What about the wildlife?

That, in essence, was the question in a letter the Fort Collins Audubon Society wrote to the Larimer County planning department outlining some of the concerns the group has had about a residential development near Fossil Creek Reservoir.

Construction on the $200 million, 406-unit development could begin in a year and was just approved by county commissioners, but the original plan elicited a letter from the Audubon Society back in June.

The society listed a negative impact to animals as its main concern, including birds and small mammals.

The developers of the project worked together with county and city officials to revise the plan in such a manner that would protect the local flora and fauna. Part of this revised plan is to leave 120 acres of open space around the reservoir.

Larimer County officials and the developer have said that the new plan was agreeable to local environmental groups, but the Audubon Society did not return requests for comment on the matter.

For more on the Kechter Farms project, see the story on page 7.



At odds on water

They might not be enemies but they sure aren’t friends.

We’re talking about the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District and environmental group Save the Poudre.

Northern Water hailed the approval by Grand County of its Windy Gap Firming Project this month, saying it marked a major step forward for the district’s proposal to build Chimney Hollow Reservoir west of Carter Lake near Loveland.

The proposed Chimney Hollow Reservoir will help the project’s participants — 10 cities, two rural water districts and a power provider — to meet their growing water needs.

Gary Wockner, director of Save the Poudre, retorted that the Windy Gap Firming Project would “likely” be used to fill Glade Reservoir of the Northern Integrated Supply Project. He contended the latter project would “drain and destroy” the Poudre River.

Northern Water spokesman Brian Werner fired back, saying, “Windy Gap Firming Project water will not be stored in Glade, no matter what Gary wants to believe.”

Wockner responded by providing documents showing that Northern Water had planned to use water from the Windy Gap Firming Project for the initial filling of Glade.

Werner then acknowledged that Northern Water had once planned to use the water in that unique circumstance. But he added that the water district had since scrapped the idea after it created conflict with Western Slope water users.

“We’ll figure out how to do it without those supplies,” said Werner, adding that the organization had sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers clarifying its plans.

Loveland extends tech-transfer accelerator program

Loveland sure is serious about economic development.

The Loveland City Council a few days back voted to extend an accelerator program created in March meant to assist 26 local companies with technology searches and partnerships with federal research laboratories.

For 2013, the new contract approved by the council includes goals like working with the remaining 10 companies from the 2012 program for 10 hours each and working with 10 new companies for 20 hours each. The contract also includes an additional $120,000 for 480 hours of counseling services from DA2 Consulting, the firm hired by the city to work with regional technology companies.

The first phase of the accelerator program resulted in a Technology Showcase with 25 regional companies and a NASA Space Act agreement signed with Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology owner Cumberland and Western for NASA flywheel technology, among other things.