Southern Delivery System: Colorado Springs Utilities briefs CDOW about potential fish and wildlife impacts

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The draft plan was presented Thursday at a Colorado Wildlife Commission workshop. It includes aquatic wildlife research and monitoring throughout the life of SDS and working with the Division of Wildlife to improve habitat and expand fish stocking operations during the second phase of SDS, when reservoirs in El Paso County would be created. The plan also incorporates mitigation measures that have been included as conditions for other permits that would benefit wildlife.

Colorado Springs has been in discussions with Division of Wildlife staff for years in developing its fish and wildlife mitigation plan, said Tim Monahan, attorney for the state agency. In the past year, the details of the plan have been worked out and were presented to the public for the first time. During the next month, the plan will be finalized, and the public will have the opportunity to comment on it in the next month, Monahan said. Colorado Springs is asking the Colorado Wildlife Commission to approve the plan at its March meeting. The plan would then be referred to the Colorado Water Conservation Board and Gov. Bill Ritter for final approval, Monahan said…

The most important parts of the mitigation, in the state’s view, would be the impacts on the fishery at Lake Pueblo once Colorado Springs begins storing water in its proposed Upper Williams Creek reservoir, said Greg Gerlich, aquatic section manager for the DOW. “We spent a considerable amount of time looking at the littoral zone, the shallow water in Lake Pueblo,” Gerlich said. “Also the Upper Williams Creek reservoir would be highly productive as it comes on line.”[…]

A few examples:

– Wetlands are minimally affected because the original terminal site at Jimmy Camp Creek was scrapped in favor of Upper Williams Creek.
– Construction will be broken into segments that allow for wildlife corridors.
– A new district on Fountain Creek would get $50 million in funding from Colorado Springs, which could be used to improve habitat.
– Work at Clear Springs Ranch, south of Fountain, will create wetlands and improve river health.

In addition, there would be fishing and recreation activities at the Upper Williams Creek reservoir. Colorado Springs Utilities plans to post the draft plan on its SDS Web site today.

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.

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