From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Kevin Duggan):
City officials say additional water-quality studies required by federal and state agencies are likely to delay release of a draft Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, for the proposed Halligan Reservoir expansion until 2017. The document was expected to be released this year.
The studies are expected to cost about $475,000 on top of the $8.2 million already spent as part of the environmental review process, said Adam Jokerst, water resources engineer with Fort Collins Utilities.
Halligan Reservoir is on the North Fork of the Poudre River northwest of Fort Collins. The expansion project would more than double the capacity of the reservoir.
The project is entering the 10th year of an EIS process that’s being overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The highly detailed water-quality studies will include monitoring water temperatures along the North Fork and main stem of the Poudre from below Halligan past Fort Collins, Jokerst said.
“It’s quite an effort,” he said.
Aquatic life is sensitive to water temperature, he said. Some types of fish cannot thrive if temperatures are too warm or too cold.
Methodology used in the studies will be consistent with that used to analyze the impact of other water storage projects proposed along the river, including the controversial Northern Integrated Supply Project, or NISP, which would build Glade Reservoir north of Fort Collins.
The need for the more research was raised by various entities and the public through comments directed to the Corps regarding the draft supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for NISP, Jokerst said.
The Halligan EIS process is being directed by the Corps, the Environmental Protection Agency and the state health department, Jokerst said.
“They desire, as do we, to have consistent methods between NISP and the Halligan project,” he said. “As the NISP methods were established, then we had to follow suit.”
Halligan Reservoir is about 100 years old. Its capacity is about 6,400 acre feet of water. The city has proposed enlarging by 8,125 acre feet by raising its dam about 25 feet…
Fort Collins has requested the expansion as a way to shore up its water supply and protect against drought…
The Halligan project “makes a lot of sense” for the city, Jokerst said. It makes use of an existing reservoir and could potentially improve flows along the North Fork of the Poudre.
“We still feel it’s a smart project,” he said. “The cost per acre-foot of water development … is very competitive.”