Non-profits, businesses join for river cleanup
EAGLE COUNTY – With restoration, research and education projects spanning 970 square miles, the Eagle River Watershed Council is a leader in river health and conservation efforts throughout the Upper Colorado and Eagle River basin. Perhaps most known for the Community Pride Highway Cleanup each spring and the fall’s river cleanup, the Watershed Council also monitors the Eagle Mine Superfund site, promotes the removal from Black Gore Creek of traction sand used on Interstate 70 and works with local schools to build a generation of “water experts.”
The Watershed Council’s research efforts monitor levels of zinc and other dissolved metals harmful to aquatic life in the Eagle River. Many of these metals are left over from decades of mining along the riverbanks.
In order to capture an accurate picture of our rivers’ health, the Watershed Council compiles data about water quality and aquatic health from the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Service, River Watch and other organizations. Additionally, a study of the 55 miles of the Colorado River in Eagle County is currently underway.
The Watershed Council also strives to connect people to our rivers through education and restoration projects. Monthly Water Wise Wednesday events highlight an array of water issues, including the “Eagle River Valley State of the River Meeting” May 29.
In addition to education, the Watershed Council relies on hundreds of volunteers, who contributed more than 6,000 hours in volunteer work last year to local river restoration projects. With the completion of the Homestake Creek and Edwards Eagle River restorations, the Council will focus on projects along Red Dirt Creek, Gore Creek and the Eagle River at Camp Hale.
To get involved, join the Eagle River Watershed Council April 27 for its annual Community Pride Highway Cleanup, presented by Vail Resorts Echo. In 2012, local volunteers removed 17 tons of trash that could have otherwise made its way to the river. For more information about the Watershed Council or the cleanup day, go to http://www.eagleriverwatershedcouncil.org.