South Platte River basin: Chatfield Reservoir expansion would change the character of Chatfield State Park

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From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

“It now appears impacts of this project will be quite severe and cannot be mitigated,” said Polly Reetz, conservation coordinator for the Audubon Society of Greater Denver. The new water that would be stored to sustain 15 south-metro suburbs “wouldn’t be there all the time, and you can’t get trees to grow back if you don’t have water all the time. . . . What you’ll have is a big, weedy mud flats,” Reetz said. “If it is a big mud flat, it’s not going to be nice for recreation or anything else.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper and state water-supply planners support the Chatfield Reservoir Reallocation Project. Some conservationists are also supportive, saying the “reallocation” of Chatfield from flood control to holding up to 40,000 acre- feet of water is less harmful than other projects to supply suburbs.

State environmental overseers acknowledged significant harm — including the reduction of rivers and the creation of mud flats. “One of the identified impacts will be a mud-flats area. We’re working to determine what the best way to mitigate that will be,” said Alex Davis, assistant director of the state Department of Natural Resources.

The project would flood 587 acres of 5,400-acre Chatfield State Park as water levels rise by up to 12 feet. More than 1.6 million people visit the park each year, spending $9.5 million in the process.

More Chatfield Reservoir coverage here and here.

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