An undesirable legacy | AspenTimes.com

An undesirable legacy

Dear Editor:

I am an artist and for the past 22 years I have worked primarily with images of the natural world. From observation comes understanding, and I have spent countless hours wandering and studying the banks and pools and wildlife of Castle Creek. I know as intimately as anyone the life that teems in and around our rivers. I see blue herons, eagles, elk, deer, bears, trout, and infinite varieties of plant and insect life, fragile and beautiful.

Here is a statistic: Only 3-5 percent of all the land in Colorado is riparian – along the banks of our rivers – but on, in, and around that 3 percent of land lives 90 percent of all the wildlife in our state. Now think about Lake Powell, slowly choking with silt, and think about the countless well-meaning mistakes of intervention planned with good intentions but disastrous results.

To propose a project as “green,” when the public certainly did not understand that this was a vote to seriously endanger our streams is disingenuous at best, and extremely short-sighted. Do not make these changes in our riparian zone without the full understanding of an environmental impact study. Do not allow Castle Creek to become collateral damage.

We are very short-sighted, and backward-looking in attempting to attain this hydroelectric goal. We are proposing to build a large facility at the cost of more than $11 million, to enable us to use hydroelectricity that will take at least 20 years to pay back, (or as our mayor suggested at the last public meeting, perhaps a 75-year payback). At the end of those 20 years, not only will it be archaic that we are using hydroelectricity but I propose that this City Council will have left a sorry legacy. We will have an antiquated and inefficient hydro plant, and they will be remembered as the stewards of our river that failed in their mission, that failed utterly to protect and safeguard the waters, plants, and animal life in their care.

Jody Guralnick

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