DOW considers impacts of firming project |

DOW considers impacts of firming project

Members of the Colorado Wildlife Commission held a public meeting in Granby, Jan. 18, to hear concerns about the impact of Denver Water’s proposed Moffat Firming Project on fish and aquatic resources.

Commissioners Dorothea Farris and Dennis Buechler conducted the meeting at the Inn at Silver Creek. DOW senior aquatic biologists Ken Kehmeier and Sherman Hebein provided a presentation on the project. Some 60 people attended.

Denver Water proposes to meet future water needs by delivering an additional 18,000 acre-feet per year from the Fraser and Williams Fork river systems to the Front Range. Water would be collected in Boulder County’s Gross Reservoir, which would be raised to store an additional 72,000 acre-feet of water.

As part of the project, Denver Water is developing a mitigation plan that is scheduled to be presented to the Wildlife Commission in March. Simultaneously, the Wildlife Commission is considering mitigation plans for the Windy Gap Firming Project, which would divert an additional 30,000 acre-feet each year from the upper Colorado River for storage in a new reservoir to be constructed west of Carter Lake in Boulder County. The proposed Chimney Hollow Reservoir would have a storage capacity of 90,000 acre feet.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has responsibility for permitting Northern’s project while the Denver Water project must receive a federal permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but the Wildlife Commission has the opportunity to review the projects and ensure that plans address potential impacts to fish and wildlife habitat.

The Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Denver Water and Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District have developed the following timeline for the consideration of the two mitigation plans.

Jan. 26-Feb. 3

Denver Water and Northern Meet with DOW to discuss recent input from stakeholders and the public.

Feb. 4

Denver Water and Northern submit their respective draft mitigation plans to DOW.

Feb. 18

Comments on draft mitigation plans due to DOW.

March 10

Denver Water and Northern present their final mitigation plans to the Wildlife Commission in Denver, beginning the 60-day clock for the commission to make a decision. This meeting is open to the public and the agenda will allow public comment.

May 5

Wildlife Commission adopts or rejects the final mitigation plans. If accepted, the commission submits its recommendation to the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB).

May 17-18

The CWCB either affirms the Wildlife Commission’s recommendations or make modifications to final mitigation plans.

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