Denver Water: Public hearing in Summit County for proposed Moffat Collection System Project

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Update:

Here’s the release from Denver Water. There are four meetings starting Tuesday in Boulder:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold four Public Hearings on the Draft EIS. At each location, Denver Water will hold an Open House from 4 to 6 p.m. The Public Hearings begin at 6 p.m.:

Tues., Dec. 1 — Boulder Country Club, 7350 Clubhouse Road, Boulder, CO 80301
Wed., Dec. 2 — Inn at Silver Creek, 62927 U.S. Highway 40, Granby, CO 80446
Thurs., Dec. 3 — Doubletree Hotel, 3203 Quebec Street, Denver, CO 80207
Tues., Dec. 8 — Keystone Conference Center, 0633 Tennis Club Road, Keystone, CO 80435

From the Summit Daily News (Bob Berwyn):

As described in a draft environmental study, the Moffat Collection System project in Grand County would also have impacts on flows on the Blue River. Flows in the Blue River at its confluence with the Colorado River could be cut by as much as 4,800 acre feet annually, about 2 percent of the river’s flow, according to figures released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the draft study. Denver Water project manager Travis Bray said those figures apply when at full build-out of Denver Water’s existing system, and with the Moffat Tunnel on-line. Under the new configuration of diversions that would result from the Moffat Tunnel project, Denver Water would take between 4,000 and 5,000 acre feet of additional water from Dillon Reservoir each year. Bray said the draft study shows there would only be a negligible long-term impact to boating and no impact to fisheries in the Blue River…

Although 2 percent doesn’t sound like much, peak flows are important for the river’s ecosystem, said Becky Long, water caucus organizer with the Colorado Environmental Coalition. “If the project goes forward, the Blue River would see reduced flows in the summer months during wet and average years,” she said. The peak flows in wet years help flush sediment out of the river, create new habitat and support rafting and kayaking, she said.

The main focus of the project is on increased diversions from the Fraser River, but conservation groups are concerned about overall effects on the entire Upper Colorado ecosystem. They advocated for the Summit County hearing when the draft study was released a few weeks ago. Long said the Corps was responding to requests from Summit County residents by scheduling the local hearing…

Conservation groups have identified several broad environmental goals that should be included in the project’s mitigation plan, including:

— Adequate baseline flows in the Fraser throughout the year to sustain fisheries and recreation.

— Sustained peak flows at key times of the year to mimic a natural flow regime and ensure the health and resilience of the river.

— Aggressive urban water conservation and efficiency measures to save more water, such as incentives for homeowners to replace Kentucky bluegrass with drought-tolerant landscaping. More than half of residential water use goes to watering lawns.

— Ongoing monitoring of the river’s health and a mitigation plan with the flexibility to adapt to changing conditions…

A summary of the draft environmental impact statement is online at: https://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/html/od-tl/eis/moffat.deis.vol1.exec-summary.pdf (pdf)

Here’s the public meeting information:

What: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hearing
When: December 8 —Open House: 4 p.m.; public hearing begins at 6 p.m.
Where: Keystone Conference Center (0633 Tennis Club Road, Keystone)

More Denver Water coverage here.

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