Boulder: The Environmental Group and the Greater Gross Dam Citizens Coalition are hosting an informational Rally and ‘Afternoon on the River’ today to protest the Moffat Collection System Project

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Here’s the release from The Environmental Group and the Greater Gross Dam Citizens Coalition:

The World’s Largest Kayak Drum Circle, Citizen Rally and Public Meeting before the Boulder County Commissioners to Stop The Expansion of Gross Dam, Monday, September 12, 2011, 2:30-7:30pm.

The Environmental Group and the Greater Gross Dam Citizens Coalition are hosting an informational Rally and “Afternoon on the River” on the Boulder County Courthouse lawn. Join us for the World’s Largest Kayak Drum Circle where boaters and River Lovers alike are invited to participate. Bring Boats, bailing buckets, musical instruments or whatever else you want to bang on. We can Save Our Rivers, but we have to make some noise! Bring your boat, and bang it like a bongo! Wear Blue and dress for the River.

The Rally and Kayak Drum Circle begin at 2:30. The Public meeting with the Boulder County Commissioners begins at 4:30 pm.

The Boulder County Commissioners are determining their stance on the expansion of Gross Dam and after a barrage of citizen letters, have invited citizens to share their thoughts. Gross Dam is located wholly within Boulder County, but will take water from the Fraser and Colorado Rivers, pump it through the Continental Divide, and feed it to urban sprawl and golf courses along the front range. Specifically, much of the water from the Gross Dam expansion will be fed to the new Candelas Development along the HWY 93 corridor in between Boulder and Golden, and just south of Rocky Flats. Join us to Save Boulder County & Stop Gross Dam!

The Fraser River has already been declared an endangered River by national nonprofit American Rivers and because of too much diversion, the Colorado River no longer reaches its Delta at the Sea of Cortez. The expansion of Gross Dam means even more water will be taken out of these rivers pushing them definitively to the brink.

Colorado is a Local Rule State, which means land use decisions and planning are made at the local level. Our State Legislators tell us they have no authority at this time to create a statewide water allocation strategy or to stop water diversions and dam projects, even when river ecosystems are on the brink of collapse. That’s why it is so essential that we ask Boulder County to utilize its 1041 Local Rule Powers (just like Eagle County did) to stop this dam – because no one else can or will!

These events are centered around the public asking the Boulder County Commissioners to use their 1041 local rule powers to Stop Gross Dam, to save our Rivers and natural ecosystems, to save Boulder and to save our mountain communities. We are also asking Boulder County to use its 1041 or other powers to Stop Gross Dam in order to create a statewide discussion about our water use and allocation policies and strategies to protect river ecosystems, recreational activities and river-related economies. Until now, developers and water extractors have controlled water policy in the state. That’s about to change!

There are two pieces to the day’s events. First, The Environmental Group and the Greater Gross Dam Citizens Coalition will host a Rally, The World’s Largest Kayak Drum Circle and Workshop on the Courthouse Lawn at 1325 Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado. This will include:

– Live Music and the World’s Largest Kayak Drum Circle. Bring your boat – and bang it like a bongo! Citizens are invited to bring their boats, inner tubes, paddles, bailing buckets and other musical instruments. Wear blue and dress for an afternoon of music on the River on the Boulder County Courthouse lawn. We can save our Rivers, but we gotta make some noise!
– Information about the issues of Gross Dam, what Boulder County can do to stop it, and water use issues in Colorado will be provided.
– Workshop and talking points to assist citizens in writing their public statement for the evening’s Public Meeting with the Boulder County Commissioners.
Billboard Slogan Contest.
– Kid friendly events including art stations to create pictures about rivers.
– Bring signs, slogans and river gear. Families welcome!
– Boats can be dropped off from 12:00 noon on.
– This is a 100% peaceful event.

Second, citizens are invited to attend a Public Meeting hosted by the Boulder County Commissioners to discuss the issue of the expansion of Gross Dam and what the County can do about it. The County will give a presentation on the Gross Dam project and then open the floor to citizen comments. Each citizen can speak for up to 3 minutes. It is recommended that citizens arrive early to sign up for a speaking slot. Sign up begins at 3:30pm. The Public Meeting begins promptly at 4:30pm at 1325 Pearl St., 3rd Floor, Boulder, CO.

This deal is far from done, and now is the time for citizens to join together with our elected officials and together save our Rivers and our Communities. Be part of this important conversation to determine the fate of our State and to Preserve Colorado. The Rally and Kayak Drum Circle will begin at 2:30pm on Monday, September 12, 2011, at 1325 Pearl St., Boulder, Colorado on the Courthouse Lawn. The Public Meeting before the Boulder County Commissioners begins at 4:30pm at the Boulder County Courthouse located at 1325 Pearl St., 3rd Floor, Boulder, Colorado.

Visit www.StopGrossDam.com for full schedule and additional details.

More coverage from Laura Snider writing for the Boulder Daily Camera. From the article:

…some opponents of the Gross Reservoir expansion are asking the Boulder County commissioners to consider using their own 1041 powers to fight Denver Water, which says that nearly tripling the size of the reservoir is necessary to quench the thirst of its growing number of customers and to provide more stability in its supply system. Denver Water would like to pull more water from the Fraser and Williams Fork rivers through the Moffat Tunnel to fill the newly expanded reservoir. “We’re trying to say to Boulder County, ‘You have the power to stop this project, and you should use it to protect people in the mountain communities and, on a bigger scale, to protect the Colorado River Basin,'” said Liz Brown Morgan, a resident of Coal Creek Canyon who has worked to connect neighborhood groups and local environmental groups into the Greater Gross Dam Citizens Coalition.

Letters of concern about the reservoir expansion — many of which are from people who live near the reservoir and who would be directly affected by the construction on the dam — have begun to fill up the Boulder County commissioners’ inboxes. In response, the commissioners are holding a meeting at 4:30 p.m. Monday. “The intent on Monday night is really for us to hear more about the concerns that residents are bringing forward and to make sure that we have as much information as we can on the potential impacts,” said Commissioner Will Toor…

Boulder County’s 1041 rules are designed, among other things, to protect the beauty of the landscape and to conserve soil, water and forest resources. But even if the county decides to use its 1041 powers in the case of Gross Reservoir, the commissioners must grant a development permit to Denver Water if the agency is able to show that it can meet the criteria laid out in the county’s land use code. “We wouldn’t just be deciding if we liked the project,” Toor said. “We would be looking at the impacts and requiring a set of conditions to mitigate those impacts.”

For its part, Denver Water disputes the county’s authority to regulate the Gross Reservoir construction. “Gross Reservoir is governed under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,” said Joe Sloan, of Denver Water’s community relations department. “Any permitting that we go through at Gross related to recreation of dam height or the perimeter is under FERC control. It’s our opinion that the federal governance by the FERC would cover all the issues.” But even though Denver Water does not agree that the county can use its 1041 powers, the agency said it’s still willing to work with the county to mitigate construction impacts through an intergovernmental agreement. “We’re working on IGAs on the West Slope with the folks in Summit and Eagle and Grand counties on flows,” Sloan said. “We’re hoping to use that model that we’ve already used on the West Slope with Boulder County.”

More Moffat Collection System Project coverage here and here.

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