Those who enjoy Chatfield State Park ,or plan to in the future, will be denied the pristine beauty it currently provides if the Army Corps of Engineers has its way. If you like to boat, swim, fish, hike,or especially to bird there, much of that ability will disappear with plans to almost double Chatfield's water storage
The plan will simply wreak havoc on Chatfield State Park's wide and varied natural habitats of wetlands, Cottonwood trees, and shorelines. These are critical to many native and migrating species of water fowl and shorebirds - not to mention the reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
The plan would raise the lake level by 12 feet. This increased level is a maximum however, considered to only be reached 3 times each decade. This effectively leaves the lake resembling a oversized tub of water surrounded by a vast mudflat unfit for much of the current wildlife use.
Human recreational use will be greatly affected as well. The current marina is scheduled to be destroyed and replaced with long floating docks. Swim areas will need to be reached after crossing long mud flats. Quiet camp grounds close to the water will be relocated much closer to C-470.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife
department has listed 15 anticipated negative recreational
impacts and nine impacts detrimental to wildlife from the increased water storage levels. This environmental impact seems to be completely ignored by the proposal.
On the surface there seems to be lacking a true evaluation of alternatives to the Army's Chatfield Plan, even though several palatable ones do exist. There is no question the need for increased water reserves exists for Denver's Front Range. However the devastating result of this plan surely needs further scrutiny and vetting.
There are several great opportunities to gain a better appreciation of Chatfield State Park and its threatened natural resources. Contact the Audubon Society of Greater Denver and go on a "Walk the Wetlands Hike" this September 2nd from 8 AM till Noon. Pre-registration is NOT required. Meet in the parking lot at the Audubon Center at Chatfield. The Audubon Center is located on Waterton Road, 4.4 miles south of C-470 and Wadsworth.
Also the last Saturday of each month, this August 25, join with Master Birder Joey Kellner in Chatfield State Park. Joey's birdwalks are scheduled for 4 hours. Meet inside Chatfield State Park at the Platte River parking lot (just east of Kingfisher Bridge) at 7am. No reservations necessary, just show up! Bring binoculars and scope if you have. Please no pets or small children.
Get Informed! Please call us at Front Range Birding at 303-979-2473 for any questions.
To learn more about the proposal
and environmental impact statement,
go to www.chatfieldstudy.org
or call 866-643-5821. Public comments can be sent to
The comment period will close
From all of us at Front Range Birding,
Have a great Summer Bird Walk
Tom, Diane, Shannon, Dave, Jennifer, Megan, Chuck, and Sara
The Front Range Birding Company