Chatfield Reservoir: Corps delays EIS on proposed expansion

February 18, 2013

 

The US Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will delay the final EIS (environmental impact statement) as to the proposed expansion of Chatfield Reservoir due to receipt of more than 900 public comments on the draft plan last fall.  The EIS had been due in late December.

See link below to the article in the Columbine Courier on February 13, 2013 by Ramsey Scott --

www.columbinecourier.com/content/flood-comments-delays-report-chatfield-reservoir-expansion 

 

CWF had submitted comments on the Corps draft EIS on September 5, 2012.   The following are excerpts from the CWF comments:

"....Chatfield State Park is one of the crown jewels of the state park system and it must be protected.  Chatfield State Park and Cherry Creek State Park are the two most heavily used parks in the state.  Chatfield State Park supports more than 1.5 million visitor days annually."

"....We applaud the Denver Water Department’s past efforts to try to maintain water levels in the reservoir with the least amount of fluctuation.  In combination with excellent management by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, this Park supports hundreds of acres of prime riparian woodland and wetlands, as well as one of the best reservoir fisheries in the state."

".... There are more than one hundred very old and very large cottonwood trees that are unique, essentially irreplaceable during the life of the project, and considered rare by the Colorado Heritage Program that would be cut down and removed under the preferred Alternative.  These trees existed before the dam was built and should be left alone.  The relatively stable pool has enabled the development of beaches, picnic areas, shore fishing, boat ramps and a marina that provide very important recreational opportunities close to home for the Denver metro area population. The recreational value of this reservoir and surrounding lands cannot be taken lightly.  This asset provides important opportunities to engage young people in outdoor activities, including biking, hiking, fishing access, and observing wildlife."

"....As stated above, a new preferred alternative is necessary.  It should focus on minimizing pool fluctuations, impacts to the riparian and wetland habitats, and degradation of water quality and the sport fishery both in the reservoir and downstream.  Such revised alternative should be circulated in a Supplemental DEIS.  When formulating such new alternative, much more emphasis must be given to water conservation practices, and the project sponsors must commit to them in the document.  Before more valuable riparian resources are destroyed, providers must impose additional water conservation practices."