Creeks will suffer from hydroelectric | AspenTimes.com

Creeks will suffer from hydroelectric

Dear Editor:

The Ferdinand Hayden Chapter of Trout Unlimited has 280 members in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. The Ferdinand Hayden Chapter is one of the oldest Trout Unlimited chapters in the country (No. 8), founded by Chuck Fothergill in 1970. The Ferdinand Hayden Chapter’s mission is to conserve, protect and restore our cold-water streams and their watersheds.

The Ferdinand Hayden Chapter is voicing grave concerns and misgivings about the impacts of the proposed Castle Creek hydroelectric plant to Castle and Maroon creeks. Diversions from these streams for the hydroelectric plant will cause a serious dewatering of long reaches of both streams. At times, as much as two-thirds of the native flow might be removed from the streams for hydro and other water needs in Aspen. These diversions can exceed 40 percent of the stream flow for nine out of 12 months in normal years.

Although minimum flows might be met, they are not enough to maintain a healthy stream. Current science shows that when this much water is removed, significant degradation of the stream ecosystem will occur. Castle and Maroon creeks are important assets to Aspen and need to be protected. Taking any risk of damage is unwarranted.

The Ferdinand Hayden Chapter is concerned that the proposed monitoring plan will prove inadequate. The streams’ ecosystems will be affected by severe

dewatering, yet there are no provisions in the monitoring plan for the vital riparian and ground water components of the ecosystems.

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Lower flows will also reduce the streams ability to keep themselves clean. Sediment will build up sooner and not be flushed except in spring. This sediment can smother both the insect populations and the trout’s spawning areas, eggs and young.

The Ferdinand Hayden Chapter asks that the city reconsider its plans for the Castle Creek hydropower plant to ensure that the environmental impacts on Castle and Maroon creeks are mitigated and monitored for the benefit of the creeks and future generations.

Board of directors, Ferdinand Hayden Chapter of Trout Unlimited