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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

November 18, 1997

Lee Carlson 303-275-2370
Pete Plage 303-275-2370

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE ISSUES DRAFT
BIOLOGICAL OPINION ON LAKEWOOD PIPELINE

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today provided a draft biological opinion for the Lakewood Pipeline Project which supplies water to the City of Boulder. The Lakewood Pipeline is used by the City of Boulder to deliver water from the North Boulder Creek Drainage to the city for treatment and municipal use and will replace the existing deteriorating pipeline.

To compensate for the anticipated impacts of the depletion and consistent with the recently signed Platte River Agreement, the draft biological opinion proposes that the City of Boulder be required to contribute to a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation fund used to acquire and restore habitat in the Platte River. The specific amount of the contribution would be determined through an established fair-share formula for calculating dollar payments for depletions. This is consistent with the Platte River Agreement signed by Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska and the Secretary of the Interior to establish a basin-wide endangered species recovery program. The fund is used to acquire water and habitat for the four listed species.

The City of Boulder will require a perpetual easement from the Forest Service authorizing reconstruction, operation, and maintenance of the pipeline which crosses approximately 3 miles of land within the Roosevelt National Forest.

The pipeline is designed to carry approximately 13,800 acre feet of water annually. Use of this water by the City of Boulder results in approximately 4,000 acre feet of depletion to the South Platte River. Since the early 1980's, the Service has taken the position that all depletions in the Platte River basin result in jeopardy to the endangered whooping crane, least tern, piping plover, and pallid sturgeon inhabiting the Platte River in central Nebraska.

Under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, the Forest Service is required to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Fish and Wildlife Service is required to prepare a biological opinion to determine possible impacts to threatened and endangered species that result from the proposed project.

After further discussion with the Forest Service and the City of Boulder, the Service intends to issue a final biological opinion on the Lakewood Pipeline Project.

 


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