The Homestake Valley’s riparian and wetland communities—which sustain a high diversity of plant and wildlife species and are the most ecologically productive landscapes in the Colorado high country—would be destroyed by the proposed dam, which would send Western Slope water across the Continental Divide.
From the Spring 2021 issue of Wild Works
Late March brought disappointing news when the White River National Forest approved drilling test wells in the Homestake Valley – the first step towards constructing a new dam and reservoir that could inundate portions of the Holy Cross Wilderness. Worse yet, the Forest Service approved this exploratory drilling without comprehensive environmental review and public input, excluding the project from analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Our statement following this decision made our stance crystal clear: Wilderness Workshop is opposed to both the test drilling allowed by this special use permit, as well as the potential Whitney Reservoir, and will oppose this project every step of the way.
In the summer of 2020, 775 letters were submitted to the Forest Service, overwhelmingly in opposition – a testament to our dedicated and passionate supporters and the deep community opposition to the project. Our team also submitted detailed technical comments that requested a comprehensive environmental review under NEPA, noting that drilling test wells will have significant impacts on wetlands, wilderness, wildlife, recreation, and roadless forests.
The same day the Forest Service announced their decision, we launched a “No New Dams in the Homestake Valley!” petition; as of late April, the petition already has 800 signatures! Our team is gearing up to fight this project and are working with a wide range of partners to ensure the Forest Service fully considers the damage that’ll be done by this whole dam proposal. Soon, we’ll share more about how individuals can help us stop this misguided proposal. As a first step in this long fight, we encourage you to add your name to our petition!