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Save The Poudre Press Release 2009-06-04

For Immediate Release
Save The Poudre Coalition
June 23, 2009
Contact: Gary Wockner, 970-218-8310


Facts reveal that NISP/Glade will actually facilitate the loss of at least 100,000 acres of irrigated farmland which is 1/7th of the irrigated farmland in Northern Colorado

Fort Collins, CO -- Implementing its new "Communities for Water" public relations scheme that was exposed in May of 2009, (see former press release by clicking here), the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District (Northern District) is holding a "farm rally for NISP" on June 30th. This rally was recently advertised in the Greeley Tribune (click here for article). Despite the fact that NISP-participant Fort Lupton recently wrote that "Communities for Water" is an "organization created strictly for public relations purposes" in its May 6, 2009 agenda, the Northern District continues to use it to misinform the public and the very farmers that pay property taxes into the District. Ironically, the public and farmers have been told that NISP will "save farms," when it will actually facilitate the loss of 1 in 7 acres of irrigated farmland in Northern Colorado.

Analysis completed by scientists from the Save The Poudre Coalition shows that of the 693,000 acres of irrigated farmland in the Northern District taxing boundary, NISP/Glade will facilitate the loss of at least 100,000 acres of that irrigated farmland. A summary of that analysis shows:

1. The NISP-subscribing communities will grow on top of 76,000 acres of farms, of which 48,000 are irrigated. Those 48,000 acres of irrigated farms will be sold to developers and their water will be sold off.

2. Because of the water trade in the South Platte Water Conservation Plan in NISP, at least 3,000 acres of irrigated farmland on the "Larimer and Weld" and "New Cache la Poudre" ditches will become too saline to farm. Additionally, thousands of acres of crops in the South Platte basin will see lower yields because of increased salinity.

3. The Grey Mountain Water Right -- which includes 20,000 acre feet of new water that will be taken out of the Poudre River for NISP -- currently irrigates 14,000 acres of farms on the eastern plains of Colorado. Not only will these farmers no longer get that water, they also will not be paid for the loss of production.

4. The Grey Mountain Water Right also recharges groundwater supplies underlying the Lone Tree Creek Basin in Water District 1. Because those groundwater supplies will no longer be recharged, those farmers' wells will have to shut down.

5. The NISP DEIS states that the Northern District plans to lease and rent all the farm water they can to do an initial 100,000 acre-foot fill of Glade Reservoir's 177,000 acre-foot capacity. That 100,000 acre feet of water currently irrigates 70,000 acres of farmland in Northern Colorado or the Western Slope of Colorado -- at least 35,000 acres are in Northern Colorado. (Because the NISP DEIS proposes to get new water out of the Windy Gap system to fill Glade, farm dry-up impacts may also occur on the West Slope of Colorado.)

The detailed analysis of the likely impacts to agriculture due to NISP was inserted into the public comment period for the NISP DEIS by the Save The Poudre Coalition. That analysis is here: Additional analyses are ongoing by the Coalition.

"It is very unfortunate that the Northern District and their new pollster and public relations scheme are trying to misinform the public and farmers about NISP/Glade," said Gary Wockner of the Save The Poudre Coalition. "NISP/Glade will help fuel rapid development, destroy the Poudre River, and put farmers out of business."

In a further dose of irony, the "Farm Rally for NISP" will take place just west of Eaton on an irrigated farm (as advertised in the Greeley Tribune here) that is next door to a new development. That Eaton development -- the "Governor's Ranch" -- has new houses selling for $215,000 - $410,000. Eaton is a participant in NISP at 1,300 acre feet -- Eaton wants the water to meet the needs of new development.

The Save The Poudre Coalition is made up of 15 national, state, and regional groups including: National Wildlife Federation, Clean Water Action, Defenders of Wildlife, American Rivers, Western Resource Advocates, Colorado Environmental Coalition, Lighthawk, Environment Colorado, Sierra Club – Rocky Mountain Chapter, Fort Collins Audubon Society, Citizen Planners, Wolverine Farm Publishing, Poudre Paddlers, Friends of the Poudre, and the Cache la Poudre River Foundation. Membership in these groups totals over 3 million American citizens.

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