Letter: An alarmist message
Ken Neubecker’s May 22 letter, “Setting the record straight” (The Aspen Times), contains misleading claims that deserve correction and clarification.
Neubecker began his letter by positing that if the Castle Creek hydroelectric project goes forward, Castle and Maroon creeks “won’t be what stream ecologists call a healthy riparian gravel-bed stream system.”
This is an unsupported statement with no reference to any scientific research, study or opinion by a qualified stream ecologist. What’s more, it ignores the three-year baseline study conducted by Dr. Bill Miller — one of the most respected stream ecologists in the state — that showed no ecological differences between the upstream and downstream reaches of the 25-year-old Maroon Creek hydro plant.
It also contradicts the conclusions of Miller, who found that notwithstanding operation of the Castle Creek hydroelectric plant as proposed, “the ecological function in Castle and Maroon creeks would not be expected to be significantly different than the existing conditions.” (See Miller’s Jan. 25 memo “Preliminary Evaluation of Habitat from Proposed Operation of CCEC (Castle Creek Energy Center),” on the city’s website.)
Despite this, Neubecker proceeds to draw a baseless and bias-confirming comparison between Castle and Maroon creeks circa 2043 to the “collapsing stream ecosystem” of the “Colorado River above Kremmling.” Not only is this statement completely speculative, but it is deliberately alarmist and misleading.
This is not the way to go about setting the record straight on anything.
City of Aspen