Planning for Chatfield Reallocation is ongoing, even though the Audubon Society of Greater Denver (ASGD) has taken the US Army Corps of Engineers to court. In late August, contractors came in and pumped 18 inches of water out of Blackbird (also called Discovery) Pond in the southwest corner of Chatfield State Park. ASGD uses the pond under a State special use permit for its environmental education programs. Water was also pumped out of “Turtle Pond”, a former stock pond near Plum Creek well known to birdwatchers.
Blackbird Pond, a popular fishing spot, is the home of several American Beavers. Northern Leopard Frogs, a Colorado species of special concern, also live in the area. The pumping was only discovered because ASGD staff members taking visitors on a tour of the area saw the pipes being removed. (The Corps had notified the ASGD legal team in March that “two ponds will be drained” but nothing more specific was included in the description.)
Inquiries to the Corps of Engineers, the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Chatfield State Park staff revealed that the pumping was a “test” to see if water from those ponds could be used to replace wetlands that will be destroyed by the Reallocation. Because the water levels in the ponds have been slow to recover, the tentative answer is NO, although that could change.
ALERT: Please be on the lookout for any activity such as pumping water, earth-moving, tree-cutting, road-building, and other destruction/construction in Chatfield State Park. If you see such activities, please contact us and report them to the ASGD office at 303-973-9530 immediately.