650,000 trees will be removed to make way for this project.
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 considered and accounted for in the multi-year environmental review and permitting processes this project has required.
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.
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.
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, along withstate 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.
Denver Water is increasing the size of the National Forest System.
Denver Water will convey approximately 540 acres of land near the Moffat Tunnel, which includes forest, riparian, and wetland habitats, to the United States Forest Service for permanent protection and management as part of the National Forest System (NFS). This land conveyance represents mitigation for impacts to approximately 280 acres of NFS land that will be inundated by the Gross Reservoir expansion. Stated simply, Denver Water will provide nearly a 2:1 mitigation ratio of replacement acreage transferred to the U.S. Forest Service to offset those acres of NFS land that will be lost due to the expanded reservoir footprint.