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Moffat Agreement: What’s In It for the River?
Colorado Trout Unlimited
Denver already diverts water – including an estimated 60 percent of the native flows of the Fraser – from the Fraser and Williams Fork basins through an extensive network of tunnels and pipes that funnel water to the Moffat Tunnel for delivery and use in the Front Range. Denver’s proposed project would expand storage at Gross Reservoir and enable them to divert additional water from this network during comparatively wetter periods (generally spring and early summer, in wet and average years). The loss of these higher flow periods and the sediment flushing they provide, and the potential for summer diversions to exacerbate existing high stream temperatures, raise significant concern for TU and others concerned with the health of the Fraser basin. Above all, TU has been concerned that existing habitat models cannot properly predict impacts in a stream system that is already so depleted, and so we have consistently called for a monitoring and adaptive management program capable of detecting and addressing unanticipated impacts.

The agreement among Denver Water, Grand County, and TU responds to these concerns through an extensive package of enhancement and mitigation, guided by an ongoing monitoring and adaptive management effort called “Learning by Doing.” Whether mitigation or enhancement, Denver Water commits to implement this package and that commitment would be included in the 404 permit for the project.

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