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Halligan Water Supply Project

Draft EIS Public Comment Summary#

You've Spoken, and We've Heard You#

The draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Conceptual Mitigation and Enhancement Plan for the Halligan Water Supply Project were released in November 2019, followed by a comment period and public hearing. We received approximately 60 public comment letters or statements. Together, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, we’re evaluating each comment to determine next steps for the final EIS and Conceptual Mitigation and Enhancement Plan.

There will be additional opportunities to provide comments on the Halligan Water Supply Project in future phases of the permitting process. Sign up to receive project updates to be notified when these opportunities arise.

In the meantime, if you have a question, comment or if you would like to provide unofficial feedback, please contact us at halligan@fcgov.com.

Benefits of the Low Flows for the North Fork of the Poudrehighlight_off

What We Heard#

Quantify the benefits of the proposed low flows on the North Fork of the Poudre River.

Our Commitment#

The Winter Release Plan (3 cubic feet per second (cfs) in winter) and the Summer Low Flow Plan (supplementing up to 5 cfs) will essentially eliminate dry-up points that currently are a common occurrence at various locations along the North Fork. These low flows will also connect currently segmented portions of the river, allowing movement of fish and macroinvertebrates between isolated pools and improving the overall health of the aquatic environment. The final EIS will provide more information about the proposed low flows and benefits to the North Fork.

Current vs. Proposed Conditions on the North Fork of the Poudre River

Left-hand image: Current conditions on the North Fork | Right-hand image: Proposed conditions on the North Fork

Mitigation Concepts and Operational Measureshighlight_off

What We Heard#

Provide more and specific details on mitigation concepts and operational measures like the Summer Low Flow and Peak Flow Bypass plans.

Our Commitment#

The Conceptual Mitigation Plan, including operational measures, was released with the draft EIS in order to collect public feedback on mitigation concepts being considered by the City of Fort Collins. Now that the feedback has been received, the mitigation concepts and operational measures will be further developed or refined. A final Conceptual Mitigation Plan will be released with the final EIS.

Additional Flows in the North Forkhighlight_off

What We Heard#

Fort Collins should find a way to provide more flow to the North Fork than what is being proposed.

Our Commitment#

We are committed to protecting and enhancing the North Fork and Poudre River and the riparian habitat downstream of Halligan Reservoir where possible, as shown by the volume of mitigation and voluntary enhancement measures proposed in the Conceptual Mitigation Plan.

Many have asked if there is a way to provide even more flows to the North Fork below Halligan Reservoir than what is already proposed.  The size of the reservoir enlargement is limited by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the amount of water needed by future Fort Collins Utilities customers. We will not be able to build a larger reservoir than what’s already proposed to provide storage dedicated solely for flow improvements in the river.

What we can do is propose a temporary environmental pool within the planned capacity of the enlarged reservoir, which would allow an additional variable amount of water dedicated each year to add flows downstream of the reservoir.

Although the physical amount of water on the North Fork will not be changed by the project, the enlargement provides an opportunity to retime flows managed through Fort Collins’ portion of Halligan. This can increase flows in certain stretches of the river when there would normally be little to no flow.

Details will be provided later in the permitting process.  

Water Quality Impactshighlight_off

What We Heard#

More information is needed to quantify anticipated water quality impacts related to an enlarged Halligan Reservoir.

Our Commitment#

More water quality studies are planned for the reservoir and surrounding watershed to better understand the impacts related to operations of an enlarged Halligan Reservoir. Additional water quality and temperature data will be collected in the coming years and analyses will be conducted to evaluate the future predicted water quality and temperature of an enlarged reservoir, the North Fork, and the Poudre River. This information will be presented as part of the 401 water quality certification process with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Water Quality Control Division.

Recreationhighlight_off

What We Heard#

Recreation at Halligan Reservoir will result in increased impacts to the environment and surrounding landowners.          

Our Commitment#

The costs and benefits associated with opening a portion of Halligan Reservoir to recreation will be evaluated in the coming years. A recommendation will be made to City leadership after the evaluation is complete. The evaluation will include factors such as the cost of safety and security measures needed to provide safe access, impacts to surrounding landowners, environmental impacts, as well as the benefits that will be achieved by providing more outdoor recreation opportunities in Larimer County.

Upstream Impactshighlight_off

What We Heard#

More information is needed to quantify impacts on the North Fork upstream of Halligan Reservoir (the portion of the river that will be inundated).

Our Commitment#

This portion of the river has been studied thoroughly over the past decade and more quantification and description of the information available will be provided in the final EIS.

Conservationhighlight_off

What We Heard#

More conservation can eliminate the need for the project. With more conservation the No Action Alternative can be implemented.       

Our Commitment#

Unfortunately, conservation alone cannot eliminate the need for more storage. See the Conservation portion of our FAQs for details. Additional conservation without additional storage (firm yield supplies) will leave Utilities’ customers more vulnerable to droughts and water restrictions.

Greenback Cutthroat Trouthighlight_off

What We Heard#

Restoration of greenback cutthroat population below Halligan Reservoir is generally supported.

Our Commitment#

Ongoing analyses conducted subsequent to the release of the draft EIS indicates the temperatures in the North Fork below Halligan Dam may not be optimal for a thriving greenback cutthroat trout population. However, the City remains committed to supporting the management of this river for small-bodied native fish.

Monitor Environmental Conditionshighlight_off

What We Heard#

Baseline monitoring of environmental conditions should begin soon. 

Our Commitment#

Consistent with these comments, baseline data collection and surveying began in the summer of 2020.

Downstream Benefitshighlight_off

What We Heard#

Agreements or coordinated operations are needed with North Poudre Irrigation Company to maximize benefits downstream.

Our Commitment#

The City of Fort Collins will operate the enlarged Halligan Reservoir, which will store and release water for both the City and North Poudre Irrigation Company. As the reservoir operator, we will try to reach an agreement with North Poudre Irrigation Company on certain aspects of operations. However, the company is not a party to our Conceptual Mitigation Plan and will have an independent pool of water in the enlarged reservoir that they control.

Sediment Management Planhighlight_off

What We Heard#

A sediment management plan is needed for the enlarged reservoir in order to avoid sediment releases that have impacted the North Fork in the past. 

Our Commitment#

We agree that a sediment management plan is needed for Halligan Reservoir and plan to develop this plan as part of the design process, which began in 2020 and will last several years.

Construction-Related Impactshighlight_off

What We Heard#

Construction-related impacts on local landowners should be considered.              

Our Commitment#

We’re looking for ways to minimize construction impacts to surrounding landowners, the North Fork and wildlife. We want to be a good neighbor and care about the watershed. We value the relationships that we have built with the landowners who will be affected by the project and are working closely with them to understand concerns and minimize construction disturbance where possible.

Channel Modificationhighlight_off

What We Heard#

Consider channel modification in areas where the North Fork is choked by vegetation, sediment or where modification would improve the benefit of low flows.      

Our Commitment#

Channel modification is something we are considering. Access to much of the North Fork below Halligan Reservoir is across private land, but we will evaluate the feasibility of channel modification in specific locations where access is feasible.