The city of Greeley has been discussing what to do about the possible expansions of the Milton-Seaman Reservoir The reservoir currently sits above the same general area where the proposed Glade Reservoir is planned to be built through the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP).
NISP’s Glade Reservoir project recently reached a very large milestone when they received a state water quality certification issued from The Water Quality Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The proposed reservoir would be 150,000 acre-feet and positioned close to the mouth of Poudre Canyon.
Owned by the city of Greeley, Milton-Seaman is a reservoir that the city undertook developing in the 1940s. The reservoir is currently sitting at the same size it was originally built at 5000 acre-feet. However, at 5000 acre-feet, the capacity is much smaller than what a city the size off Greeley will need to serve its growing population.
“The final environmental impact statement is targeted for 2020, but it is not going to happen. We are still working with Greeley to even identify their final proposed project and the alternatives to evaluate,” said Cody Wheeler, Regulatory Project Manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The initial ideas for an expansion of the reservoir included expanding it up to ten times its current capacity, from the 5,000 acre-feet of water to 88,000 acre-feet, roughly half the size of the Horsetooth Reservoir.
Due to tremendous costs, the City of Greeley has requested the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to pause work so that they may take more time to consider alternative ways to reduce water demands while simultaneously cutting the size and cost of their project. Therefore, the Milton-Seaman Reservoir project is on hold for the moment as a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) has yet to be published.
“It is not that there is another project that appears shinier or more exiting, it is more that the project we scoped with Milton-Seamen appears to be extremely expensive and it is one big project requiring large construction,” said Sean Chambers, Water & Sewer Director for the City of Greeley.
On the other hand, the Halligan Reservoir Project recently underwent a public comment period that ended February 26. With that period having been completed, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will now evaluate what they need to do in order to proceed accordingly and finalize the EIS for that project. The Halligan Reservoir project consists of expanding its’s current size of 6,400 acre-feet to roughly 14,525 acre-feet.
Among those conversing about reservoirs and the possible alternatives to them are several concerned landowners and activists groups throughout Northern Colorado. “Reservoirs are an outdated solution to whats a 21st-century problem. Our climate is semi-arid and we need to be thinking about that,” said Karyn Coppinger of Save Rural NoCo.
For more information on all of the reservoir projects, visit their websites at https://www.northernwater.org/Kentico/NISP/project-overview and https://www.fcgov.com/naturalareas/pdf/halligan-seaman-poster.pdf.