Chatfield State Park to be destroyed by greed

An insipid, half-baked plan to destroy Chatfield State Park is now going full-steam ahead. Today The Denver Post has weighed in on the side of the “greed” faction. The opportunity to speak out is closing fast – comments are due by September 3.  For what you can do, go to the Save Chatfield web site.

I have some news for the Post.  Water is quite scarce out here, and no one’s making any more of it! We can only take it away from a place where it already exists. People need to think about this whenever yet another scatter-brained water project that destroys natural habitat is proposed. We need to be able to say “no” to the developers.

I haven't watered our front-yard flower garden in several weeks.

First, this project is not necessary.  Most of the household water in Denver and surrounding areas is going to blue grass lawns. So we’d rather destroy Chatfield than give up our blue grass lawns; isn’t that the issue?  And, there is nothing inevitable about population increase or increasing water use. Where, precisely, does the Post think that this is all going to end? I wonder if the Post has ever heard of birth control, restricting development, or xeriscape lawns?

Secondly, this project likely won’t even work. According to the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, this project will result in “zero dependable yield” of water. At best, it might provide additional water storage for wet years. But with climate change, those wet years will decrease in frequency, and then you will have destroyed Chatfield State Park for nothing.

Third, this project will destroy the heart of Chatfield State Park. It will raise the water level and destroy swim beaches, woodlands, and shaded picnic sites, as well as over 587 acres of irreplaceable habitat.  Not only is Chatfield State Park a beautiful, well-developed park (with lots of wildlife and birds), it is also Colorado’s most popular state park, attracting both local and out-of-state visitors.  Colorado will lose revenue if this project goes forward. Who wants to visit the State of Fracking and Pointless Water Projects?

Frederick Bonfils, one of the founders of The Denver Post, famously said “‘Tis a privilege to live in Colorado.” He wanted to convey a sense of the natural beauty of Colorado and, I believe, our responsibility to care for it. The Post has betrayed the spirit of this saying with their short-sighted reasoning.