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Discussion Starter #1
Chatfield expansion wins final approval
Audubon Society remains opposed to loss of habitat


The Army Corps of Engineers has given final approval to a controversial expansion of Chatfield Reservoir to help meet a growing need for water along the Front Range.

The chosen option for expanding Chatfield, labeled “Alternative 3,” will raise the water levels by a maximum of 12 feet and increase the maximum storage by 20,600 acre-feet. Some 587 acres of Chatfield State Park, Colorado’s most popular, will be flooded in peak storage years to provide more water for urban and agricultural users.

The corps estimates in a news release that the expansion of Chatfield will yield about 8,539 acre-feet of water per year. The project is estimated to cost $183 million, which will come from the water users involved with the project.

“Chatfield is one of the state’s premier parks, so in the development (of a plan) the recreational uses were considered,” said Eileen Williamson, spokeswoman for the Corps of Engineers. “The park recreation uses will continue. It may be different. However, that being said, there’s some speculation that park users will be able to experience the same quality, or improved quality, of recreation that is available now.”

A water use agreement between the corps and the Colorado Water Conservation Board, which is representing the dozen or so water users involved, must be signed before design and implementation of the project can begin. The goal is to have that agreement in place by Sept. 30, the end of the federal government’s fiscal year, Williamson said.

The corps has estimated that the demand for water in the region will grow to 365,601 acre-feet a year in 2050, about 116,000 acre-feet more than in 2010.

“It’s a key project that helps us with the reliability of our water supply. It’s extremely important to us, and that’s why we’ve been working on this for many years,” said Rick McCloud, water resource manager for the Centennial Water and Sanitation District. “We’ve been very careful to address all the impacts and develop mitigation plans to responsibly address them to lessen or to completely eliminate those impacts. It will be a very open process. People will know about the actions we’ll be taking.”

The expansion of Chatfield will flood habitat for several species of wildlife, including the threatened Preble’s meadow jumping mouse, along with recreational facilities like the swim beach and the dock. Much of the cost associated with the expansion involves mitigating the loss of habitat and recreational facilities.

While several environmental groups that initially were against the expansion have dropped their opposition, the Audubon Society of Greater Denver remains opposed to the project.

Polly Reetz, a member of the Audubon Society, said the project’s impacts will be too extreme for what could be an unreliable source of water. Since the water users in the project have only junior rights, in dry years there won’t be much return on the cost of the expansion, Reetz said.

While mitigation efforts will secure, through purchase or easements, habitats for affected wildlife, Reetz said that land already exists and can’t be considered new habitat. She also pointed out that land secured through an easement typically remains closed to public uses.

“You can’t mitigate the loss of 100-year-old forests. Some of those trees predate the dam, and you can’t just create that somewhere else,” Reetz said. “They’re losing land, and we’re not getting accessible land in return. It’s another unmitigate-able thing. They’re not going to be able to replace accessible land.”



http://www.columbinecourier.com/content/chatfield-expansion-wins-final-approval
 

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It'll create a couple years of great reservoir fishing, but unless I'm mistaken-- the Chatty ponds are gone...
 

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This sucks for all of Chatfield's regular users. By the time folks figure out what's going on it will be too late.

"They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot." :'(
 

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a lot of great new areas for the pike!!! :thumb:
 

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I "stole" this off another site:

For better or worse the expansion of Chatfield has been approved. Work on the project wont begin for another 12-18 months. They will begin working during the Fall- Winter months through the Summer and complete the project the following Winter. The park will not be closed at any time. When work is performed on 1 Marina area, the other Marina area will remain open. All normal activities including boating/fishing will not be affected/closed. They will do everything they can to minimize effecting park normal operations.
Some trees will be removed around shoreline areas and used in the lake for fish habitat structure. They will begin working on new roads/facilities, and reinforcing shorelines in the beginning stages. They will have a website in a couple months that will have updated information on an ongoing basis.

Still think it sucks...
Water board gets thier "greasy' hands on another entity..
For what? Excess storage 2 out of ten years?
 

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Can't really think that by looking at the growth area that we're gaining all that much as fisherman. There should be a bit more structure in the lake, and some of the current structure will be deeper on average.

What really strikes a nerve is not the expansion itself, but the variability in the water level that will likely come with the change in management philosophy from a flood mitigation to a water supply reservoir. I'm not a big fan of annual stocking to provide a recreational fishery, I'd much rather see self-propogating fish stocks. Right now Chatty has natural recruitment of perch, shad, smallies, suckers, and carp (maybe various panfish & LMB as well ... they're in the ponds now, so the main lake is about to get infused with them). I'm sure a few walleye & trout successfully spawn, but those fisheries are almost totally dependent on stocking to maintain their populations. Now that the water levels will be changing more frequently, how will the fish populations react? Lots of those fish are spring spawners, so if the lake levels are low prior to run-off, then the lake fills in May-July, will the 10'+ change in depth allow for a successful spawn? Denver Water is notorious for not giving a rat's azz about fish stocks, so I can't believe they'll move water appropriately to help out fish recruitment.

Still think it's a good idea? I'm not at all sold on the idea at all.

Best regards,
Dogwood
 

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Lookin forward to seeing a jet-skier nail a 100 year old tree. Poor tree...
 

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Should have built Two Forks.
Yah, I was all for it but the greenies wanted to save the poor preble jumping mouse. Now we have a great big reservoir in Parker without water that you won't be able to put a motor boat on anyway. Any increase in water volume and fish habitat is a good thing but I wouldn't get too excited the users will suffer during the construction stage and it appears to be a minimal increase.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Can't really think that by looking at the growth area that we're gaining all that much as fisherman. There should be a bit more structure in the lake, and some of the current structure will be deeper on average.

What really strikes a nerve is not the expansion itself, but the variability in the water level that will likely come with the change in management philosophy from a flood mitigation to a water supply reservoir. I'm not a big fan of annual stocking to provide a recreational fishery, I'd much rather see self-propogating fish stocks. Right now Chatty has natural recruitment of perch, shad, smallies, suckers, and carp (maybe various panfish & LMB as well ... they're in the ponds now, so the main lake is about to get infused with them). I'm sure a few walleye & trout successfully spawn, but those fisheries are almost totally dependent on stocking to maintain their populations. Now that the water levels will be changing more frequently, how will the fish populations react? Lots of those fish are spring spawners, so if the lake levels are low prior to run-off, then the lake fills in May-July, will the 10'+ change in depth allow for a successful spawn? Denver Water is notorious for not giving a rat's azz about fish stocks, so I can't believe they'll move water appropriately to help out fish recruitment.

Still think it's a good idea? I'm not at all sold on the idea at all.

Best regards,
Dogwood
If you look through the mitigation report they adderess the spawning of fish and the release of water.


In a few minutes i will look through the report and see if i can get that info.
 

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I'm all for it! If you are against the project and have any landscaping that needs watering, or play golf, you don't have much ground to stand on...
 

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I'm all for it! If you are against the project and have any landscaping that needs watering, or play golf, you don't have much ground to stand on...
Exactly......Old men don't like change though so I understand why some are mad.
 

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RVinson,
I only read what you posted here, so if there is more information at the link you posted, I'll have to go back and re-read (not going to do it from work). The problem I see with the information you quoted is that they didn't address the other side of the concern for the springtime. They addressed the part where the walleyes/smallies get washed out of the lake, but they didn't address the raise in lake level that is typical for a reservoir being managed as a water supply facility during early summer. Many of the water supply lakes (Granby, Spinney, etc) come out of ice at their lowest level of the year, and shortly thereafter the water starts to warm, triggeing the spring spawners to start the process. Then run-off starts and the lakes start to rapidly fill. I have no idea how the rapid change in depth (water temp, light penetration, oxygen content) affect the survival rates of the eggs during their gestation periods. I could be barking up a tree here, but I figure that fish choose their bed locations based on the conditions during the time of the spawn rather than where they might be a month later when the eggs hatch.

Thanks for taking the time to provide the information.

Best regards,
Dogwood
 

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Discussion Starter #20
4.1.3.3 Water Releases

A.
In general, Project Participants, in consultation with CPW, will use good faith efforts to
adjust the timing and amount of water releases from Chatfield so as to beneficially impact recreation and the environment. Upon request of CPW, water releases to the South Platte River from Participants’ storage accounts will be made through the Chatfield State Fish Unit, so long as the water released can be appropriately administered by the State and Division Engineers and creates no injury to other water rights. CPW will be solely responsible for replacing in time, location and amount any out of priority depletions caused by the Project Participants’ water being routed through the Chatfield State Fish Unit.

B.
1. From March 1 to April 15, to avoid impacts to walleye spawning, Participants
commit to limit the decrease in the reservoir water level elevation from the Participants’ 20 storage accounts to no more than 6” per day (which is equivalent to no more than 420 cfs of outflow in excess of inflow). The participants do not anticipate that, under normal circumstances, their releases will cause a rapidly decreasing pool. The Parties recognize that the only time during the period from March 1 to April 15 that releases would be greater than 6” per day is likely during a flood event or in anticipation of a flood event. In such instances, Project Participants are not responsible for decreases in elevation greater than 6”. At all times, Project Participants are only responsible for releases that occur as a result of their use of their stored water.

2. To avoid impacts on smallmouth bass spawning, Participants will consult with
CPW on operational actions to minimize adverse impacts to smallmouth bass
propagation.

C. Participants will limit releases from the reallocated project storage space, as accounted
for by the Division of Water Resources and recorded on the Chatfield Storage
Accounting Sheet, such that:
1. Between May 1 and July 15, the water level decline of that space attributed to
Participant releases is not greater than 8,000 AF;
2. Between July 16 and August 31, the water level decline attributed to Participant
releases will not exceed 4,000 AF; and,
3. During the period of May 1 to August 31, the collective daily discharge from the
reservoir from the Chatfield Participants shall not exceed 420 cfs of outflow in excess of
inflow.

However, the commitments under the above three provisions may be suspended for the
remainder of a calendar year if the following two conditions are met:
1. At any time during the calendar year prior to August 31 the United States
Drought Monitor indicates that a “severe drought” (also known as a D2 Severe Drought)
exists for four consecutive weeks anywhere within the Participants source watersheds
or service areas.
2. Participants who provide a municipal water supply impose some measure of
watering restrictions on customers within their service areas.

It is expected that the Parties will use the bimonthly operational meetings described in
Section 4.1.3.1 to forecast whether the above conditions are likely occur in a given year
and use good faith efforts to minimize environmental and recreational impacts due to
the suspension of these operational commitments.

D. Between July 15 and the following May 1, so long as Participants will not lose yield and
are reasonably able to make use of a release of water from storage, Participants will
make good faith efforts to work with CPW to time the releases out of Chatfield in a
manner that would benefit the fishery and riparian environment downstream of
Chatfield dam.

21

This plan may be changed from time to time only by mutual agreement of the parties.
 
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