Fort Collins councillors approve sending staff NISP wildlife mitigation comments to state

Poudre River Bike Path bridge over the river at Legacy Park photo via Fort Collins Photo Works.

From The Fort Collins Coloradoan (Kevin Duggan):

The City Council on Tuesday approved sending staff-generated comments on a Wildlife and Fish Mitigation Enhancement Plan proposed by Northern Water for NISP to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission.

The council voted 4-3 in favor of sending on the comments, with members Bob Overbeck, Ross Cunniff and Ken Summers opposed, although for different reasons.

For Overbeck and Cunniff, the comments by staff do not go far enough in criticizing the project and insisting on more mitigation. Cunniff said he did not like the process used by the state for addressing mitigation and the controversial water-storage project…

Summers, who supports NISP, said the comments should not be sent.

Staff’s comments touched on numerous areas of concern, including water quality and the amount of funding designated for wildlife mitigation. It includes recommendations for improving the plan, such as guaranteeing three days of peak flows on the river for critical “flushing” to support the river’s health.

John Stokes, director of the city’s Natural Areas Program, said the comments do not imply support for NISP. But they were generated with the thinking that if the project is built, then steps should be taken to mitigate its impacts…

The commission will weigh the plan in upcoming meetings and potentially forward it to the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the governor for approval. If approved, the plan would likely be included in the federal permitting process for NISP.

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