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January 19, 2023

Boulder County Gross Reservoir Community Newsletter – January 2023 edition

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Photo of the dam at Gross Reservoir

Boulder County
Gross Reservoir Community Newsletter

January 2023

Welcome to Boulder County's Gross Reservoir Community newsletter. This communication is intended to share information with residents of Boulder County impacted by the
Denver Water Gross Reservoir Expansion Project.

Message from the Gross Reservoir Community Impact Mitigation Fund Coordinator

Greetings! As the Boulder County Gross Reservoir Community Impact Mitigation Fund Coordinator, I regularly meet with Gross Reservoir neighbors and gather information to help the Boulder County Commissioners determine how best to distribute the $5 million Denver Water settlement fund for residents impacted by the Gross Dam Expansion Project.

The topic of this first newsletter of 2023 is to bring you up-to-date on the timeline for distributing the first round of funding by the end of the second quarter of 2023.

Please reach out to me at grossreservoir@bouldercounty.org with any feedback or questions.

-Barb Halpin

2023 overview graphic

Collecting data and measuring impacts on individual residences from Denver Water's multi-year construction project takes time, but we are committed to determining the best/most fair way to distribute the settlement funds directly to Gross Reservoir residents.

For the past nine months, Boulder County has been documenting the firsthand experiences of Gross Reservoir residents and working with Pinyon Environmental, Inc. to predict and analyze short- and long-term air quality, noise, traffic, and visual impacts to the community (using modeling data) from Denver Water’s multi-year construction project.

Next Steps

In the first quarter of 2023, Boulder County will work with a third-party meeting facilitator to convene and solicit input from an ad hoc community advisory group (see details below) on scenarios for how the first round of funding from the Denver Water settlement account might be distributed.

The advisory group will be formed with representatives from unique vantage points (e.g., overlooking reservoir, on a haul road, construction boundary impacts, etc.) and neighborhoods (e.g., North Shore, South Shore, Gross Dam Road, Miramonte, etc.) surrounding Gross Reservoir.

Note: Because Denver Water has not yet finalized its tree removal plan (and may not have a plan in-place until the end of 2023), the Boulder County Commissioners have decided that tree removal impacts will not be considered in the first round of funding (i.e., money from the full $5 million mitigation fund will be held back for a future round of funding once the tree removal impacts are better known.)

At this time, the division of money and the number of funding rounds for the full $5 million have not been decided by the county commissioners. The amount of funding for the first round of payouts (in 2023) will be determined after input and feedback from the community advisory group has been considered.

Environmental Analysis

The results from the Pinyon Environmental, Inc. analysis will be presented to the advisory group at a virtual meeting (date TBD) and the public is invited to attend the presentation and observe advisory group discussions. (Several of you have asked to see the results of the study in advance, and that request will be considered as we get closer to having an advisory group established.)

The first six months of 2023 will be dedicated to determining the amount and distribution of the first round of funding from the $5 million Denver Water Settlement Agreement. An estimated timeline is provided below and available in PDF format here.

 Projected Timeline – First 6 months of 2023
group of people examining a map of Boulder County

Formation of an Ad Hoc Community Advisory Group

As part of the survey that community residents completed in 2022, we asked for interest in serving on a community advisory group.

Working with the selected facilitator this winter, we will be reaching out to interested parties and determining the best way to convene the representative ad hoc group.

It is anticipated that the advisory group will meet for three sessions between February and April to provide input on scenarios for distributing the first round of funding from the Denver Water Impact Mitigation fund. Members of the public are invited to observe the virtual meetings of the facilitated advisory group via Zoom.

Determining an appropriate number of advisory group members and ensuring communitywide representation in the group will be the highest priority for the Gross Reservoir Community Impact Mitigation Fund Coordinator and meeting facilitator heading into February. Please send your ideas and interest to serving on the group to grossreservoir@bouldercounty.org.

One idea that’s been presented is for each neighborhood/uniquely impacted area to select their own representative to serve on the advisory group. We certainly welcome that idea and encourage broader community participation through neighborhood representatives.

Membership on the ad hoc advisory group will follow some basic ground rules, such as: 1) making sure we have representation from unique vantage points around Gross Reservoir, 2) each member is able to attend and participate in ALL scheduled meetings, and 3) participants agree to consider the community as a whole and not solely provide input from their own unique perspective/vantage point when serving as a member.