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COMMUNITY VOICES: Impending changes at Chatfield cause concern

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By state Sen. Andy Kerr

To residents of state Senate District 22 and others:

Recently I have been contacted by a number of my constituents with concerns over the dramatic changes planned at Chatfield Reservoir. I want to be very open that I share many of the same concerns with the upcoming changes. Having grown up and lived in Jeffco most of my life, I have spent many days hiking, biking and camping around Chatfield. I have many wonderful memories from my childhood of enjoying the recreation opportunities Chatfield Reservoir offers. I have concerns that the changes being proposed could have historic and potentially harmful consequences both environmentally and recreationally, and I have made these concerns known to the appropriate departments and individuals at the local, state and federal levels.

At this point, the final decision and plan to mitigate the recreational and environmental changes is now in the hands of the state Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Army Corps of Engineers, and we expect the final legal agreement and plan to be released this month.

However, while I remain very concerned about the proposal, I do want to acknowledge the transparent work that the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Army Corps of Engineers have engaged in. There were more than 75 days in the public comment period and more than 100 public comment meetings over the past 10 years. They have been open in creating a plan that will be funded by the companies seeking change. It is this level of transparency that all levels of government should seek.

I am waiting anxiously to see the final mitigation plans, but if you have any questions about specifics in the interim, or after the plan is released, call the Army Corps of Engineers at 303-979-4120 or the Department of Parks at 303-297-1192. Feel free to contact me at senatorandykerr@gmail.com or 303-866-4859.

State Sen. Andy Kerr is a Democrat who represents District 22 in South Jeffco.