Letter: What could possibly go wrong with diversions?
So, the Front Range is scaremongering again. Let us suck the water out of the high-country rivers or you will drown in a flood — like Sodom and Gomorrah — oh wait, that was brimstone and fire. It’s so difficult to keep track. Sure, diversions are something we’ve done a lot, so why not just keep doing what we have been doing all along. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
“Dewatering” will not protect you from floods. In fact, it will likely increase the severity and devastation. Here’s the way it works — you diminish stream flow, which deprives the stream banks of water. The riparian areas on the stream bank die of thirst. You’re left with rocky stream banks and the water runs more swiftly and cuts deeper and deeper until you have a rocky channel or a desert wash. This is a vicious circle — the stream gets rockier and deeper, the banks disappear, the “micro burst” events become tidal waves. The way to stop this isn’t dams or “dewatering,” it’s rehabilitation of the stream bed and its banks. Think of each riparian area along the river as a sponge. Think of each bend in the river as its own little S-curve slowing the flow and creating one emergency overflow pond after another. You want to really create some flood protection? Stop shooting beavers, put the water into the soil, let it flow to the sea, support the natural systems that work just fine as long as we don’t try and “improve” them and tell the Front Range to vote “yes” on those rain barrels so that the rain they’re wasting down the storm drain can feed their precious front lawns.
I wish that the city of Aspen and Pitkin County would start implementing Bill Zeedyk and Van Clothier’s induced meandering restoration methods. It would be in Aspen Skiing Co.’s best interest as well — after all, what are we without all “man-made” snow?