FORT COLLINS, Colo. - A six-year environmental impact study by the Army Corps of Engineers indicates building the vast Glade Reservoir in Larimer County would have minimal impact on the Poudre River.
The massive reservoir would be larger than Horsetooth and would serve multiple communities and water districts in northern Colorado.
The reservoir would sit northwest of Fort Collins near the split of Highways 287 and 14.
Brian Werner is with Northern Water, the group hoping to build the reservoir which would serve four water districts and 11 cities.
"We think we're going to be able to show -- and we know we will -- is that the Poudre River will be better with mitigation and enhancements than it is today," said Werner.
The 1,500 page report from the Army Corps concludes 26 different environmental impacts to the river would be minimal.
"We're trying to get accurate information out to the public," said Werner. "And the other side is giving out inaccurate information."
But Gary Wockner, executive director with 'Save the Poudre,' is dismissive of the report.
"We are extremely disappointed. It's the same proposal to drain and destroy this beautiful river right here beside us right now," said Wockner. "I think that the Corps has done what we believe is another poor job."
The river would not be dammed -- water would flow out through an existing canal during peak runoff. It would then go to a holding pond which would then be pumped into the reservoir.
"We're only going to be able to take water in the really wet years," said Werner. "We will have very junior water rights."
This year Werner believes they could have filled the reservoir with all the rain we had this past spring.
"We could have probably filled Glade this year, and we've never been able to claim that before," he said.
"We're just gonna go at it," said Wockner. "Head to head, we're taking the fight right to them."
There is now a public comment period with meetings in Fort Collins and Greeley.
Open Houses and hearings for oral and/or written comments:
July 22 in Fort Collins: 5 p.m. open house, 6 p.m. hearing. Hilton Fort Collins, 425 W. Prospect Road July 23 in Greeley: 5 p.m. open house, 6 p.m. hearing. Weld County Administration Building, 1150 O St.
"This will take some water off of the river during the high spring flows," said Werner. "This year alone we're going to lose a million acre feet plus to Nebraska over and above our legal requirement. There's plenty going out of state."
If approved, the project will include a second, smaller reservoir northeast of Greeley called the Galeton Reservoir. That will serve ditch companies and farmers further downstream.
"Every major ag organization in the state has endorsed the project," said Werner. "And most chambers, too."
"We are committed to fighting and stopping that project for as long as it takes," said Wockner. "This community values this river so much."
The reservoir is still years from being built. The Army Corps of Engineers will now need to make a record of decision. Werner says his group then has two years of additional design and then three to four years to build it.