Save our waters |

Save our waters

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi News
Grand County, CO Colorado

The Grand County chapter of Trout Unlimited has forwarded a petition to Moffat Firming project stakeholders, signed by Grand County residents and visitors, reiterating the need for protection of the area’s rivers.

With the comment period on the water firming project long over, and as citizens await the ruling on the proposed increased diversions by Denver Water and the Northern Water Conservancy District, Trout Unlimited’s Colorado River Headwaters Chapter President Kirk Klancke said the reason for the petition was to “just keep things simmering.”

In just over a week, as many as 429 people signed a petition urging sound use of headwaters resources in Grand County. Signatures had been gathered on three separate occasions, during a Trout Unlimited event at the Crooked Creek Saloon, at the Trout Unlimited Annual Banquet and at Winter Park’s Art Affair, where Trout Unlimited hosted a booth.

“It was to let the people who are governing this process understand how much this means to the people of Grand County,” Klancke said.

Klancke mailed 21 copies of the petition to influential addresses on July 30, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Assistant Secretary for Water in Washington D.C. Anne Castle, the U.S. Forest Service, the Colorado Wildlife Commission, Division of Wildlife, Colorado Water Conservation Board, Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado Water Quality Control Division, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Colorado Governor’s Office, County Commissioners, Sen. Mark Udall, Sen. Michael Bennet, Jared Polis, Denver Mayor and gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper, Denver Water and Northern.

On Monday, Klancke along with Grand County commissioners, Grand County’s major landowners along the river, and other representatives from the Colorado and National Trout Unlimited met with three out of five Denver Water Board members and staff at a conference room at Winter Park Resort.

For Klancke, who has supplied a strong local voice of Fraser River protection in firming project proceedings, the meeting was his first opportunity to sit at the table to learn the status of negotiations with key decision makers.

For him, he said, it quelled many of his concerns.

“It shined the light on what’s going on. Powerful people are saying that their interests are the same as ours, that they can keep a river alive and have a water supply,” he said.

Having heard about Moffat Firming negotiations “behind closed doors” between Denver Water and West Slope interests for 3.5 years, Klancke said it was refreshing to hear first-hand Denver Water’s perspective.

Klancke said he came out of the meeting feeling encouraged that the political will of that particular water utility appears to be to make steps to protect the resource.

“I felt like history was being made as we sat there,” Klancke said.

Grand County Commissioner James Newberry said the meeting entailed a broad overview of water issues and a discussion on “how water business will be done in the future.”

Grand County Commissioners also commented on how the visitation by Denver Water policy makers to Grand County was a significant event.

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