On April 12 the Colorado Democratic Party adopted a platform containing the following resolution:
STOP THE CHATFIELD ENLARGEMENT PROJECT:
WHEREAS, Chatfield Reservoir and State Park were built with taxpayer money for flood control and recreation, and is an economic resource for the Denver metro area, hosting approximately 1.6 million visitors annually; and
WHEREAS, the Chatfield Enlargement Project as proposed is a poor use of tax dollars as it will extensively damage all public and environmental resources of Chatfield State Park, inundating river and forest that is habitat for 375 species of birds and
other natural creatures, while other less damaging alternatives are available to project sponsors;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Chatfield Reallocation/Enlargement Project should not be implemented or supported, and that no state money shall be used to subsidize water interests that participate in and support this ill-‐conceived, extremely damaging, and speculative project.
Meanwhile, House Bill 1333, which has passed the Colorado House and is about to be taken up in the Senate, would authorize the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to allocate $87,769,000 of its annual budget for loans to six Chatfield water providers so they can “purchase storage space in the Chatfield reallocation project.”
Now would be a great time to share your feelings about the Chatfield reallocation project with your state senator. Some of our questions and concerns about HB 1333 here. Contact information for your senator is available at www.votesmart.org.
The Senate Agriculture Committee is scheduled to hear HB 1333 at its meeting on Thursday, April 24 starting at 1:30 p.m. If you would like to attend, Senate committee hearings are held on the 3rd floor of the Capitol. HB 1333 is be the first bill considered.
The Army Corps of Engineers plans to issue a Record of Decision in April 2014. More information is available at http://www.savechatfield.org/documents/Chatfield_Reallocation_Study_Final_2014_Jan.pdf.
(Video courtesy of Havens Productions, LLC)
Slides (8.9 MB in pdf format) and audio (4.5 MB in mp3 format) for a Colorado Parks and Wildlife presentation to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission on “Chatfiled Reallocation Project Impacts.”
Please see our autumn foliage photos for a close-up look at some of the habitat that the Reallocation Project would destroy.
Click here for things you can do.
Chatfield State Park, one of Colorado’s most visited State Parks, is threatened by proposed changes that would destroy much of its woodlands and riparian habitat and heavily impact the activities of Park visitors. A consortium of water districts has requested to store additional water in Chatfield Reservoir. The maximum storage level of the Reservoir would be increased by 12 feet, expanding its footprint significantly. Perhaps worse, routine water levels in the reservoir would fluctuate by as much as 21 feet. Swim beach facilities would have to be moved. Woodlands would be inundated. The floating marina would have to be re-anchored to accommodate the larger water level fluctuations. Shady picnic sites in areas to be flooded would have to be moved to higher treeless locations.
Because the consortium owns very junior water rights, water would only approach the maximum level in extremely wet years. Many years the reservoir would be maintained close to its current level. At low water levels, the swim beach facilities would be more than 600 feet from the water’s edge. Rich woodland and riparian habitat along Plum Creek and the South Platte River would be flooded during wet years and transformed into mud flats much of the time. Visitors would have fewer wild birds and other animals to observe and fewer opportunities for contact with nature.
Quality of Life
Metropolitan Denver’s population is predicted to roughly double by 2050. The Draft Feasibility Report / Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) correctly points out the urgent need to develop additional water resources and management strategies. The DEIS does not address the need to augment parks and preserve natural areas for an increased population. Without adequate parks and natural areas, the quality of life in this more crowded metropolitan area would be greatly diminished. There are other options. We should not enhance our water supplies by sacrificing a portion of one of our busiest parks.
For more information please explore the links on this page. You can reach other pages on SaveChatfield.org through the links below the photo at the top of this page. The column at the right contains links to other sites and information from external sources.