650,000 trees will be removed to make way for this project.

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Fact AND Fiction.

Trees will need to be removed to expand Gross Reservoir, though the figure is likely far less than 650,000 according to Boulder District Forester Allen Owen. He told the Daily Camera that “the number seems high. Denver Water uses this most conservative, worst-case scenario because we want to work in good faith and be transparent. The loss of these trees is included in the multi-year environmental review and permitting processes this project has required. As compensation for the tree loss, we’ve made good on our commitment to convey the 539 acre Toll Family Property and Mammoth Gulch riparian corridor for protection in perpetuity. In total, we’ve committed more than $20 million to multiple mitigation and enhancements that will result in a net environmental benefit for the state.
These trees must be removed to maintain the water quality within Gross Reservoir. Large volumes of decaying organic material can drastically change the water quality and can have adverse effects on the aquatic environment, such as elevated mercury levels in fish, as well as pose problems down the pipe at the water treatment facilities.
Removal techniques and the final plan will be studied more thoroughly in the coming years and will include public input to minimize inconvenience. New environmentally friendly disposal technologies that didn’t exist when the initial plan was developed will be evaluated and pursued if found to be beneficial. If hauling is required, trucks hauling materials will use the same route – albeit in reverse – as those hauling materials to the site. In other words, we will use Gross Dam Road and State Highway 72; we will NOT use Flagstaff Road or transport through Boulder.

There’s a geologic fault line that runs beneath Gross Dam and that fault will become active when the height and mass of the dam is increased.

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Fact AND Fiction.

There IS a mapped fault that runs beneath Gross Reservoir, but an independent analysis by geologists found that it is both inactive (hasn’t moved in more than 35,000 years) and will not be impacted by the project.

An expanded Gross Reservoir will destroy the environment.

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Fiction.

We have worked very hard to avoid that. The State of Colorado has studied the likely impacts, compared these with the mitigation and enhancements we have committed to as conditions of various agreements and permits, and found the project will have a net environmental benefit for Colorado. That is one of many reasons why the project is endorsed by Gov. Hickenlooper and the last four governors of our state, state and federal lawmakers, major environmental groups, local mayors and city councils, chambers of commerce and economic development corporations, county elected officials and water interests on both sides of the divide.