Wildlife Commission hears water plan concerns
SALIDA - Colorado Wildlife Commissioners heard a day of presentations and public testimony Friday on plans to lessen impacts on fish and wildlife by two major transmountain water diversion projects.
The commission is reviewing Denver Water's Moffat Collection System and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District's Windy Gap Firming Project. The public hearing, held in Salida, is part of the commission's 60-day comment period on the draft mitigation and enhancement plans.
Ken Kehmeier, a senior aquatic biologist with the Division of Wildlife, presented an analysis of Denver's and Northern's plans for mitigating impacts from the proposed projects as well as enhancing existing conditions on the affected streams and rivers.
Following staff and public testimony, commissioners asked for additional information about whether the mitigation plans were sufficient to protect cool water temperatures in the headwaters of the Colorado and Fraser River systems.
The Moffat Collection System Project is designed to firm up the yield from existing water rights on the West Slope, primarily by enlarging Boulder's Gross Reservoir and diverting additional water from the Fraser, Williams Fork and Blue rivers.
The Windy Gap Firming Project is proposing to firm up the yield from existing water rights in the Upper Colorado River by diverting additional water to the proposed new Chimney Hollow Reservoir west of Loveland.
The Wildlife Commission is scheduled to make a final recommendation on the adequacy of the mitigation plans at its June meeting in Grand Junction.
Additional information regarding the Wildlife Commission's review of the plans, including links to DOW staff evaluations, can be found on the Division's website at: http://wildlife.state.co.us/LandWater/Water/MoffatWindyGapMitigationProjects/.
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