NISP and Glade Reservoir clear state water regulation hurdle



The controversial Northern Integrated Supply Project, or NISP, has received the last of major permits needed from the state of Colorado for its construction and operation as it moves toward federal approval. 

The project, which would include building Glade Reservoir northwest of Fort Collins, received a state 401 Water Quality Certification from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, according to a press release from Northern Water.

The certification is required as part of the federal permitting process through Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. A record of decision on NISP from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expected this year.

In spring, Larimer County is expected to hold hearings as part of its 1041 permitting process for Glade, which would draw water from the Poudre River and impact flows through Fort Collins.

“After a three-year process to evaluate water quality effects of the project on the Poudre River and the development of extensive mitigation measures, the Water Quality Control Division has concluded that no significant degradation is expected because of the project,” Northern Water Environmental Services Division Director Esther Vincent said in the press release.

Conditions of the state certification require the 15 participants in NISP to monitor the Poudre River at points throughout Northern Colorado. In some cases, it would be done for decades. Items that would be monitored include water temperature, E. coli, nutrients and other substances that occur naturally in the environment.

Additional mitigation measures will be required. NISP participants likely will spend tens of millions of dollars meeting the conditions, Northern Water said.

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In 2017, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission and the Colorado Water Conservation Board approved NISP’s Fish and Wildlife Mitigation and Enhancement Plan, which calls for $60 million of improvements in Northern Colorado.

Opponents of NISP have pledged to challenge the project as it goes through the county’s permitting process and in court if necessary to stop its construction.

Kevin Duggan is a senior columnist and reporter. Contact him at Support his work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.

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