The battle over the possible expansion of Gross Reservoir in Boulder County has been going on for years. Denver Water wants to expand the current reservoir and construct what would be the largest dam in the state. Water to fill the reservoir would come from rivers in the western slope, which has prompted groups like Save the Colorado to raise awareness about the impact of depleting already stressed water systems.
Annie Hodges, a coordinator with TEG, the Environmental Group which is organizing a coalition to continue to expand the project, says that in addition to the impact on the Colorado River, the construction project would be the largest such project ever to take place in Boulder County and would lead to huge environmental impacts including the destruction of thousands of trees.
“Really what this is about is are we going to let this utility company come into our community and cause this destruction…what do we want to stand for and what type of quality of life do we want to defend?”
While the Army Corps of Engineers has issued their permit to Denver water, there is one more federal permit that needs to be issued. The FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Agency) is still to issue a permit pertaining to the expansion of a hydro-power system at the dam. Hodges says that while there are no more opportunities for the public to comment on the federal permit process, they can have their voices heard with the Boulder County Commissioners who could weigh in on the project after FERC issues their permit.
“Really public opinion can only matter in terms of holding our public officials accountable for taking action. So mostly what it’s about is spreading the word and letting other people know that this project is even happening. Most people have never heard of this construction project, they have no idea that it’s happening. Some folks who have heard about it think that it’s already a done deal and that it’s just going to happen and Denver Water has put up some signage to lead you to believe that. But this is not a done deal, it’s not certainly happening, we have a lot of actions trying to take legal routes against it from happening. So the public right now needs to educate themselves and really just tell their neighbors.”
TEG is hosting a volunteer meeting on Wednesday August 15th from 6.30-8pm at the Cold Creek Improvement Association. They are also launching a yard sign campaign and asking people to get a yard sign, targeted to the routes that would have the most construction traffic along Flagstaff, Route 72, Cold Creek Canyon. Find out more at TEGColorado.org.