Windy Gap Firming project update: Grand County

August 1, 2012

 CWF submitted the following comment letter to Grand County on July 31, 2012 re Windy Gap Firming project.

 

 July 31, 2012

 

Grand County Commissioners

P.O. Box 264

Hot Sulfur Springs, CO 80451

                                                            Transmitted by email and sent by mail

Dear Commissioners:

 This letter responds to the important opportunity you have provided for public input to your decision making as to the proposed 1041 permit for the Windy Gap Project.  Many of our Colorado Wildlife Federation (CWF) members fish in the Fraser and Upper Colorado Rivers and some of our members also own property in Grand County.

CWF has been actively involved in providing input to the Bureau of Reclamation NEPA and the Corps Section 404 permitting processes.  We also participated in the related public meetings sponsored by the Colorado Wildlife Commission in 2010 and 2011.  We remain greatly concerned that Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District (Northern) will not fully mitigate the impacts of its proposed project nor mend the impacts of its ongoing project, despite its failure to meet commitments to protect water quality in Grand Lake, etc.

We support the recommendations developed by your staff for the permit.  However, in addition we believe that the following points raised by Trout Unlimited must also be fully addressed.

  • The commitments that have been made to implement enhancement measures should be included in the 1041 permit.
  • Pumping at Windy Gap should stop when stream temperatures near the State acute and chronic standards, and no pumping should be allowed after July 15th each year.
  • Northern should be required to pay for a study to assess the value of constructing a bypass channel around Windy Gap reservoir in coordination with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW).  If CPW determines the bypass would provide significant benefits to the aquatic ecosystem, Northern should be required to fund all of the engineering and construction.  It was Northern’s erroneous decision to build this dam in the first place.  
  • Northern should be required in the 1041 permit to work with Grand County to monitor the flushing flows and provide adequate flushing flows to keep sediment from degrading the aquatic habitat.
  • Northern must fund a robust stream monitoring program that can accurately track the health of the aquatic species in the Colorado River.  They should quickly respond to any declines that cannot be explicitly contributed to normal stream flow fluctuations.

 Thank you for considering our recommendations.

 

Dennis G. Buechler

Director Emeritus, Colorado Wildlife Federation

 Suzanne O’Neill

Executive Director, Colorado Wildlife Federation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 submitted the following comment letter to Grand County on July 31, 2012 re Windy Gap Firming project. 

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