This update has information on the Colorado Wildlife Commission and the proposed Colorado River Cooperative Agreement.
As part of Denver Water’s plan to secure water for the future and fix the imbalance in our system, we are proposing to enlarge Gross Reservoir by 77,000 acre-feet, which would increase Denver Water’s annual supply by 18,000 acre-feet and provide 5,000 acre-feet of storage for an environmental pool.
Colorado Wildlife Commission and Colorado Water Conservation Board
On June 9, 2011, the Colorado Wildlife Commission unanimously approved the Fish and Wildlife Mitigation Plan submitted by Denver Water for impacts to fish and wildlife caused by the proposed Moffat Collection System Project. At the same time, the Colorado Wildlife Commission also unanimously authorized the Colorado Division of Wildlife to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with Denver Water and Northern Water for a river restoration project on the Colorado River below Windy Gap Reservoir.
On July 13, 2011, the Colorado Water Conservation Board also unanimously approved Denver Water’s Fish and Wildlife Mitigation Plan.
Denver Water’s mitigation plan includes money for stream temperature monitoring, cutthroat trout habitat restoration, and stream restoration on the North Fork South Platte River, Fraser River, and Williams Fork River. It also includes building an environmental pool in Gross Reservoir.
Denver Water agreed to help fund the Upper Colorado River Habitat Project. This project will restore approximately 17 miles of the Colorado River from Windy Gap Reservoir to the Kemp Breeze State Wildlife area, which is just downstream of the confluence of the Colorado and Williams Fork rivers. This restoration plan was not required by the permitting process, but was offered voluntarily by Denver Water and Northern Water to help address impacts from past water development. This agreement hinges on the water providers obtaining final federal approval for their projects.
The proposed Moffat Collection System Project will raise Gross Dam by about 130 feet. It will increase the reservoir’s current storage capacity of 41,811 acre-feet to approximately 119,000 acre-feet, which includes a 5,000 acre-foot environmental pool. The environmental pool will be used to enhance streamflows in South Boulder Creek downstream of Gross Reservoir. Once the permitting process is complete, the design and construction phase will begin, which is anticipated to take five to six years. Additional information regarding the Wildlife Commission’s review, including links to the mitigation and enhancement plans being offered can be found on the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s website.
Colorado River Cooperative Agreement
In late April 2011, leaders from Grand, Summit and Eagle counties stood with representatives from Denver Water, the Colorado River District, the ski industry and other main stem Colorado River Basin water interests to announce a historic proposed agreement called the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement.
Focused on cooperation, the proposed agreement brings parties who traditionally have been at odds together as partners on a path to responsible water development benefitting both the East and West Slopes. It achieves better environmental health for the Colorado River Basin, maintains high-quality recreational use and improves economics for many cities, counties and businesses impacted by the river. The proposed agreement, which was five years in the making, will now be considered by towns, counties, and water entities from the headwaters to the Utah state line.
The comprehensive proposed agreement focuses on significantly enhancing the environmental health of much of the Colorado River Basin and its tributaries, as well as supporting many West Slope cities, towns, counties and water providers as they work to improve the quality and quantity of water through new municipal water projects and river management initiatives.
In exchange for environmental enhancements, including financial support for municipal water projects and providing additional water supply and service area restrictions, the agreement will remove opposition to Denver Water’s Moffat Collection System Project.
For general questions about Denver Water, contact Joe Sloan by email or 303-628-6320.
Last updated: July 2013