INCOMING! Lease Sale Around Paonia Reservoir and Watersheds


On July 2, 2018 the Bureau of Land Management announced an oil and gas lease sale in the North Fork Valley. Of the nearly quarter-million acres offered in this sale across Colorado, now nearly 2,800 acres are in the North Fork Valley in our watershed and around the Paonia Reservoir.

The proposal to lease these parcels is irresponsible, unnecessary, and dangerous:

  1. North Fork Valley farms are the organic breadbasket of Colorado, offering a safety net to what are currently at risk or likely contaminated farms. Four of the top agricultural producing counties in the State are also four of the top natural gas-producing counties in the state. Delta County is the 5th largest agricultural producing county with 1250 farms.-
  2. The parcels around Paonia Reservoir are dangerously close to the dam. Canadian researchers have found that fracking results in induced seismicity and recommend a 3-mile buffer around sensitive infrastructure such as dams and reservoirs. These parcels are within that recommended buffer.
  3. Rural gas gathering pipelines are unregulated, and the BLM should impose a moratorium on oil and gas leasing and development until the safety of rural gas gathering pipelines can be independently monitored and inspected.
  4. They are in a geologically unstable area, which saw the largest landslide in Colorado history.


The deadline for Preliminary EA Comments is September 11, 2017.

For all of these reasons stated above and more, these lease parcels should be withdrawn from the December 2018 lease sale. More importantly the BLM should consider the reasonable no-leasing alternative already demanded by 42,000 people in 2016; it’s the only way to guarantee that this irreplaceable corner of Colorado is not irreparably harmed.


Get informed on this lease sale. You can submit comments on the Preliminary EA until September 11th. Use the resources below to craft substantive, personal comments on this proposal.

The Preliminary Environmental Assessment is available at:

To help you better understand where these lease parcels are located in the North Fork Valley, how it relates to other projects, and what’s at stake see:

Fact Sheet: North Fork Valley December Lease Sale EA

Updated Interactive North Fork Valley Map with Lease Sale Parcels

Historical Landslides and North Fork Valley December 2018 Lease Sale Parcels

Letter writing tips:

How To Write An Effective Comment Letter
Suggested Comments by Topic


The BLM has now fixed its online comment portal, which you can find here. Use this link to submit comments directly on the Preliminary EA. This link has been faulty in the past, so please send your comments via email to the links below. Thank you!


You can send your comments to:

Please copy CHC on comments at: