We love a good reservoir spilling photo here at Coyote Gulch. Here’s a picture of Long Draw Reservoir spilling in 2010. Click on the thumbnail graphic to the right for a larger view.
From the editorial staff of the Northern Colorado Business Report:
The final public dialogue portion of the program will be held in two sessions in Fort Collins: Monday, April 11, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Timberline Church on South Timberline Road, and Saturday, April 16, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at The Drake Center on West Drake Road. These sessions, facilitated by CSU’s Center for Public Deliberation, will be where we all can discuss alternatives for Northern Colorado’s water future.
To prepare for the public deliberation and to see recordings from previous sessions of The Poudre Runs Through It, go online to www.univercityconnections.org/.
More Poudre River watershed coverage here.
From the Northern Colorado Business Report:
Mary Lou Smith, a policy and collaboration specialist with the Water Institute, said the main message of the forum was to get people with diverse opinions about the region’s water future talking together. “The message was it’s important for us to look at the various values we bring to the table when we look at the future of the water supply in this area,” she said. “We said how can we work together? That really set the tone.”[…]
Smith said the purpose of the forum was not to push any particular agenda as to how the region’s future water needs should be met. One ongoing controversial water issue in the region is whether Glade Reservoir – a proposed new storage project- should be built just outside Poudre Canyon. Smith said Glade may or may not be part of the solution. “There’s a whole portfolio of solutions, including storage,” she said. “This isn’t about building Glade – it’s much broader than that. It’s about realizing there are trade-offs and helping the public better understand how water law works and forming educated opinions.”
Three more educational sessions are set to continue the discussion on Feb. 24, March 10 and March 24. All three will be held in the Larimer Courthouse, 200 W. Oak St., from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):
More than 300 people turned out Thursday night at the Larimer County office building in Old Town to consider the best ways to keep the various future needs of Poudre River water from being fodder for a fight as part of a UniverCity Connections-sponsored series of public forums called “The Poudre Runs Through It: Northern Colorado’s Water Future.”
Author Laura Pritchett suggested people find “the radical center,” the place where those with sometimes drastically different ideas about the river can meet to civilly discuss their views and find solutions to the region’s water needs without fighting. The radical center, she said, should be that middle ground where people discover there isn’t just one solution for the water – either store it in Glade Reservoir or not at all. Those in the radical center, she said, seek to find a “portfolio” of solutions…
The fundamental threat to the Poudre River is urban growth, said Reagan Waskom, director of the Colorado Water Institute at Colorado State University. “Much of the future water demand will be right here in the Front Range corridor,” he said. “We haven’t as a society decided if we want to control that growth yet.”[…]
Lynn Hall of Fort Collins said her biggest fear is losing the wildlife habitat along the Poudre River through the city. “To have a natural river with as much wildlife habitat as it has a few blocks from downtown is really a miracle,” she said. “We need to be really clear to figure out how we can make this accessible to humans, but not as an urban construction.”
The second part of the series of forums will be three education sessions scheduled for Feb. 24, March 10 and March 24 at the Larimer County office building, 200 W. Oak St. Those will be followed by two public dialogue sessions on April 11 and 16.
More coverage from the Rocky Mountain Collegian (Vashti Batjargal):
The public forum served as a place for residents to discuss the value the Poudre River holds and how water should be allocated to each of the region’s competing needs. “We have a fixed resource and it’s all about trade-off,” said Reagan Waskom, director of the Colorado Water Institute. “In everything we choose, we also choose not.”[…]
George Reed, owner of 62 acres of land 10 miles north of Fort Collins, said he’d like a reservoir. “We could learn a lesson from the squirrels: You have to put some water away,” Reed said. “I’ve never seen a reservoir I didn’t like.”[…]
The forum was designed to get community input for decisions on water distribution and conservation for growth and agricultural needs. CSU associate professor of history Mark Fiege said the decisions the community will ultimately make concerning water distribution will have an effect on future generations. “It will impose a burden and responsibility that we cannot fully predict,” he said.
More coverage from Bill Jackson writing for The Greeley Tribune. From the article:
The initial session turnout surprised organizers, but only a small percentage of the crowd offered public comment. Organizers, including UniverCity Connections, Colorado State University and the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, collected comments from the crowd as they left. Those comments will be compiled and used at educational sessions later this year. MaryLou Smith, a policy and collaboration specialist with the CSU Colorado Water Institute, said the sessions were conceived as a city of Fort Collins event, but she realized, from the turnout, that other communities along the 126-mile stretch of the river should also be included.
Reagan Waskom, director of the water institute at CSU, said the Poudre River, as well as others in northern Colorado, face serious demands in the future. Much of those demands will come from expected growth along the Front Range. To meet those demands, he said, an additional 500,000 to 800,000 acre feet of water a year will be needed; an acre-foot of water is considered enough to supply two families with a year’s supply of water. The annual flow of the Poudre is about 275,000 acre feet…
Tom Moore is a local farmer and business owner who said cities in the area are willing to pay $10,000 an acre-foot for water. “It’s hard to put an agricultural value of one-third that,” he said, adding it is the quality of water in the region that draw people and businesses.
From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Kevin Duggan):
Fort Collins-based Water Supply & Storage Co. plans to appeal a U.S. Forest Service decision released Sept. 3 that would make it fully responsible for implementing a 15-year plan to restore the greenback cutthroat trout in the reservoir and surrounding streams. The mitigation program’s cost could be considerably higher than the approximately $800,000 projected by the Forest Service in an environmental impact statement, said Dennis Harmon, general manager of the irrigation company. But even that figure would be more than the company should have to pay in order to keep its permit to operate the reservoir, which was built in 1929 and expanded in 1974. “We just think this is way out of line for something that is already permitted,” he said. “We haven’t changed how this facility operates since the ’70s. “We think this mitigation is more appropriate for a new reservoir in the wilderness than on 53 acres of existing reservoir.”[…]
An effort to renew a Forest Service permit for the expanded portion of the reservoir turned into a decade-long fight when Colorado Trout Unlimited sued in 1994 over a plan that would keep La Poudre Pass Creek dry during the winter. In 2004, a U.S. District Court threw out the permit, forcing the Forest Service to start the permitting process over and to come up with a plan that would protect trout habitat. The revised environmental study came up with a plan for restoring the greenback cutthroat trout to more than 40 miles of streams in and around Rocky Mountain National Park. The plan called for eliminating invasive fish species and building barriers to keep them from getting re-established in the Poudre headwaters. Trout Unlimited worked with Water Supply & Storage and other entities, including the Colorado Division of Wildlife, to come up with a way to fund the mitigation program, which would be the largest native trout restoration project in state history.
But the decision by Glenn Casamassa, supervisor of the Arapaho and Roosevelt national forests, puts the responsibility for funding the restoration program on Water Supply & Storage because it holds the permit for the reservoir…
The National Park Service is expected to release its record of decision on the project within the coming weeks, said Larry Gamble, chief of planning and compliance for Rocky Mountain National Park. The decision will mirror the directions laid out by the Forest Service, he said.
More Cache la Poudre River watershed coverage here.
From The Greeley Tribune (Bill Jackson):
The decision gives the Water Supply and Storage Co. a 30-year easement for operations at Long Draw Reservoir, near the top of the Poudre Canyon. It requires the company to participate with the U.S. Forest and Park Services in the restoration of native trout populations and the installation of an early warning system to provide around-the-clock monitoring at the dam at the reservoir…
The decision signed Thursday, according to a news release from the U.S. Forest Service, includes a description of the background of the project that includes the Environmental Impact Statement. It will be posted online at www.fs.usda.gov/arp.
From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):
Sitting between [Rocky Mountain National Park] and the [Roosevelt] national forest, Long Draw Reservoir, built in 1929 and enlarged in 1974, was up for a land-use permit renewal from the Forest Service in the early 1990s. After the agency issued the permit in 1994, Colorado Trout Unlimited sued because it included a plan that would keep La Poudre Pass Creek below the reservoir dry during the winter, damaging trout habitat. A decade later, a court sided with Trout Unlimited and threw out the permit, forcing the Forest Service to start the permitting process over again and to come up with a plan that would protect trout habitat.
Long Draw Reservoir, which sits below the Continental Divide on the northwest boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park, stores spring runoff and releases it during the summer and fall. The dam does not operate in the winter, drying up the stream below it. Forest Service officials said during a public involvement phase of planning for the project in 2008 that releasing water from the reservoir into La Poudre Pass Creek during the winter would be dangerous for workers having to operate the icy dam in the winter and might cause the dam to fail.
The new plan requires a compromise: Keep La Poudre Pass Creek dry during the winter, but restore more than 43 miles of trout habitat in the Poudre River Watershed, mostly in Rocky Mountain National Park. “It’s something scientists have been pushing for, for a long time,” said David Nickum, director of Colorado Trout Unlimited. “The chance to try to put that science in action and do what would be the largest native cutthroat trout restoration project ever in Colorado – we’re excited about that prospect.”
The restoration project, he said, would take more than a decade and requires poisoning existing brook trout fisheries and restocking them with cutthroats. Instead of restoring La Poudre Pass Creek, which has no trout habitat, “we’ll do something different with greater biological benefit,” Nickum said…
Rocky Mountain National Park is allowing public comment on the proposal through Dec. 31, with a decision expected to follow in early 2010.
More Long Draw Reservoir coverage here