New video features $4 million local river restoration project
EDWARDS — Public Access TV 5 and the Eagle River Watershed Council collaborated on a 10-minute video that highlights the $4 million project to restore the Eagle River through Edwards. PATV5 has collected footage during the past seven years documenting the endeavor to narrow, deepen and cool this stretch of the river.
The video aired this week for the first time as part of PATV5’s television program “The Community Project.” The video is available to watch online at publicaccess5.org and erwc.org.
“The video reflects the beauty of the river through Edwards,” said J.K. Perry, executive director of Public Access TV 5. “While filming, we encountered eagles, elk, deer and trout. It has been amazing to witness the transformation of the river over nearly a decade. In many ways it has rebounded, both aesthetically and under the surface. The river looks healthy and it appears more trout and insects are present.”
Areas in Need
The project began with a 2005 report from Colorado State University that described several key areas of the Eagle River in need of restoration. One such area was a 1.6-mile stretch from just downstream of the Edwards Spur Road Bridge to the Hillcrest Drive Bridge.
Through this stretch, the channel was naturally wide and shallow, a problem that was exacerbated by cattle that had denuded stream side vegetation, as well as urban development. These factors led to increased water temperatures at low flow and a blanket of sediment on the river bottom, ultimately resulting in fewer trout and insects than were found in neighboring stretches.
Working with Community
The Eagle River Watershed Council worked with Walsh Environmental to design a restoration plan. The Watershed Council also worked with stakeholders, including adjacent landowners, community members, Eagle County, the state of Colorado and the Edwards Metropolitan District, to garner support.
Community involvement was integral to the success of the project, with more than 455 volunteers from local schools, businesses and community groups giving nearly 2,000 hours of their time. The Eagle River Watershed Council will continue to organize regular volunteer projects in 2015 to remove noxious weeds from the project area.