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URNRD praised for strategy PDF Print E-mail

Dear Editor:
I would like to congratulate the Upper Republican Natural Resources District (URNRD) for successfully purchasing land and making plans to augment the stream. The Rock Creek augmentation looks like an excellent project. Obtaining support for the project from the state is also a major accomplishment.  
While there are still things that could go wrong, I see this as a major step in the right direction and one that will ease many of the water concerns for the URNRD. We still have a declining aquifer that we must address, but that is a separate issue that we will now have time to work with in a rational manner.
The URNRD will now direct its money toward the Rock Creek augmentation, and that money will no longer be available to the other NRDs for use on a joint project.
While a joint project might have been better, it requires cooperation between all of the NRDs. That wasn’t present. Now, the Middle and Lower NRDs will need to find ways to keep their districts in compliance but using fewer acres with which to fund their choices.
I see several things that have changed that make this augmentation project possible now where it wasn’t possible a few years ago. 
One, the director of the DNR has changed. The former director created several insurmountable hurdles. If she were still running the department, this project probably would not be happening.
Two, the Lower Republican NRD forced the state and the other NRDs to find solutions without their participation.
Three, the perseverance of the URNRD board. I have strongly disagreed with our board’s use of closed door sessions and their acceptance of flawed groundwater model inputs. 
At the same time, the director and many of the board members have volunteered a large number of hours working very hard to come up with a solution that helps all of our district . I think they have done a good job of that. I applaud the results. This should protect the economy of the area and the livelihood of those in the Rapid Response area.
Assuming the state honors the commitments it has made to the URNRD in exchange for its cooperation in the process, then it appears that the strategy of the URNRD board was wise and produced results that may resolve one of the most important issues for this area. 
I hope that, as we address the next major issue (the declining aquifer), the process will be open and that all options will be given a fair hearing. I trust they will.
Steve Smith
Imperial