Mr. Elliott’s letter of July 16 regarding the Moffat Firming Project purports to present a scientist’s point of view, but reads like a politician’s campaign, right down to unsupported accusations of “backroom dealings” and catchy sound bites that completely misrepresent the facts and the views of those who support a solution for the Moffat Firming Project.
Supporters of a solution, including the County, care deeply about developing accurate, scientific information about our rivers and the impacts of Moffat and other issues impacting our rivers. That is why they have invested millions of dollars to develop real information that documents stream conditions today so we can tell whether conditions in the future get better or worse. That is why the have reached an agreement (the Mitigation and Enhancement Coordination Plan or “MECP”) with Denver Water to continue to collect real information and do something to not only prevent deterioration, but to improve current conditions.
Significant amounts of water, money and other resources have been committed to protect and improve stream conditions as part of the MECP. Mr. Elliott omits mention of these benefits so that he can make his point — for a true list of MECP benefits, please go to www.coloradotu.org. Mr. Elliott and his Front Range clients can continue to dedicate their resources to politics and to more technical “models” that generate controversy and consultant fees but don’t get us any closer to a solution for the rivers. Those who support a solution will be here protecting and improving our streams long after Mr. Elliott and his clients move on to other projects.
In the early 1900’s, long before any environmental regulations were in place, Denver Water started diverting water from the Fraser River Valley through the Moffat Tunnel to supply water to the Front Range. Presently, they divert over ½ of the flows of the Fraser River and its tributaries. DW is seeking a Federal permit to triple the size of Gross Reservoir so that they can divert an additional 20% of their water rights in the Fraser Valley.
For the last 8 years, Trout Unlimited has been working hard to make sure that approval of the Gross Reservoir expansion doesn’t happen unless the Fraser River and its tributaries are protected and their degraded condition improved. After years of diligent work, TU, Grand County and Denver Water have reached an agreement on a package of measures designed to improve stream conditions and prevent additional impacts from the Moffat Project. This agreement is called the Grand County Mitigation and Enhancement Plan and is commonly referred to as the MECP.
Trout Unlimited now believes that, if included as a requirement of the federal permit, the mitigation and enhancements included in the MECP give the Fraser River a better chance for stream health than not having the project go forward. To help TU save the Fraser River, we need everybody who wants to see the Fraser flow healthy for generations to take a few minutes to write the US Army Corps of Engineers and ask them to make Denver Water’s compliance with the MECP a condition of the federal permit.
The MECP requires DW to be involved in stream monitoring and adaptive management for as long as they divert. This language is our best chance to maintain healthy rivers in the Fraser Valley. Please be part of the solution and send in a letter now and for the rest of your life you will be able to proudly say that you helped save the Fraser River. Be sure to copy your letter to the list provided so that your elected officials know that you are speaking up and what you’re saying.
Ready to call, write or send emails? For suggestions on what to say and names and addresses of the right people to contact, go to our What to Do Today page by clicking HERE.
MOFFAT FIRMING TALKING POINTS
1. Stream restoration improvements
2. Curtailed diversions when stream temperatures are within 1 degree of the States acute and chronic stream temperature standards.
3. Extended flushing flow periods to satisfy sediment transport needs.
4. Purchase of additional water in the watershed to be converted to in stream flows to add additional water during low flows.
On August 1 and 2, the 1041 review process had it's most recent review. For the SkyHi News article on the latest step in the process, click here. To view the entire Bureau of Reclamation document click on Statement.