press, but there are a few things you likely missed:
Fort Collins City Council to hear about it
Councilmember David Roy is urging landowners on the affected historic properties to speak at the Tuesday (July 7, 6-6:30) Council meeting. This appears a good time to come tell City Council what you think. The pipeline is out of Council’s jurisdiction, I think, but they’re always good friends to have when managing relations with other towns.
What’s Greeley have to say for itself?
It says the pipeline is a great idea and not so bad. Read Greeley’s side of the story here: http://greeleygov.com/Water/pipeline.aspx.
What does the pipeline look like?
Although portions are still not approved, the pipeline has already made it to Robert Slate’s house east of town. He writes, “I just can not convey the frustration and aggravation that the pipeline experience caused me.” That’s because of damage to his neighborhood’s roads (financed and maintained by the homeowners) and damage to natural areas. He even says top soil was displaced and sold! See his web site at http://www.rslate.com/pipeline.
Where are the naked river people?
Save the Poudre and others are fighting hard to stop the Glade Reservoir from drowning our river. Several people have asked, “So why haven’t they said anything about Greeley’s new 5-foot-wide straw sucking it down?”
They have–sort of. They issued this press release a month ago. It’s not on their web site and wasn’t widely reported (In fact, I would have missed it completely if it weren’t for Troy Coverdale at KFKA 1310).
The short version of the press release says “We’re monitoring the situation.”
But I think what it really says is: “We’re not willing to piss off Greeley because it’s backing us on this Glade Reservoir thing. Let’s hope the Army Corp of Engineers does the right thing.”
Fort Collins, CO — Over the last several years, many residents of Larimer County have been concerned about Greeley’s new Bellvue Pipe and have contacted the Save The Poudre Coalition asking for information about the Pipe’s impacts on the Poudre River. In documents released to the Coalition this week, the City of Greeley detailed the impacts the Pipe would have on the Poudre. In summary, thousands of acre feet of water will be diverted into the Pipe upstream of their historical diversion point, and if the Seaman Reservoir project occurs, thousands of more acre feet of new Poudre water will be diverted into the Pipe. Thus, the Bellvue Pipe wil cause new depletions from the Poudre River.
The Save The Poudre Coalition also learned this week that because of the Pipe and other proposed new dams/reservoirs, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has launched a “cumulative effects study” of all of the projects and their negative impacts on the Poudre River including the NISP/Glade Reservoir project, the Halligan Reservoir project, the Seaman Reservoir project, and the Bellvue Pipe project.
“We are very concerned about the cumulative effects of all of these projects on the Poudre,” said Gary Wockner of the Save The Poudre Coalition. “Taken together, all of these projects are designed in part or in whole to drown, divert, dry up, or destroy the Poudre River. We applaud the Army Corps of Engineers for launching a cumulative effects study. We will follow the study closely.”
On June 4th, the Save The Poudre Coalition sent a letter to the Army Corps asking for more information about the Bellvue Pipe permitting process, and for more information about the cumulative effects study. Of specific concern are memos between the Army Corp and Greeley, in which the Army Corp has stated that it will not allow Greeley to divert “new water” into the Pipe until the cumulative effects study is completed, and has warned Greeley to build the Pipe “at your own risk” because Greeley might not get a permit from the Army Corps to divert new water into it. The Greeley Pipe is a $40 million project paid for by the citizens of Greeley.
“We support and thank the Army Corps of Engineers for not allowing new diversions into the Pipe to occur,” said Gary Wockner. “And we support the Corps’ efforts to make sure Greeley does not increasingly deplete the Poudre before the cumulative effects study is completed. We also thank Greeley for providing information to the Coalition and for working with us to study the Pipe’s impacts.”
The Save The Poudre Coalition has taken a very strong stance against the NISP/Glade Reservoir project, and has proposed a Healthy Rivers Alternative to the project that will allow NISP participants to get more water without destroying the Poudre River. The Coalition has not yet taken a position on the Halligan, Seaman, and Bellvue Pipe projects, but is monitoring the projects closely.
“The public needs to know that the Poudre River is at ground zero for a tidal wave of destructive water projects,” said Wockner. “The Save The Poudre Coalition is monitoring all of the projects very closely. Our goal is to try and work with all of the parties involved for the best possible outcome that protects this beautiful river for future generations.