Many hands make great work

Jim Moersch of TU's St.Vrain Anglers Chapter, working hard!

by Lauren Duncan

On June 14, Trout Unlimited’s Abandoned Mine Lands team joined up with Colorado Trout Unlimited volunteers and U.S. Forest Service staff and volunteers for a successful revegetation workday at the Lower Creek project site.

The Lower Creek site is located approximately 9 miles northwest of Boulder within the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland in Boulder County, Colorado. Lower Creek (formerly known as Carnage Creek), is a tributary to Left Hand Creek in Boulder County and drains into the South Platte River. Prior to the 2013 floods, the area was used as an unregulated, undesignated shooting area for several decades. The accumulation of lead and target debris within the site became apparent during the flood event of 2013. In 2015, Trout Unlimited, the U.S. Forest Service and RMC Consultants remediated the site to reduce concentrations of lead in soil, surface water and streambed sediment.

We had the opportunity this year to revisit the site to complete followup sampling to ensure the success of 2015 construction and to revegetate the site in areas where vegetation was struggling. This year’s efforts were extremely successful! Lefthand Watershed Oversight Group has conducted water quality sampling at the site, and their efforts have revealed greatly reduced lead levels across the site.

Our revegetation work day included upwards of 20 staff and volunteers and, in several hours, we spread 600 pounds of fertilizer, 1,350 pounds of Biochar (a charcoal-based material that helps the soil retain nutrients and water) and 4,200 pounds of compost across the site. This was a tough day of work, but because of the efforts of everyone involved in the day, it was a great success.

Throughout this summer and early fall, Trout Unlimited and the Lefthand Watershed Oversight Group will continue to monitor revegetation success and perform water quality sampling under different flow conditions. We look forward to the future success of this site and are thankful to all our volunteers, project partners and for our continued programmatic support from Newmont Mining and Freeport-McMoRan.

Lauren Duncan is a projects manager for Trout Unlimited's Abandoned Mine Lands program in Colorado. 


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