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For Immediate Release
3/27/2024
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The World’s Rivers, 970-218-8310

We’re Driving A Nail In Coffintop Reservoir Near The Town of Lyons, CO, Opposing Its Water Rights Application

Lyons, CO: Today, Save The World’s Rivers (previously named “Save The Colorado”) filed a statement of opposition in Colorado Water Court Division 1 against the diligence application for the proposed Coffintop Reservoir near the town of Lyons. Save The World’s Rivers alleges that the application, by the St. Vrain & Left Hand Water Conservancy District (“District”), violates several tenants of Colorado water law, including potentially “speculating” and “hoarding” of water that the applicant openly states that they may not use.

Even though the District has owned the water right for 46 years, they’ve made zero progress in actually moving forward with the reservoir or permits for it. Further, even though the applicant has to prove to the court that they “can and will” build the massive dam and reservoir in order to keep the water right, the applicant has openly stated on its website that it “may choose to move” the water storage to a different site that will require an additional water court process.

Save The World’s Rivers’ statement of opposition is posted here.
The District’s Coffintop diligence application is posted here.
A map of the proposed Coffintop Reservoir looming over the Town of Lyons is here.

The proposed Coffintop Reservoir is a massive dam and reservoir that would hold 84,000 acre feet of water with a dam up to 325 feet high. The dam would loom over the Town of Lyons and the local junior high school on South St. Vrain Creek. The diligence application clearly states that  the proposed huge Coffintop Dam and Reservoir is a “critical element of the District’s Integrated Water Supply Plan.

For decades, the District has kept the Coffintop Dam and Reservoir proposal alive, at various times inflaming the opposition of local people and groups in and around the Town of Lyons. At one point during the decades-long controversy, local opposition made a model of the proposed huge Coffintop dam on South St. Vrain Creek towering over the Town. A model of the dam still appears in the local Redstone Museum here.

“The District needs to kill this massive dam once and for all,” said Gary Wockner of Save The World’s Rivers. “It would be exorbitantly expensive, require decades of permitting, and the local community does not want it. Continuing to limp along with diligence applications in water court simply wastes property taxpayers’ money and prolongs everyone’s misery.”

On November 20, 2023, Lyons Town Board passed a resolution titled, “PROTECTING THE NORTH AND SOUTH ST. VRAIN CREEK WATERSHEDS AND THEIR ASSOCIATED ECOSYSTEMS,” that guarantees protections for the St. Vrain Creeks that would be dramatically undermined by the Coffintop Dam and Reservoir (read more here).

Save The World’s Rivers is represented by the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Environmental Law Clinic.

This press release is posted here.

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