School may boost Gypsum ponds |

School may boost Gypsum ponds

Nicole Frey

GYPSUM – As more and more people move to Gypsum, they’re looking for places to play. The masses are flocking to the Gypsum Ponds, but they’re doing more harm than good to the area. One group is trying to spruce up the area for sake of the environment and the people. When a gravel operation pulled out of Gypsum in the 1970s, the Gypsum Ponds were created as a place for the public get away from it all, but not everything is working like it’s supposed to.

Impacts from the gravel pit and people playing in the area have led to extensive erosion along the stream and pond banks, stressed wildlife habitat and created a less-than-ideal stream path, said Kato Dee, project manager for the Timberline Campus of Colorado Mountain College.Working with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, which owns part of the land, and other partners, a team of Colorado Mountain College interns plans to re-vegetate the banks to lessen erosion; install boardwalks to keep people off the land; build jetties to slow the fast-moving water, which is worsening erosion; and inventory the noxious weeds in the area. Informational signs will be added to create an “educational experience” for visitors.Of course, the project depends on getting some cash from the fund, and Dee said he has yet to get cooperation from the private property owners within the project’s boundaries. Their permission is essential to ensure the area will be cared for in the future. “We won’t fund a project if there isn’t protection in the future,” said Wendy Naugle, an engineer with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 748-2927 or Vail, Colorado

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