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ARCHIVED  August 27, 1999

Council member will head conservation group

FORT COLLINS — Charles “Chuck” Wanner, a long-time member of the Fort Collins City Council, is the new executive director of Friends of the Poudre, one of Northern Colorado’s most active conservation groups.Wanner is being paid in part through a $27,000 grant from the River Network, a national watershed conservation group headquartered in Portland, Ore.
“The reason we are doing this now is that watershed issues are really important in this region, especially with the tremendous growth on the Front Range,´ said Gary Kimsey, board chairman of Friends of the Poudre. “To move ahead successfully, we need to have a full-time person.”
The appointment came only after lengthy conversations between Wanner and the city attorney about possible conflict of interest, Kimsey said.
“There will be some fear that ROh my god, theyRre buying Chuck Wanner,” Kimsey conceded. “Well, Chuck is his own person. Chuck is very savvy politically, and would know when to bow out of a conversation when there might be the appearance of conflict.”
Kimsey said Wanner was a natural for the post, having founded the Friends of the Poudre predecessor, Preserve Our Poudre, where he served as volunteer president from 1981 to 1986.
Wanner, whose appointment was announced Aug. 23, was not available for comment by the time The Northern Colorado Business Report went to press.
Wanner joins the group at a time when the debate over management of the Poudre River floodplain reaches a peak. Recommendations by the city utilities staff would halt any development of land within the broad floodplain, and bar any redevelopment of existing properties.
The Friends of the Poudre delegate to the Floodplain Regulations Task Force, David Lauer, has said he supports the city’s recommendations.
The issue will eventually come to a vote before the city council.
Kimsey said he was optimistic that developers and conservationists would find areas of agreement during the decision-making process on the floodplain issue.
“I think the various sides right now think they are far apart on this,” Kimsey said. “But when the process gets going, I think people will find they are closer together than they realize.”
Kimsey said that the conservation group was hardly “radical” in its philosophy, and that many members were mindful of the necessity for economic growth.
“Take me. I’m 50,” Kimsey said. “I went through all the radical stuff as a college student. This is now a world of compromise, and of coalition building.”
As president of Preserve Our Poudre, Wanner successfully built such a coalition of local water project developers and environmentalists that led to the addition of the Poudre to the nation’s Wild and Scenic Rivers.
It remains the only river in Colorado with that distinction.

FORT COLLINS — Charles “Chuck” Wanner, a long-time member of the Fort Collins City Council, is the new executive director of Friends of the Poudre, one of Northern Colorado’s most active conservation groups.Wanner is being paid in part through a $27,000 grant from the River Network, a national watershed conservation group headquartered in Portland, Ore.
“The reason we are doing this now is that watershed issues are really important in this region, especially with the tremendous growth on the Front Range,´ said Gary Kimsey, board chairman of Friends of the Poudre. “To move ahead successfully, we need to have a…

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