IBCC strategy report

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Here’s an look at how the sides are lining up with respect to the strategy report from the Interbasin Compack Committee presented to Governor Ritter and Governor-elect Hickenlooper, from Bobby Magill writing for the Fort Collins Coloradoan. From the article:

The report says water suppliers and interests from across the state need to work together to get that done. But Fort Collins-based Save the Poudre is opposing those efforts, saying the IBCC doesn’t represent environmental interests and its policies harm the Poudre River.

Save the Poudre Executive Director Gary Wockner said in a statement that if the IBCC were to include more environmental groups, harm to the Poudre from new water projects might be averted. The group opposes the Halligan and Seaman reservoir expansion proposals, the Windy Gap Firming Project and the Northern Integrated Supply Project, or NISP. An environmental review of each project is expected to be released in 2011. “The Poudre River is at ‘ground zero’ for river destruction in the southwest U.S.,” Wockner said, adding that the IBCC doesn’t represent diverse interests in Colorado because it doesn’t include any members of the groups that form the Save the Poudre Coalition…

Several South Platte Roundtable members represent environmental interests, including Bob Streeter, who is retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and was nominated to the board by Trout Unlimited. Streeter said roundtable and IBCC meetings are open and transparent to the public and have involved members of the Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited and the Audubon Society. “I don’t recall ever seeing any representative from the Save the Poudre organization itself in Fort Collins, though they’re welcome to attend (the roundtable meetings),” Streeter said…

But some of those water projects aren’t likely to do the damage to the Poudre River that Wockner fears, Streeter said. “I don’t think Halligan-Seaman is a Poudre-killing project,” he said, adding that he wants to withhold judgment on NISP, which proposes to construct Glade Reservoir north of Fort Collins, until all the facts on its potential impacts are in.

Update: Here’s a response to Mr. Magill’s article from Gary Wockner at Save The Poudre.

Hi Bobby,

Thank you again for covering these important environmental articles in the Coloradoan. It is great that you are reporting on these stories, and it is wonderful that the Coloradoan prioritizes environmental stories in the newspaper.

Today’s article about water is a complicated issue and it’s a hard story to fit into an easy-to-tell framework…Thank you for taking a shot at covering it.

I’d like to offer a few suggestions for improvements:

1. Your sentence that states, “But Fort Collins-based Save the Poudre is opposing those efforts…” is not accurate. Please note that in the letter to the Governors, we thank the IBCC for their work, we say they made a good start at a very difficult topic, and we strongly suggest “improvements” to the product and process. We do not “oppose” the IBCC or the South Platte Roundtable’s work. We do believe, however, that they desperately need more environmental input — if they do not get more environmental input, it may represent a fatal flaw in their work.

2. Your next sentence says, “The group opposes Halligan and Seaman reservoir expansion proposals, Windy Gap Firming Project and the Northern Integrated Supply Project….” Please note that in the letter to the Governors and in the press release, we do not say we oppose these projects. Officially, our organization only opposes NISP. We have not taken an official position for or against Halligan, Seaman, or WGFP yet. We are awaiting the EIS releases before we do that on those three projects. Our official position on Halligan and Seaman is here:
http://poudreriver.home.comcast.net/~poudreriver/STP_Alternatives_to_Halligan-Seaman_7-18-2010.pdf (I believe I gave this document to you when I visited with your editorial board last year). We have not issued a formal position on WGFP yet, but we did insert very serious concerns into the public comment period for the DEIS.

3. Your article states, “Several South Platte Roundtable members
represent environmental interests…” My understanding is that there
are only two — Bob Streeter representing TU, and and Greg Kernohan
representing Ducks Unlimited (DU). They are both excellent men doing excellent work. Ducks Unlimited, officially, is a “recreational”
representative on the Roundtable (not “environmental”), but since they
do such excellent environmental work, I prefer to call them environmentalists. Officially, there is only one “environmental” representative on the Rountable. The list of people on the Roundtable is here on the CWCB’s website: http://cwcbweblink.state.co.us/weblink/0/doc/126395/Page1.aspx?searchid=aacce0cc-a3ef-4b7b-85bd-fa08f748588f

4. Bob Streeter’s statement about not recollecting seeing reps from STP at the Roundtable is not accurate. We are a part of a big coalition, and we have had coalition partners attend several South Platte Roundtable meetings and report back to us. In addition, our Board and staff have attended his Roundtable meetings a few times.

5. Your sentence that starts, “While the IBCC suggests….” is not

a. We quite adamantly do support water conservation.
b. We absolutely do not say that “instead” of focusing on water conservation, the state should control population growth.
c. We do not say anything about “controlling” population growth.

We say “managing” population growth. “Managing” is different than “controlling.” The IBCC report mentions managing population growth and land-use planning several times — we agree, and we want to support that direction of thinking and see more of it in their future work.

6. Bob Streeter says that he doesn’t think Halligan-Seaman is a
Poudre-killing project. We are awaiting to see the EIS before we make
any such statement. The science that came out of the Halligan-Seaman SVP process that we participated in suggested that the projects would have profound negative impacts on the North Fork of the Poudre, and have some negative impacts on the mainstem of the Poudre River through Fort Collins. A list of those impacts is here in our letter to the CWCB (which provided the grant for Shared Vision Planning): http://poudreriver.home.comcast.net/~poudreriver/STP_letter_to_CWCB_SVP_7-18-2010.pdf

7. Finally, Brian Werner’s statement is accurate — the bill was passed 5 years ago under a different Governor and a different legislature. However, at that time, environmentalists did voice opinions about having more environmental representation into the committees, but our environmental community’s opinions were not adopted into the law.

Thank you again for taking a shot at this complex story. I am
continually striving to improve the way that I communicate with public
officials, agencies, and the press, and I think that this story shows
that I need to work harder to do that. I should have called you and
talked this over. Feel free to call me anytime.


p.s. Because this Coloradoan story contains some inaccurate statements saying we “oppose” projects and processes that we do not, I also have to forward this email to specific representatives at the EPA, the Army Corps, the Bureau of Rec, the cities of Fort Collins and Greeley, and the IBCC leaders at the State (I will Cc you on that email). We are involved in some official and legal processes with these regulatory agencies, and with these EIS applicants, and we have to make sure that our positions are conveyed accurately.

More IBCC — basin roundtables coverage here and here.

Snowpack news

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Colorado’s map is all blues and greens this morning. Compare that with the map for last Wednesday. Thank you Pineapple Express.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Matt Hildner):

The snows, which started over the weekend, continued to pound the high country, dropping 12 inches of new snow at Wolf Creek Ski Area by midafternoon. So far, this storm system has dropped 82 inches of snow on the ski area…

The snow also has been a welcome site for irrigators and water managers to the east in the San Luis Valley, boosting snowpack above the valley’s two major river systems. “The Rio Grande and the Conejos, they’re looking good right now,” said Craig Cotten, the division engineer for the valley. That’s a change from just a week ago when the snowpack in the upper Rio Grande was at 71 percent of average. Wednesday that figure was at 105 percent, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.