Area reservoirs – community input needed

Reclamation Invites Public Comment on RMP/EA for Horsetooth, Carter Lake, Pinewood, Flatiron Reservoirs

LOVELAND, Colo. — The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, along with Larimer County Department of Natural Resources, is seeking public comment on an integrated Resource Management Plan and Environmental Assessment (RMP/EA) for four reservoirs: Horsetooth Reservoir, Carter Lake, Pinewood Reservoir and Flatiron Reservoir. The plans outline potential recreation improvements and other management actions at the four reservoirs, which Reclamation owns and manages in terms of operations and which Larimer County manages in terms of recreation.

The draft RMP/EA describes the needs and opportunities; public issues and concerns; goals and objectives; and specific management objectives and proposed actions at the four reservoirs. Because the reservoirs are federally owned and managed, proposed recreation improvements are required to be disclosed and analyzed under the National Environmental Policy Act. The draft RMP/EA also summarizes the public process and identifies potential environmental effects.

Larimer County is also accepting comments on a related document, the Reservoir Parks Master Plan. This plan takes a county-wide look at current and future recreation needs. While the four reservoirs play an important role in the master plan, it also includes topics beyond the scope of the RMP/EA, including project costs, financial strategies, and recreation needs beyond those served by the four reservoirs. The RMP/EA and Reservoir Parks Master Plan were conducted concurrently in order to achieve greater efficiency and combine public outreach activities.

Specific and substantial comments received on the RMP/EA during the comment period will be analyzed and responded to by Reclamation. Comments received will help decision makers determine whether to issue a Finding of No Significant Impact or to prepare an environmental impact statement. Comments on the draft RMP/EA should be specific and should address the adequacy of the statement and the merits of the alternatives discussed (40 CFR 1503.3).

Reclamation’s RMP/EA is available at www.usbr.gov/gp/ecao/nepa/reservoir_parks_mp.html and Larimer County’s Reservoir Parks Master Plan is available at www.onegreatcountytoplay.com. Copies of the draft RMP/EA and Master Plan are available for review during normal business hours at Reclamation’s Office at 11056 West County Road 18E, Loveland; the Old Town (Fort Collins) Library; Loveland Public Library; Horsetooth Area Information Center at Horsetooth Reservoir; and the Larimer County Natural Resource Administrative Building in Loveland.

Comments on the RMP/EA will be accepted throughout the public comment period until August 07, 2017.

Written comments can be provided online at www.usbr.gov/gp/ecao/nepa/reservoir_parks_mp_comment.html or www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3547228/LarimerReservoirsPlan.

Written comments can also be sent directly to the attention of Mr. Patrick McCusker by email (pmccusker@usbr.gov), or by regular mail to Reclamation at 11056 W. County Road 18 E, Loveland, CO 80537. Comments by fax can be sent to 970-663-3212.

 

More about the project:
Reclamation owns and operates nearly 7,000 acres of land and water at the four reservoirs: Horsetooth Reservoir, Carter Lake, Pinewood Reservoir and Flatiron Reservoir. Under the terms of an agreement with Reclamation, Larimer County Department of Natural Resources manages recreational activities and maintains the recreation facilities at these four reservoirs. The four reservoirs are part of the Colorado-Big Thompson water project. Water stored in these reservoirs is distributed by Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District for municipal, agricultural, and other uses.

The purpose of the RMP/EA is to develop a plan that balances natural resource protection with recreational uses, provides a diversity of recreational experiences, ensures financial stability, and accounts for future growth and demand. The integrated RMP/EA would replace the previous plans prepared in 2007 and establish a 10-year plan describing a management framework for the conservation, protection, and enhancement of the four reservoirs and surrounding lands.

To learn more about the RMP and NEPA process, please visit Reclamation’s website at www.usbr.gov/gp/ecao. Media inquiries or general questions about Reclamation and the RMP/EA should be directed to James Bishop at 970-962-4326 or jbishop@usbr.gov.