Off the Hill: Restore the Gore project aims to return Vail’s Gore Creek to healthy levels (video)
By Tricia Swenson | Off the Hill
Whether you are fishing, boating or just enjoying Gore Creek from the banks, you probably have no idea that this pristine looking mountain stream was listed as an impaired waterway under the Clean Water Act in 2012. In fact, the Gore has failed to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for aquatic life for several years. Gore Creek’s macroinvertebrates, tiny aquatic insects that are an important food source for trout, birds and other critters, are on the decline. This is concerning because these little bugs have a huge influence on the overall health of the entire creek and everything that lives in it. In 2016, the Town of Vail adopted the Gore Creek Strategic Action Plan. Some of the culprits suspected of causing the decline of aquatic insect populations are landscaping practices, impermeable surfaces and untreated storm water runoff. The loss of riparian, or creek-side, vegetation plays a big role in this. The Town of Vail is fortunate to own nearly 40% of the land along Gore Creek and has been instrumental in conducting projects to add vegetation and stabilize stream banks with riparian plants. Since Vail was incorporated in the mid-60s, a lot of riparian habitat in town has been removed, destroyed or replaced with turf and ornamental vegetation. The Town of Vail’s Love Vail campaign encourages everyone from residents and property managers to small businesses and landscapers to do their part in restoring the Gore. Tips include how to correctly use fertilizer and pesticides, a list of native species to plant and resources to properly dispose of household chemicals. If you enjoy Gore Creek and are here during the GoPro Mountain Games this weekend, take part in the creekside path clean up on Sunday, June 11th. Meet at the Ford Amphitheater at 8:30 a.m. Breakfast will be served as well as a light lunch. For more information on the health of Gore Creek, go to http://www.lovevail.org/gorecreek.