From the Highlands Ranch News-Herald (Jennifer Smith):
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a draft of the Chatfield Reservoir Storage Reallocation Feasibility Report/Environmental Impact Statement on June 8. In an effort to help meet the growing demand for water in the metro area, the study recommends reallocating 20,600 acre-feet of water from flood control to usable storage. This would raise the water in the recreation area by 12 feet, flooding some of the park and requiring reconfiguration of the marina and other amenities.
“The Chatfield Reallocation project has been intensively worked on for about 20 years,” said [Amy Conklin of the Barr-Milton Watershed Association]. “It is one of the few water projects in Colorado to gain support from agricultural, municipal, environmental and recreational stakeholders. While the impacts to recreation in Chatfield State Park will be significant, they can be mitigated. The impacts to the environment will likely be a net positive because of the increase in in-stream flows.”
Conklin notes the state will need the equivalent of four more Lake Dillons to meet its water needs by 2050. “Chatfield Dam is already there, and the lake has the storage capacity,” she said. “It is a water project that makes good sense.”
The Corps of Engineers says the proposal will regulate the flow of water from the reservoir into the river. Skot Latona, manager of South Platte Park, said such efforts could benefit the river habitat, depending on when water is stored and how it’s released.