NISP Overview

Proposed Fish and Wildelife and Enhancement Plan

The Northern Integrated Supply Project is a proposed water storage and distribution project that will supply 15 Northern Front Range water partners with 40,000 acre-feet of new, reliable water supplies.

The project consists of:

  • Two reservoirs (Glade and Galeton)
  • A forebay reservoir
  • Two pump plants
  • Pipelines to deliver water for exchange with two irrigation companies
  • Improvements to an existing canal to divert water off the Poudre River near the canyon mouth

 At 170,000 acre-feet, Glade Reservoir is slightly larger than neighboring Horsetooth Reservoir. Construction of Glade Reservoir will require the relocation of seven miles of U.S. Highway 287 northwest of Fort Collins and will provide a recreational amenity to Northern Colorado.

NISP will store excess water currently leaving the state in years of abundance. Since 2009, and including this year, more than 3 million acre-feet of water will have left the state downstream to Nebraska over and above legal requirements. Through an exchange with two local ditch companies, the project will provide some water in all years.

Project Status

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began the Environmental Impact Statement process in August 2004 and issued a draft for public comment in April 2008. In February 2009, the Corps announced they would move forward with a Supplemental Draft DEIS to include additional studies primarily centered around hydrologic and flow modeling.  The Supplemental Draft DEIS was released June 19, 2015, for public comment.

The Corps is currently working to complete the Final Environmental Impact Statement for NISP. Following release of the Supplemental Draft EIS in June 2015 and subsequent public comment, the Corps has been sorting through and addressing more than 500 comments and 4,000 pages of documentation as it works toward a FEIS.

The Corps estimates completing the FEIS in 2017, with a Record of Decision scheduled for 2018.

In the meantime, Northern Water staff, working on behalf of the 15 NISP participants, have begun discussions with federal and state agencies on the fish and wildlife mitigation plan and water quality certification. The ROD will be the federal agency’s final determination on whether the project can proceed, and if so, what mitigation and enhancement conditions will be placed on the NISP participants as they build NISP. The state has similar determinations and requirements through its Fish and Wildlife Mitigation Plan and Section 401 Water Quality Certification processes.

NISP in the News

New NISP plan: Add to Poudre flows in Fort Collins - Coloradoan, April 29, 2016

Colorado Water Plan may be good omen for NISP – Coloradoan, Nov. 19, 2015

In July, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held open houses and public hearings in Fort Collins and Greeley for the NISP Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

On June 19, the NISP SDEIS became available for review on the Army Corps of Engineers website. 

The Corps accepted written comments on the NISP SDEIS through Sept. 3.

A final EIS is expected to be completed in 2016 with a final permit decision due in 2017.

Another Milestone - Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement Released:

 Northern Water News Release 

 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers News Release

 SDEIS, additional information at U.S. Army Corps website

 NISP Endorsement/Supporters List

Statement by Northern Water General Manager Eric Wilkinson
 Regarding City of Fort Collins’ Staff Recommendation on NISP

NISP Reaches Another Milestone – Fort Morgan Times, June 19, 2015

Northern Water: NISP Reservoir Project Reaches Another Milestone – Barn Media, June 19, 2015

Another Mile Marker Approaches On NISP’s Long Road To New Reservoirs – KUNC, June 17, 2015

NISP Mitigation Plan

Northern Water and the NISP participants have developed and submitted a plan to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that will mitigate environmental effects identified in the Supplemental Draft EIS. This Proposed Conceptual Mitigation Plan is Appendix F in the Supplemental Draft EIS.

Mitigation is Required by Federal Laws
Northern Water and the NISP participants are seeking a permitunder Section 404 of the Clean Water Act from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Regulations under the Clean Water Act, as well as the National Environmental Policy Act under which the EIS is being developed, require that applicants take all appropriate and reasonable measures to avoid and minimize adverse impacts. For impacts that cannot be avoided, compensatory mitigation is required.
Mitigation plan components were developed based on federal requirements, the nature of environmental effects, and comments received on the Draft EIS. In general, the mitigation activities are located as close as possible to the where the effect occurs. For newly constructed mitigation projects, mitigation was located in areas where land is owned by a public entity, which allows public access to the improvements in most cases.  Where possible, mitigation activities are designed to improve multiple environmental resources. 

Proposed Fish and Wildelife and Enhancement Plan

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  NISP - Printable PDF Map
Printable PDF map shows NISP: two preferred alternative reservoirs, proposed U.S. 287 highway realignment and pipelines for ditch company water exchanges.  
Click map to view it. 

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