Letter: Windy Gap Project is Environmentally Good for the Colorado River
I don’t understand why Andy Miller and the Upper Colorado River Watershed Group (UCRWG) are fighting the Windy Gap Connectivity channel project. I thought they want to protect the health of the Colorado River; it appears that they only want to delay and increase the cost of an environmentally science-based project. The existing dam is a fish and macroinvertebrate barrier. This project will free the river to a healthy state. The project has support of major agencies and will start this year.
Grand County, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado River District, Middle Park Water Conservancy Districts, Denver Water, Northern Colorado Water, Trout Unlimited, and the USDA have spent millions of dollars studying and analyzing the Colorado River. They started 10 years ago with a framework Stream Management Plan and have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars each year since monitoring and updating the data. The State Engineer accounts for every drop of water. We certainly don’t need to have any water accounting done by an activist up-start non-profit group (UCRWG) that just wants to fight the project. Who pays, how much more will it cost and how long would it take? It wouldn’t change the outcome, just delay the project.
Tearing down the Federally approved dam will never happen. Removing the dam would be an environmental disaster, that would release toxic chemical, and biosolid waste from the sediment to the river. How much would this add to the cost? Double? Triple?
Adding a forebay to allow for pumping is exactly what the project is doing. The project is the best science based, environmentally based, cost-effective alternative to improve the aquatic habitat and health of the Colorado River.
Gary Behlen , Winter Park
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