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Old 08-28-2008   #1
ACC's Avatar
dropzone, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 845
Gross enlargement -- potential reservoir expansion to drown part of USB

Hey South Boulder Creek paddlers, take note: Denver Water is contemplating an expansion of Gross Reservoir that looks like it would drown about a half mile of USB -- which I think could get up to RIMBY, or close, at minimum. They have to ask FERC to reapprove their license and take commments before sumbitting the application. Though the information available is cryptic, here are the links:

Planning document:

Proposed Enlargement of Gross Reservoir

Let's get some comments going! USB is one of the best runs in the state and its short enough already (just imagine what lies beneath Gross). For one, the planning document hardly mentions the true aquatic impacts, e.g., innundation of the creek, and instead focuses on the nuts and bolts of moving roads and outbuildings.

Comments are DUE by September 29, 2008. Save USB!

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Old 08-28-2008   #2
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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I thought this was pretty much guaranteed to go through based on negotiations that stopped 2 forks from flooding up past Foxton 20 years ago. I looked at the topo and and it seemed to miss Rimby or RIWBY as it is now known. I can't say for sure. I'd love to see it not happen. From what little I know they need a ferc license for power, but they can already build it just for storage. I hate to give up too early, but this one has been a long time coming.


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Old 08-28-2008   #3
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dropzone, Colorado
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Thanks for the info, Dave. Still, there are a range of alternatives presented and, of course, less is more in terms of stream ecology and whitewater. So, hopefully comments from the user group that enjoys South Boulder Creek (which Denver Water refers to as a "facility") can at least make our perspective known!
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Old 08-28-2008   #4
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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I certainly didn't mean to discourage anyone from writing. I just left Wigston a message to see if he knows any more about what may be about to happen in his back yard. If someone can determine the the main talking points, we can flood them with some comments. I sure hope we can save RIMBY(not even sure it if it is jeopardized), even though I've not run it in quite a few years.

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Old 08-29-2008   #5
Join Date: Nov 2003
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There was a meeting at our "town hall" that neither Nick nor I was able to attend about a month or so ago. My neighbor, who did attend, made it sound like a done deal... that the meeting was more about logistics and communicating what they were up to than "what do y'all think"

nicole wigston
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Old 08-29-2008   #6
Join Date: Nov 2003
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oh yeah, and the res enlargement will drown a somewhat popular hiking trail that runs the perimeter of the res... popular amongst fisherman and local residents, anyway. I believe the concern from residents voiced at the meeting was centered more on that
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Old 08-29-2008   #7
Tabernash, Colorado
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What's Denver water board's justification for this? Is it all part of the "firming up" process?
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Old 08-29-2008   #8
Join Date: May 2004
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That'd be a bummer of RIMBY got flooded. That boof is one of my favorites on the whole Front Range. Keep us posted if there is anything we can do.
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Old 09-02-2008   #9
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I don't know many details, but DW is just needing/wanting more water storage. I think they are considering several plans of varying total additional storage in the res, but so far as I can tell they are not considering doing nothing!

I've read some letters to the editor in our local "mountain messenger" paper that indicate people are pretty fired up about the truck traffic in the canyon that will result... and that is definitely going to suck for residents of the canyon. But all indications are that this is going to happen, it's just the logistics and details that are on the bargaining table. It is unfortunate that the canyon residents (especially since I'm one of them will have to deal with the headaches associated with it when its' benefits are to people's landscapes in the flatlands.

As Dave indicated above, we're not totally sure that rimby (riwby will flood. Maybe it depends on which alternative DW goes with in terms of quantity of increased storage.
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Old 09-02-2008   #10
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Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
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This is probably all but certain to happen, I think. Here is a reprint from my post in May about it:

2008 South Platte Protection Plan Annual Meeting


Part of the deal when Two Forks Dam was stopped was that the parties had to develop other sources to get the water that would not be produced from TFD, and would do so within 20 years. Alternatives to the Two Forks Dam continue to be considered, including the expansion of Gross Reservoir. This would result in the inundation of at least some of USB. See the notes below for more on this, as it may become a huge issue for the whitewater community. The proposed expansion would result in the last 120 vertical feet of USB being inundated. Since I hiked out after an early chundering, I don't personally know if the last 120 vertical feet (about 1/2 mile of the current creek) have good rapids.


Purpose: To plan alternative sources to develop yield that would otherwise have come from the Two Forks Dam water right if alternate yields are developed during the 20-year moratorium on the Dam, then the Two Forks right would likely be abandoned. Focus is on conservation, recycling and new sources. The new source projects presently under consideration include:

1. Gross Reservoir Expansion (presented by Travis from DW)
a. Expansion of 72K acre-feet this presently is the preferred option
i. Projected start would be in 2013, 18K acre-feet yield (15K to Denver, 3K to Arvada)
ii. In 2016, demand will exceed supply of water and because demand is still rising, by 2030, shortfall is expected to be 34K acre-feet, with the remaining 16K to be recovered through conservation
iii. Cost estimated at $8,000 per acre-foot
iv. At this time, this is the preferred option under consideration, but no application has been submitted to the Corps of Engineers
v. This expansion would extend the Reservoir upstream from present headwaters boundary, inundating portion of lower USB
vi. Current spillway is at elevation of 7282 feet, new one would be at 7400 feet, extending the Reservoir about mile up into USB; you can see where this is by finding the where this contour line intersects with the creek on a topo map
vii. Draft EIS is expected probably in September that is when further information will be available and comment period will open
b. Gross & Liden Reservoirs combined enlargement
c. 52K enlargement of Gross Reservoir plus 5K acre-feet of storage in gravel pits
d. 52K enlargement of Gross Reservoir plus 5K acre-feet of storage in aquifers under Denver
e. 60K enlargement of Gross Reservoir plus additional storage of purchased agricultural wate


Look at section vi for the skinny on RIMBY - find that spot and you will know where the new level will be. I have no idea where RIMBY is on the map, so I can't say if it would go under. The main point about this whole thing is that if DWB doesn't get the water from new sources (including recycling and conservation) that it would have gotten from the Two Forks Dam, then the Dam is *back*on*the*table* Those who were boating or climbing in the valley back then will recall that this was the deal that was brokered to stop the dam. Now comes the lesser of two evils.

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