The Army Corps of Engineers is now facing a lawsuit from a northern Colorado organization, a lawsuit which is aimed at preventing the construction of a new reservoir north of Fort Collins. "Save the Poudre," an organization that has been trying to preserve the iconic Poudre River for decades, accused the Army Corps of Engineers of improperly granting a construction permit for a dam that would be built north of Fort Collins.
The project, known as the Northern Integrated Supply Project, would create a reservoir over what is currently a major section of Highway 287 between Fort Collins and Laramie, Wyoming. The goal is to store and distribute water to growing communities along the front range.
"We are very concerned about the project," said Mark Easter, board chair of Save the Poudre.
Easter said he and his peers are trying to argue that the reservoir is not only jeopardizing the ecosystem around the river, but they believe it is also completely unnecessary. Easter said reducing the amount of water coming down the river during runoff season will impact life down the river.
"The entire ecosystem around the Poudre River is organized around (summer) peak flows," Easter told CBS News Colorado's Dillon Thomas. "If we lose those peak flows, we functionally lose the river."
Those behind the NISP project, Northern Water, were unable to interview on the topic of litigation against the Army Corps of Engineers. However, via written statement, the organization said they are still confident in the project's viability.
"Northern Water has not had the opportunity to explore the issues brought forth in the action against the federal government. But, we are confident in the work performed by the army corps of engineers that the permit issued to NISP will be affirmed based on the detailed work done over the years and extensive mitigation included," the statement read.
CBS News Colorado reached out to the Army Corps seeking an interview or statement on the lawsuit and accusations made by Save the Poudre. A spokesperson said the Army Corps could not comment further on any issue that is under litigation.
Easter said he hoped the lawsuit would result in those needing access to water seeking alternative options such as pulling from the river further downstream.
"The greatest concern we have is that we think there are better alternatives, we don't think the project is needed," Easter said.
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