Edwards angry at river dumping
EDWARDS – Rick Huber is an avid fisherman but he’s been catching more tires out of the Eagle River as of late.Huber, who lives in the Brett Ranch Villas condominiums, said he has pulled 76 tires out of the stretch of river behind his Edwards home. But that’s not all that’s there. – hubcaps, oil filters, boots and even the occasional washing machine can be found sitting on the banks or buried deep in the river bed. It’s not the kind of fishing trip he was hoping take with his 8-year-old nephew, he said. “If I wanted this kind of an experience for my nephew, well, we might as well just go to the dump,” he said.Huber’s has company in his frustration. Despite the efforts of watchdog groups like the Eagle River Watershed Council, littering continues in and around the county’s main waterway. While there are fines for litter in Colorado, those who do it are rarely caught. “I haven’t figured out how to stop littering and believe me I think a lot about this,” said Caroline Bradford, executive director of the Watershed Council. “I think that it takes personal action – every time you see someone litter you have to do something.”Problem is, Huber and his neighbors don’t know who is dumping junk into the river. He suspects a lot of it is coming from upstream and, now that the river flow has dropped since the spring, the trash is becoming more visible.
His nephew, Brandon Rodger, 8, isn’t impressed, either. “It’s really gross what they do,” he said. The tires Huber has pulled out are stacked on the riverbanks and on islands in the river. Peering through polarized sunglasses, Huber pointed out several more tires still lying on the river floor. Some of the tires are long and skinny, as if they belonged to a much older vehicle. This stretch of Eagle River used to be entirely ranch land. But other tires look modern, indicating to Huber that they were dumped in the last few years. And at the edge of the river, there are the remains of a dead fish. It’s not the first Huber has seen recently. Cindy Shons, Huber’s sister and neighbor, at one time swam this stretch of river while training for a triathlon. A clearer look through a mask convinced her to find another place to train, she said.
But things have gotten better along the Eagle River, Bradford said. For nine years, her group has sponsored the annual Eagle River Cleanup Day and littering along the river seems to decrease annually. But several stretches of the Eagle River’s banks are privately owned and access is limited.”I very much applaud what the folks at Brett Ranch are doing,” Bradford said. “Unfortunately, it is nobody else’s responsibility so it’s everybody’s responsibility,” Huber said he’s shocked and angry to see so much trash in a Colorado river. And Bradford said that’s a good thing.”Those folks are shocked – they need to keep being shocked,” she said. “Because it’s only when we become insensitive to the litter around us that it is allowed to grow.” Staff writer Tamara Miller can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 607, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail Colorado