Basic Facts

 Land lost to inundation:

  • 587 acres of wildlife habitat
  • 90 acres of shoreline (not usually counted because “it will be replaced”)
  • 32 acres affected by facilities relocation

For a grand total of over 700 acres of forests, wetlands, ponds, grasslands, hike/bike/run/horseback trails, shoreline, etc. affected. This includes 454 acres of habitat for the Threatened Preble’s meadow jumping mouse (of which 150 acres are critical habitat) and over 200 acres of forest.

Net losses:

  • the diverse complex of cottonwood forest (including 90-year-old trees) along the South Platte River, a habitat type rare locally and globally
  • 1.19 miles of free-flowing stream habitat
  • 587 acres of publicly accessible land in the Chatfield State Park
  • 150 acres of critical habitat for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse

These cannot be replaced.

Promised mitigation:

  • A highly speculative conversion of 165 acres of the Chatfield State Park’s uplands to various kinds of other habitat types: trees, wetlands, shrublands. We still don’t know where they can get a reliable water supply for these new habitats, and creation of wetlands is difficult.
  • Acquisition of lands along Plum Creek and W. Plum Creek, which may or may not be available for easement or purchase and may or may not be open to the public.
  • Improvement of a county road along Sugar Creek in the Pike National Forest for Preble’s mouse habitat. This is lower quality critical habitat ( less than one mouse per acre) while we are losing 454 acres of higher-quality habitat (about 2 mice per acre).

Note that mitigation means “make less severe, serious or painful.” It does not mean “replace.”


  • A relatively small, highly unreliable water supply – the Corps of Engineers says the “dependable yield is 0”.
  • Little, if any, increase in water surface available for recreation. The water won’t be in the Park most of the time because the water providers involved have very recent water rights – their buckets will be the last in line any time water is available. According to data in the Environmental Impact Statement, the full reallocated capacity of Chatfield Reservoir would have been used in only 16 years of between 1942 and 2000.
  • Drastic impacts to Chatfield State Park. All the impacts will be in the Park; only 40% of the mitigation will be.

Please see our “What You Can Do” page for suggestions about how you can help stop this boondoggle.