ROCKY FLATS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Facts and information from
the developers of Candelas
We want you to know the story
about Rocky Flats.
This website is designed to answer your questions about Rocky Flats through a straightforward presentation
of the facts. We invite you to use this site, our downloadable guide, and the resources identified below to learn more
and become better informed about the cleanup of Rocky Flats.
The Developers of Candelas
An Invaluable Environmental Asset - The Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge provides
a critical habitat for hundreds of acres of rare xeric tallgrass prairie. Populations of mule deer and elk that live on the
refuge represent a crucial link between Colorado's wildlife heritage and the Denver metropolitan area.
Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge
Created after the largest and most successful environmental cleanup in history, Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge
represents a remarkable Colorado milestone. For decades, the center of Rocky Flats was home to a manufacturing plant
supporting America’s nuclear weapons program. But in the mid-2000s, following a massive 10-year cleanup project costing more than
$7 billion, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE), surrounding cities and all other
representative authorities gave approval to transform the area into protected open space. Due to a lack of federal government
funding, the refuge is not yet open to the public. That will soon change, however, as Colorado recently announced plans for
bike and pedestrian trails connecting Rocky Flats to other open spaces.
Rocky Flats: 1952-1992
The former Rocky Flats facility took its place in U.S. defense history when it opened in 1952 as a factory producing triggers for nuclear weapons. Public
concerns and the end of the Cold War marked the closing of Rocky Flats, and in 1992 the U.S. government decided to completely dismantle
the plant, beginning the nation’s most ambitious environmental cleanup.
The Cleanup: 1995-2007
By 1995, cleanup activities had begun under the oversight of the U.S. Department of Energy,
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and
representatives from the region’s city and county governments. In a span of ten years, the rubble of 800
buildings and 100 tons of material was safely transported and buried deep in federal nuclear waste storage
facilities around the U.S.
In 2007, every government and quasi-government agency involved in the Rocky Flats cleanup pronounced the effort
complete—the area now exceeded the environmental standards set as the cleanup goal. From there, almost 4,000 acres
surrounding the old facility were transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create the wildlife refuge
that exists today.
A Candelas home-owner took this photograph of a large elk herd during a tour of the Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which manages the refuge, reports that the area is home for 239 migratory and resident wildlife species, including prairie falcons, deer, elk, coyotes, songbirds, and the federally threatened Preble’s meadow jumping mouse. Candelas communities are situated along the southern-most border of the almost 4,000-acre wildlife refuge that surrounds the former site of the Rocky Flats facility.
Candelas is situated more than 1.3 miles from where the Rocky Flats facility once stood, and the
two locations are separated by thousands of acres of protected open space.
The Result: An Environmentally Sound Open Space
The Rocky Flats cleanup effort created an open space that exceeds every standard for being environmentally sound. Water
streaming from the area, for example, is reported by the U.S. government to be 100 times cleaner than federal drinking
water standards. And the DOE reports that the ground on and around the old site carries no increased risk of exposure to
harmful contaminants for humans or animals.
Ongoing Care and Constant Monitoring
As part of the federal government’s permanent commitment to protecting the Rocky Flats area, the U.S. department of energy operates three water-treatment facilities located at the center of the nine-square-mile parcel. The federal government constantly monitors the area’s water quality, and provides air and soil quality data to the Rocky Flats Stewardship Council, an independent coalition of state and local representatives charged with perpetual oversight of the former DOE plant area and surrounding land that is today a wildlife refuge.
Recent Soil Tests
Download Candelas 2013 Soils Test Report (PDF) »
Download Candelas 2011 Soils Test Report (PDF) »
This material was compiled by the developers of Candelas as information for its many current and prospective
residents. The information and data contained in this microsite is public record and can be easily accessed by contacting
any of the organizations listed above, most notably the Rocky Flats Stewardship Council, which is comprised of representatives
from the area’s local municipalities, government agencies, academic institutions, health and environmental organizations,