Eagle River Watershed Council Shrine Pass cutthroat trout restoration project complete | VailDaily.com

Eagle River Watershed Council Shrine Pass cutthroat trout restoration project complete

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RED CLIFF — The Eagle River Watershed Council recently completed a project with funding from the National Forest Foundation and in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service that focused on the protection and enhancement of native cutthroat trout habitat on Shrine Pass.

The Watershed Council and Forest Service selected this area for restoration because it has experienced impacts due to sediment from an adjacent road and dispersed campsites. When unnaturally high amounts of sediment enter a stream, it produces a number of adverse impacts. For example, sediment loading reduces available spawning habitat for native cutthroat trout, which drives further decline in this already reduced population.

To address the concerns and impacts driving the degradation of the Turkey Creek watershed, the Forest Service and Watershed Council worked to decommission the closed forest service road and restore it, as well as seven campsites, all of which were contributing sediment to Turkey and Lime creeks.

The Watershed Council worked with a group of volunteers who helped to spread erosion-control fabric and reseed all seven campsites and the three-mile road after an excavation crew from United Companies de-compacted the soils throughout the project area.

In total, three miles of stream bank, 10 acres of watershed and 20 acres of wildlife habitat were enhanced. These efforts will establish a healthy riparian buffer, which will improve in-stream water quality by filtering sediment and pollutants that would otherwise enter Turkey and Lime creeks.

More information on other volunteer opportunities with Eagle River Watershed Council can be found in their monthly e-newsletter or online at http://www.erwc.org.