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DailyCamera Letters: Expected environmental devastation of Gross expansion incalculable

Jul 1, 2019
By Stephen Robinson

The Camera opinion page editor feels that since “construction is temporary,” as long as Denver Water “proceeds with the utmost sensitivity to the residents who would be impacted,” the plan to expand Gross Reservoir is worthwhile.

I beg to differ. The construction may be temporary, but the devastation and effects are long-term. Health impacts to local residents and recreationalists will be significant. Toxic fly ash will be trucked up steep, windy roads and stored on site in one of the windiest corridors on the Front Range. Air pollution from that, the concrete plant, heavy equipment operation and tree burning will have detrimental and likely permanent effects on lungs, eyes, skin. Noise pollution from all of that as well as from the tree cutting, extensive use of helicopters and the large-scale use of explosives to rubbilize aggregate will create incredible stress and anxiety for humans and animals. Fire danger will increase exponentially with the danger of sparks from equipment and cigarettes flung by workers. Thousands of semi-tractor trips up Coal Creek Canyon and Magnolia Road will endanger drivers and cyclists alike. There were five deaths in the construction of the original Gross Dam. How many are we willing to risk this time around?

The environmental devastation is incalculable. Clear-cutting at least a quarter million trees and burning them or trucking/helicoptering them out will leave a denuded wasteland. Wetlands will be destroyed. Nesting osprey, raptors, migrating elk, cougars, moose and bear will leave and likely never return. Recreationalists at nearby Walker Ranch will be inundated by noise and traffic. 960,000 cubic yards of concrete that will be poured into Boulder Creek will affect the ecosystem all the way to Eldorado Springs.

The Camera is just plain wrong to endorse this travesty.

Stephen Robinson - Boulder

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