Building the reservoir took a significant environmental cost. There were the obvious casualties: trees and plants in the valley itself were cut down, their roots torn up. After the trees and buildings were gone, the reservoir’s builders dug down an extra six feet to ensure that no pollution would seep into the filled reservoir. We can see this process in the first of our two pictures below. The workers pictured are digging up the soil and rocks and tossing them into containers for removal. Most of this digging was done by hand or with help from animals.
Even outside the territory that would be flooded, the environment suffered. The second picture depicts piles and piles of trees cut into logs along Prospect Street. Every tree within a certain number of feet from the watershed had to be cut down to avoid contamination. This is why so many of the trees along the coast of the reservoir are so young.
This destruction and removal of these trees was one of the many costs of the reservoir.