Letter: Poudre River or Poudre Ditch?

Editor:

The proposed Northern Integrated Supply Project would continue a trend of transforming the free-flowing Poudre River into a highly controlled ditch. Existing diversions mean that peak spring flows, vital to river health, are already much reduced compared with the past. The results? A narrower channel (higher flood potential), poorer water quality (health impacts, higher wastewater treatment costs) and loss of riparian habitat (fewer amphibians, birds, other animals). Because the changes have been gradual, diversion by diversion, they are easy to overlook — “Death by a thousand cuts.”

NISP represents a huge new wound, a major arterial hemorrhage that would further drain life out of the Poudre. In an average year, NISP would siphon off another 68 percent, 25 percent and 45 percent of May, June and July flows, respectively (Supplementary Draft Environmental Impact Statement). The damaging impacts are directly contrary to the recent restoration efforts the City of Fort Collins has undertaken to improve river health (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2uKS0S82q4&feature=youtu.be) and will harm communities further downstream as well.

Let the Corps of Engineers know what you think by submitting written comments to nisp.eis@usace.army.mil. Let’s put resources into restoring a healthy Poudre River versus turning it into more of a ditch.

Doug Swartz
Fort Collins

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