Save Chatfield

PLEASE NOTE: Both the National Audubon Society and Denver Audubon have serious concerns about the Chatfield Reallocation project; however the above video is not an official publication by either society. It is the result of work by volunteers interested in the Chatfield Reallocation issue.

For More Information:

ALERT: Please be on the lookout for any activity such as pumping water, earth-moving, tree-cutting, road-building, and other destruction/construction in Chatfield State Park. If you see such activities, please contact us and report them to the Denver Audubon office at 303-973-9530 immediately.

Litigation Status:

Jan. 3, 2018 – The Denver Audubon was disappointed by the ruling from the district court and has appealed that decision, and still hopes it can protect Chatfield State Park from this wrong-headed project.

Dec. 12, 2017 – Judge Brimmer ruled against Denver Audubon and affirmed the Corps’ decision.

Oct. 8, 2014 – Denver Audubon filed a complaint against the US Army Corps of Engineers to protect Chatfield State Park from the massive environmental damage that the Chatfield Storage Reallocation Project would do to the Park.

Basic concerns :

“Unfortunately the Corps of Engineers selected the most environmentally damaging alternative for the Chatfield project. It’s a bad deal for the public and for Colorado,” said Polly Reetz, Conservation Chairman of Denver Audubon.

“The Corps of Engineers’ approved plan will provide only a highly unreliable water supply yet will cause substantial environmental damage to Chatfield State Park, one of the State’s most heavily used and biologically diverse State Parks,” Reetz noted.

“Colorado will lose cottonwood forests, wetlands, and free-flowing streams heavily used by recreationists and essential for wildlife, including the threatened Preble’s meadow jumping mouse. In return we get acres and acres of barren mud flats, for what the Corps determined to be “0” dependable yield – the amount of water the project could reliably provide,” she said.

  • There will be a net loss of habitat, since what is destroyed at Chatfield State Park will not be replaced; the off-site conservation easements protecting riparian habitat protect EXISTING areas and no new riparian habitat is being created.
  • There will be a net loss of accessible recreation lands. We will lose riparian areas and lake shore in Chatfield State Park that are open to the public to inundation or conversion to mud flats; the mitigation lands put into conservation easements will not be open to the public.
  • The Corps of Engineers has refused to consider less-damaging practicable alternatives.
  • The Corps has manipulated the project documents to avoid compliance with the Clean Water Act’s requirement that they choose “the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative.” Instead, they chose the MOST damaging.
  • The Corps has determined that the “dependable” yield of the project – how much water it will provide in severe drought years – is 0. We fail to see why so much money should be spent for a project that cannot deliver a dependable yield.
  • Because the providers have very junior water rights, they will only be able to store additional water in Chatfield 3 years out of 10, according to the Corps of Engineers’ calculations. Most of the time the fluctuation zone will be dry with great possibilities for dust and noxious weeds.
  • There is still uncertainty about the fate of the mature cottonwoods in the Park.

The visuals for the recreational mitigation have been posted on  As of June 5, 2017 the environmental mitigation visuals,  the schedule of work and the Ecological Function Unit calculations used to plan the environmental mitigation  had NOT been posted for future reference.

Our concerns, comments, and more information can be found at more length at

View the official complaint.

You Can Help Defray Our Legal Expenses.

Make a contribution today! Donate Online
Call 303-973-9530
Mail a Check to: Denver Audubon, 9308 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Littleton CO 80128 (indicate in the memo line “Chatfield Reallocation Legal Fund”).