The Colorado Farm Bureau counters the claim from ‘Save the Poudre’ that the Northern Integrated Supply Project will harm agriculture

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Here’s a release from the Colorado Farm Bureau:

Statement by Don Shawcroft, President, Colorado Farm Bureau, Regarding Save the Poudre: Poudre Waterkeepers ‘Farm Facts’ Report

Alamosa rancher and Colorado Farm Bureau President Don Shawcroft had strong words for Save the Poudre: Poudre Waterkeepers upon reading their ‘report’ on the impact of NISP on northern Colorado agriculture.

“The so-called report is nothing but propaganda, spread by Save the Poudre in a vain attempt to derail the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP). Save the Poudre does not speak for Colorado agriculture, an industry forthright and vocal in its support for NISP. Their attempts to divide the ag industry are tiresome. They speak only for themselves and their attempts to stall a project supported by large majorities of northern Colorado citizens.

The NISP project is a crucial step in reducing the pressure from development on irrigated agriculture in Northern Colorado. Opponents of NISP would have us do nothing in the face of increasing water needs along the northern Front Range. Whether the Save the Poudre crowd likes it or not, more people are moving into the region served by the NISP participants. The project is a proactive, environmentally sound step to manage the growth along the Front Range and it will insure that irrigated farmers along the South Platte Basin will have access to their water for years to come.

Colorado farmers and ranchers support the NISP project. Unlike the Poudre Waterkeepers, food producers in Colorado have been managing our states water resources for hundreds of years. If we support the development of a water project, you can bet it will help keep irrigated farmers on the land. The public knows this. Lawmakers know this. So does Gary Wockner and the rest of the Waterkeepers. They just won’t tell you that.”

More coverage from Bill Jackson writing for The Greeley Tribune. From the article:

“There’s nothing new in the filing. We can tear each one of their claims apart. Where’s the science come from?” Brian Werner said Monday. He’s the spokesman for the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, which filed a detailed EIS report with the Corps more than five years ago. The Corps, in 2008, asked for additional comment, and Werner said it is hoped the final EIS will be released later this year or early next.

In its filing, the Fort Collins group said if NISP is built, it would harm about 123,000 acres of agricultural land, or about one-sixth of all the irrigated land in northern Colorado. In addition, the group claims the project would accelerate the buy-up of farms for subdivision development, would accelerate salinization of productive croplands, would end most “free river” diversion opportunities and impact existing water users, and would submerge and divide productive agricultural land. It also says the initial filling of the two reservoirs and ongoing diversions into the two would likely come from northern Colorado and Western Slope farm water.

“There has not been, to our knowledge, one farm organization that has come out in opposition to the project. In fact, most of them are in favor of it. This latest filing is nothing but garbage. It’s not based in reality. We can easily refute anything they have said,” Werner said.

[ed. I’ll be on radio AM 1310 in Greeley Thursday afternoon discussing surface water and Colorado’s water supply gap sometime after 3:00 p.m.]

More Northern Integrated Supply Project coverage here and here.

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