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STP requests halt to Boxelder stormwater project

For Immediate Release
Save The Poudre Coalition: Poudre Waterkeeper
February 10, 2010
Contacts: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310


Project could severely negatively impact the Poudre River

Fort Collins, CO -- On February 10, 2010, the Save The Poudre Coalition wrote a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requesting that they "halt" the Boxelder Stormwater Project until environmental analyses can be completed about the project's impacts on the Poudre River. That letter is here:

The Boxelder Stormwater Project proposes to build reservoirs in upper Boxelder Creek basin to store rain water, the main goal of which is to pull much of the I-25 corridor along Fort Collins out of the Creek's 100-year floodplain. By doing so with fees imposed on over 40,000 Fort Collins and Larimer County property owners, a new governmental entity called the "Boxelder Authority" will help fuel and subsidize rapid development and population growth along the I-25 corridor.

The STP letter to the Corps/FEMA states that the Boxelder project will likely negatively impact streamflows in the Poudre River by temporarily storing high rainfall events in upper-basin reservoirs and thus removing their channel-cleaning effects from the Poudre River. High flows scour the riverbed -- removing silt and debris, cleaning rocks and fish spawning beds -- and prevent future flooding. By storing high-flow events in the upper Boxelder basin, the destruction of the Poudre River will likely be exacerbated, and flooding will likely increase on the Poudre River east of I-25.

"We request that the federal government 'halt' the Boxelder project," said Gary Wockner of the Save The Poudre Coalition. "Environmental analyses need to be completed to study the negative impacts of this project on the Poudre River."

The STP Coalition is also requesting that the Boxelder project be included in the NISP/Halligan/Seaman Environmental Impact Statements. The Coalition believes that these three reservoir projects will combine with the Boxelder project to remove dramatically more streamflows from the Poudre River.

"The Boxelder project should be included in the 'Cumulative Effects Study' on the Poudre River being completed by the Corps," said Wockner. "The Boxelder project will likely add insult to the injury of NISP, Halligan, and Seaman on the Poudre River."

The Boxelder Creek Stormwater Authority continues to be surrounded in controversy by charging fees on unwilling landowners. Due to these intense controversies, in the February 2010 North Forty News (here: Mr. Rex Burns (Authority Manager) and Larimer County Commissioner Steve Johnson both suggested that the Authority should not be able to charge property owners that are not geographically inside of the hydrological boundary of the Boxelder Creek basin. That boundary is depicted here: Astoundingly, every landowner in the City of Fort Collins is being charged fees to support the Authority, even though 90% of the landowners in Fort Collins are not in the hydrological boundary of the Boxelder Creek basin. It is unclear if Burns and Johnson also believe Fort Collins landowners should be able to "opt out" of the Authority's fees.

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