From Vail Daily (John LaConte):
A group of Colorado residents demonstrated Saturday against the construction of a reservoir in the Homestake Valley, marching through the streets of Red Cliff and treating passing vehicles to a variety of colorful signs.
If you were headed south on Highway 24 on Saturday afternoon, you might have been able to read a clever statement like “Stop the whole dam thing,” and “They can’t ‘fen’ for themselves.”
Or you might have noticed a message or two that was more direct. Using an elongated trash picking tool to hoist her sign, Silverthorne resident Jan Goodwin wrote “CO Springs doesn’t need Red Cliff’s water.”
The group is opposed to building a new reservoir in the Homestake Valley 6 miles southeast of Red Cliff, which would be used by the people of Colorado Springs and Aurora, who hold water rights in the area, including the rights to the water in the existing Homestake Reservoir.
But the nuances of the issue, including the sensitive wetlands known as “fens” and the study required for “the whole dam thing,” as referenced in the signs, was also discussed among the demonstrators. In order to construct a new dam and reservoir, the area will require some study, and the Forest Service has already approved that study, which will allow the cities to drill “10 bore samples up to 150-feet deep using a small, rubber-tracked drill rig as well as collect geophysical data using crews on foot,” according to the Forest Service, along with the construction of more than a half-mile of temporary roads to facilitate the work.
The effort could also impact up to 180 acres of wetlands on lower Homestake Creek, wetlands that include fens — groundwater-fed wetlands which began forming during the last ice age. A scientifically unproven idea to relocate the fens is being spearheaded and paid for by Aurora Water and the Board of Water Works of Pueblo…
[Charles] Fleming said he would like to see the people of Colorado Springs and Aurora make more of a good faith effort toward water conservation before seeking another reservoir in the Homestake Valley.
“I’d like to see them get rid of the green grass and focus more on xeriscaping first,” he said.
Parks said as a hotelier in Red Cliff, she sees the recreational appeal of the Homestake Valley as a wild space, not a space that would benefit from the creation of a National Recreation Area or reservoir.
One version of the reservoir envisions an encroachment into 500 acres of the Holy Cross Wilderness area of the White River National Forest, which would require an act of Congress.