Unusually high precipitation combined with spring snow melt caused the water level in Chatfield Reservoir to reach a height of 5440 feet above sea level in May 2015. This is 4 feet lower than the maximum storage elevation of 5444 feet proposed by the Chatfield Reallocation Project. However, the following photos give some sense of parkland that reallocation would destroy.
Please keep several things in mind while viewing the photos:
If reallocation is allowed, water levels in Chatfield Reservoir would fluctuate over a much larger range than they do currently. In wet years, which are expected to occur in 2 or 3 for years out of 10, non-flood water levels would reach 4 vertical feet above the levels shown in the photos. Because shorelines are sloped, 4 vertical feet translates into much more than 4 horizontal feet. Temporary flood-prevention levels would be even higher.
Trees can survive the kind of short term submersion anticipated for the 2015 flooding. Long term submersion like that proposed by Chatfield Reallocation would kill them.
In dryer years, water levels in Chatfield Reservoir would be near current normal water levels. However, the park would be changed dramatically. Partially submerged trees in these photos would be removed. Facilities would be moved to higher ground. In some cases, higher ground for these facilities would have to be created.
When water levels are low, as they are expected to be much of the time, the relocated facilities would be a long way from the shore. The distance between the bathhouse and the shore at the swim beach would be a particular problem for swimmers with small bladders, but the long distance to the shore would likely affect others as well. For example, long distances to the shore would make handicapped fishing and hand launching small boats more difficult.
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