February 18, 2013
Here is the link to the new video from Defend the Upper Colorado. In conjunction with TU's leadership, CWF is advocating for speciific improved mitigation actions from Denver Water as it seeks to divert more of the Upper Colorado flows.
See also the Take Action Now button on our home page.
Existing water rights held by Denver Water's system are diverting 60 of the Fraser River's natural annual flow. Denver Water plans to divert additional water from the Upper Colorado and the Fraser Rivers pursuant to its Moffat firming project. CWF, TU and many others had submitted comments throughout the former Colorado Wildlife Commission's (now Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission) process during 2011 to recommend a mitigation plan for the firming project. However, anglers, other wildlife conservationists, Grand County, The Fraser River Basin Landowners Group, the Upper Colorado River Alliance and Blue River landowners remain very concerned that the elevated temperatures (July into August) and further sedimentation that wil result from the firming project will produce devastating consequences.
CWF wrote a letter to the EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers on October 31, 2012 urging the Corps to undertake an additional assessment that focuses on temperature and sedimentation because the planned mitigation measures are inadequate to offset the increased dewatering. We continue to urge provisions to avoid increased diversions during periods when temperature water quality standards would not be met, to require flushing and channel maintenance flows during shoulder seasons (as runnoffs otherwise will be further reduced), and impose a robust monitoring plan to identify impacts and trigger adaptive management actions. As Colorado TU's president, Sinjin Eberle has noted, "The answer to the question of how much is a river worth - is only a matter of how much water can be drained from it."
The Corps has not yet issued a final environmental impact statement, a prerequisite to issuing a permit to Denver Water to implement the plan for additional diversions of the annual flows.