Proposed dam on Cache la Poudre River is controversial in Fort Collins, Colorado

Divide develops over dam. A proposed $431 million dam and reservoir project north of Fort Collins riles those who see it as a disastrous strangling of the picturesque Cache la Poudre River. By Michael Booth. The Denver Post.

The dam is said to be justified by projected growth of new homes. Instead it is a massive subsidy for the continuation of a bad idea and an economy destroying practice.

The governments in this country are having a hard time adjusting to the fact that the home building boom is over. Now they should take a “time out” and consider all they have done to facilitate the creation of an unsustainable hosing market directed at the upper class and the upper middle class* — how many resources were unnecessarily sacrificed. They also need to consider their ethics, or more likely lack thereof, and get out of bed with the developers.

The dollar’s international value is now a joke and the inventory of unsold homes is at least a year from being filled. Nevertheless, we keep hearing proposals for more big developments, ones the average American never could afford to buy into. Many in the West are located in or near scenic mountainous areas where they take a toll on wildlife and require a huge new infrastructure (such as this dam).

If the American economy is to ever prosper again, there needs to be much less investment in housing for the relatively well off and much more in science, technology, environmental protection and remediation, efficient health care, education and reeducation, new energy sources and especially efficient use of energy, etc.

This dam is an illustration of the wrong mentality, and it shows the striking decline in this country is not the work of the Republican Administration in Washington alone.

Related story. Fen-ced in: Protected peat bog blocks growth plan for Grand Valley, Colorado. Grand Junction Sentinel.

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*Ironically, despite the huge number of new homes, few are within the reach of the lower middle class and those with fewer means.



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  1. jt Avatar

    Having spent several years in Fort Collins and many, many days in the Poudre Canyon from the top to the bottom, I believe this dam will meet massive amounts of opposition. The locals will simply not put up with it. Conservatives, liberals, independents all love the canyon. The loss of essential deer winter range and Bighorn sheep habitat will not be acceptale to Coloradans. I find it hard to believe that certain segments can not accept the fact that the era of dam building is over. Even Floyd Dominy could not pull this one off.

  2. vicki Avatar

    i agree. I spend huge amounts of time in the Poudre Canyon. This would impact so many animals, and it would effect the drinking Rams as well. The lower prtion of the canyon hosts a drinking haunt and launch pad for kayakers, tubers and rafters alike. Bikers too.
    The damage this would cause to this scenic highway, river and habitat is reprehensable.
    Where is Trout Unlimied? They will have a stance, this is some of the most amazing Gold Metal Trout water to be found.
    This is also in the proximety of the moose recovery habitat that is being so boasted as a success in Colorado. To dam this amazing river would be detremental to a degree that is too high to measure.
    Mr. Dominy needs to find a better location for his head, because it’s obviously burried in his uhrr, ummm, the sand. He isn’t seeing what people with common sense see.

  3. Don George Avatar
    Don George

    I currently live in the Fort Collins area. I have seen tremendous change over the past 20 years. I have seen a huge change in the types of people who have moved into the area. A good percentage of them have come from huge urban areas. To them the 100,000+ population is small and they encourage growth. The housing market is still growing and expanding East of the city. Water is a key issue and as the growth continues more water will be required. Its sad but true! City council continues to be growth oriented because of the dollars it brings in. There seems to be a mentality amongst front range cities to see who can be the biggest and best! It doesn’t matter what the voters say MONEY for the most part will win in the end! Get ready for the Dam, what a shame!


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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