The latest Eagle River Watershed Council newsletter “The Current” is hot off The presses

September 5, 2014
Eagle River Basin

Eagle River Basin

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

In 2014, the Watershed Council has had the opportunity to work with various summer camps throughout the valley. We joined the Sonnenalp, Vail Mountain Club and Vail Mountain School’s Summer Quest program for watershed-themed days. We learned about watershed health & pollutants to our waterways; we removed invasive weeds like Canada thistle from our river banks; we found hundreds of bugs in Gore Creek; and we spent hours outside enjoying all that is summertime in Colorado![...]

The Eagle River Cleanup is Saturday the 13th!

We all love to play on our rivers and streams during the warm months but all that love can take its toll. That’s why each September, we get down and dirty for a day of cleaning along the waterways that we all cherish.

More Eagle River watershed coverage here.

There are 44 transbasin diversions in Colorado that move water between river basins. Tour some with CFWE! #ColoradoRiver

August 26, 2014

Eagle River Valley: Streamflow above average — thanks North American Monsoon #COdrought

August 26, 2014
Eagle River Basin

Eagle River Basin

From the Vail Daily (Melanie Wong):

For the first time in more than 110 weeks, according to the Colorado Climate Center, none of the state is in “exceptional drought,” the direst level of drought, which has only been seen once or twice every 100 years.

“They are not out of the woods in southeast Colorado yet,” said Wendy Ryan, assistant state climatologist. “They have a long road to recovery after four years of drought. These are the first real rains they have seen in some time.”[...]

It’s been a good summer for the area’s waterways, as far as river levels go. So good, in fact, that the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District hasn’t had to make changes to its water operations in order to keep stream levels up.

The water district’s Diane Johnson said that in previous years, a combination of dry skies and hot temperatures have forced the district to pull the area’s drinking water from different parts of the river in order to maintain the minimum stream-flow levers.

“A benchmark for us is that both the Eagle River and Gore Creek have been above the median for the whole season, which is great,” Johnson said. “Once it peaked, it’s stayed above the norm, which is good for fishing and boating.”[...]

Experts are calling the current wet cycle “monsoon” conditions, which they say is helping to alleviate the dry conditions that racked the state last year. In fact, statewide, precipitation was at 112 percent of average, and so far in August totals are 90 percent of the average.

Eagle River Watershed Council event (Tuesday, August 26): 30 Years Later – an Eagle Mine Update

August 21, 2014

Eagle Mine

Eagle Mine

From the Eagle River Watershed Council:

For years, the abandoned Eagle Mine dominated all conversation surrounding water in Eagle County. Much progress has been made to clean up the mine – and the Eagle River flowing through the area – since its closure in 1984 and subsequent listing by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Superfund site.

The legacy of pollution from the mine, however, is an indefinite one. What is the status of the mine today, three decades later? And what plans are in place for the future of the mine cleanup?

Mr. Russell Cepko, Vice President of Environmental Projects for CBS, will provide answers to these questions and more. As the owner of the mine site, CBS is responsible for administering the cleanup effort. We will also hear from Seth Mason, ERWC’s Water Quality Programs Director about the history of water quality impacts, regulatory action and ongoing concerns among local stakeholders.

Eagle River Cleanup returns Sept. 13 — the Vail Daily

August 19, 2014
Eagle River Basin

Eagle River Basin

From the Vail Daily:

The Eagle River Watershed Council is celebrating the 20th year of the Eagle River Cleanup. In 1994, before the formation of the Watershed Council, the local Trout Unlimited chapter organized the inaugural Eagle River Cleanup. There were two tents and 24 volunteers, half of which were Vail Resorts ski patrollers equipped with radios and trucks. There was a silent auction, which included a Vail season pass and raised a total of $400.

In the past 20 years, the Eagle River Cleanup has grown tremendously and become a fall tradition for many environmentally and community-minded families, groups and companies. This year, nearly 350 volunteers are expected to help care for our local waterways in the 20th annual Eagle River Cleanup on Sept. 13. This popular, countywide event is organized by the Eagle River Watershed Council, presented by Vail Resorts Echo, sponsored by many businesses and supported by volunteers from Red Cliff to Dotsero to East Vail.

Massive Community Effort

From 9 a.m. to noon, teams of volunteers will be cleaning up the banks of Gore Creek and the Eagle and Upper Colorado rivers. All told, this massive community effort will clean nearly 70 miles of river throughout Eagle County.

Following the cleanup, volunteers and their families are invited to the Broken Arrow at Arrowhead from noon to 2 p.m. for a free thank you barbecue provided by the Arrowhead Alpine Club. The party features music from local Minturn favorites, the Turntable Revue, beer from Crazy Mountain Brewing and a raffle for the entire family.

Volunteers Needed

More volunteers are always needed. Call the ERWC office at 970-827-5406 or email us at to confirm your usual segment, sign up for a new one or join an existing team. Volunteers meet on the river at assigned locations on the day of the event, so you must pre-register in order to know where you’re needed most.

The Eagle River Watershed Council has a mission to advocate for the health and conservation of the Upper Colorado and Eagle River basins through research, education and projects.

More Eagle River watershed coverage here.

The latest Eagle River Watershed Council newsletter “The Current” is hot off the presses

August 9, 2014

Eagle River Basin

Eagle River Basin

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

While most people would consider it blessing enough to have just one incredible asset such as the Eagle River flowing through their communities, Eagle County residents are lucky to live in close proximity to two remarkable rivers. The Colorado River flows through Eagle County for 55 miles and is known locally as the Upper Colorado. It is the economic and cultural lifeblood for much of our state and most of the Southwestern U.S.

The Upper Colorado plays a vital role in our mountain community identity, as well as our tourism and recreation-driven economy. Locals and visitors log tens of thousands of river days each year, and the region’s difficult geography preserves much of the classic Western Slope Colorado culture and scenery that remains undeveloped in Eagle County.

Vail: 12 local high school students are participating [in the] Walking Mountains Natural Resource Internship

August 5, 2014

Macro Invertebrates via Little Pend Oreille Wildlife Refuge Water Quality Research

Macro Invertebrates via Little Pend Oreille Wildlife Refuge Water Quality Research

From the Vail Daily (Peter Wadden):

Thanks to ongoing support from the National Forest Foundation and Vail Resorts’ Ski Conservation Fund, 12 local high school students are participating in the third summer of the Walking Mountains Natural Resource Internship. The interns are working under the supervision of Matt Grove, fisheries biologist on the Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District of the White River National Forest, to monitor stream and wetland health throughout the valley. The interns have searched for endangered boreal toads to identify sites where they are still breeding in the area, but most of the students’ work focuses on monitoring stream health.

The interns have learned two tried and true techniques for collecting information that helps the Forest Service gauge the health of waterways. The first is by collecting and measuring stream substrates. This involves plunging their hands into icy water to pull out rocks, pebbles and gravel to be measured. The size of the stones in a stream dictates what aquatic insects can live there because those stones provide a place for the insects to hide and a surface to cling to in the rushing stream.

The second way the interns are gathering valuable stream data is by collecting the macroinvertebrates themselves. What species of insects are living in a stream is a great indicator of how healthy that stream is. Some insects are tolerant of pollution while others are not. If only pollution-tolerant species are found, then we can tell a stream may not be very clean. On the other hand, if insects that require clean, clear water to survive are found in abundance, then we will have strong evidence that the stream is doing well. Samples of insects are netted and collected by the interns in each stream they visit and then are preserved in ethanol so they can be sent to a lab for DNA identification.

The 12 Walking Mountains interns have mastered these data-collection techniques with training and supervision from U.S. Forest Service fisheries biologists and seasonal fisheries technicians. In addition to providing valuable information to the U.S. Forest Service, the interns are gaining experience in field ecology and exposure to careers in science and natural resource management. The high school students also earn four environmental science credits from Colorado Mountain College, giving them a chance to connect their observations in nature to broader concepts in ecology and biology…

Isaac Yoder, a rising junior at Eagle Valley High School, recognizes the value of this type of learning saying, “Through this internship, I gain experience relevant to real life jobs and collect information that affects the community instead of just seeing it in a classroom.”

More education coverage here.


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