The commissioners gave their approval Tuesday to the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District's Windy Gap Firming Project, which would include building the Chimney Hollow Reservoir west of Carter Lake near Loveland.
The project still needs approval from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which is expected to issue a final decision next year.
Environmentalists had complained that the project's plans to divert more Colorado River water from western Colorado to Front Range cities would deplete the river and lead to higher stream temperatures that could threaten trout. Conditions of the permit approved by county commissioners include spending on stream improvement projects and other measures.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)