Here’s an in-depth look at project proponents’ assurances, from Ryan Boldrey writing for the Highlands Ranch Herald. From the article:
As a public comment period nears its Sept. 6 close, the issues of environmental and recreational impact remain at the forefront of the discussion.
Both the Audubon Society and the South Platte Working Group – which includes officials from the City of Littleton and South Suburban Parks and Recreation District – have expressed concerns. Issues include possible negative effects on animal habitat, potential damage to the South Platte River and loss of trees and recreational amenities.
Proponents say all environmental and recreational impacts would be fully mitigated.
“Change is never easy and we are not going to suggest that it is going to look exactly like it does today,” said Steve Welchert of the Chatfield Water for Life Coalition. “But more water is a good thing, it increases habitat for everybody. The bike paths, hiking paths and marina would all be moved, but not eliminated. Included in the cost of the project is $45 million dedicated to the modification of recreational facilities.”
According to Rick McLoud, water resource manager for Centennial Water and Sanitation District, another $70 million of the total $180 million price tag is dedicated to environmental mitigation…
According to McLoud, the project would take extra water from the South Platte River during high-runoff flow months such as April, May and June and hold it in the reservoir. Sixty percent of that water would then end up being released downstream at points later in the summer during high-drought times.
“In essence we would be doing a re-timing of when water would be flowing downstream,” McLoud said. “We would see stream enhancements and work on the channel configuration to aid the low-flow times, benefitting not just farmers in Weld County and people in the suburbs, but habitat as well.”