A couple of years ago I had the chance to fish the Green River with the Rivers of Recovery crew. At the time the notion of taking billions of gallons of water from the river and the Flaming Gorge Resevoir was a side conversation to the fishing and companionship of my colleagues, the guides and the combat vets we were fishing with.
The Green River, Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the surrounding public lands offer some of the best fishing and hunting in the West. There is an $118 million recreation-based economy in the region. Unfortunately the absurd idea of taking water from the Green and sending it via pipeline to Colorado has not gone away. A Colorado developer, Aaron Million, wants to take 81 billion gallons a year out of the Green River and Flaming Gorge, and pump it 560 miles to the Front Range of Colorado.
As Trout Unlimited’s Walt Gasson said, “You know, Million pipeline is a proposal that is elegant in both its simplicity and its insanity.”
Take a moment to watch the video on the Sportsmen For The Green website. It is a compelling look at the Green River, Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the people who live, work and play there.
When you come right down to it the sheer madness of this proposal should be enough to doom it. But these days it seems bat shit crazy is a virtue so we can’t just hope this one goes away. If you want to lend a hand then click on this Join the Fight link.
Facts courtesy of Sportsmen For The Green:
Initial construction costs for this project will exceed $7 billion, with annual operating costs totaling over $123 million. Yet that’s not the worst part. The Million Pipeline is a potential economic and environmental boondoggle that could unleash a host of destructive impacts on local communities, fish and game habitats, and taxpayers in three states. A pipeline project of this magnitude has the
- Ruin world class kokanee salmon and lake trout populations by
increasing water temperatures and raising salinity levels.
- Destroy the Blue-ribbon fishery for trophy rainbow and brown
trout in the Green River.
- Harm critical mule deer and pronghorn habitat and hunting
- De-water wetlands in the basin and impede waterfowl hunting.
- Impact Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, Browns Park
- National Wildlife Refuge, Dinosaur National Monument, as
well as Ouray National Wildlife Refuge.
- Lower water levels significantly, making it virtually impossible
to access the reservoir for recreation.
- Further the spread of cheat grass, tamarisk and quagga mussels,
which will harm hunting and fishing in the area.
- Force the government to spend millions of dollars in taxpayer
money to reconstruct boat launches, campgrounds, marinas,
fishing piers and other access points.
- Destroy a $118 million recreation-based economy the
communities in the region depend on for their survival.
- Slow the recovery of endangered native fish like the razorback
sucker, Colorado pikeminnow, and bonytail chub. Until
these fish are recovered and removed from listing under the
Endangered Species Act, the area’s recreation-based
economy will continue to operate with restrictions required
under federal law.