From The Fort Collins Coloradoan (Nick Coltrain):
With a key final report looming for two proposed Poudre River-fueled reservoirs, Fort Collins City Council will weigh whether staff will try to negotiate over the city’s remaining concerns.
Past city comments helped steer the Northern Integrated Supply Project in a more agreeable direction, according to a staff report for Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. But concerns still remain. Staff members hope a negotiation might quell, or at least mitigate, some of them…
According to city staff, the prime concerns are:
a reduction of peak flows in the river, and related loss of river health and increased flood risk; the unknown effect the project may have on water quality; an unclear and “inadequately funded” adaptive management plan; concerns that there’s not enough money gong to mitigation or river enhancement.
Officially, the city does not support NISP, but it has engaged in conversations with project organizer Northern Water on the project that has been talked about for more than a decade.
City staff is pushing for more formal negotiations — the City Council stripped that specific language in a similar resolution in February 2017 — because the permitting process is nearing its end. The Army Corps of Engineers is poised to release its final environmental impact statement at the end of June, according to the city.
The city isn’t a direct participant in the Northern Integrated Supply Project, though it is considered a stakeholder. The Corps doesn’t usually accept public comment on final environmental impact statements but is poised to do so this time, according to city staff. However, it will also likely be late enough in the process that public comment alone won’t be able to make change much.
Any negotiations would likely include a give-and-take with Northern Water, such as the city’s help in expediting remaining permits, though staff didn’t speculate about what else it may be.
“As with any such discussions regarding complex matters and potential agreements, there are no guarantees of success,” according to the staff report [ed. Click through to the Coloradoan to read the report]. “Furthermore, the approach will depend on Northern Water’s willingness to participate.”