Vail creek project gets three awards
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” A Colorado Department of Transportation project that cleaned sediment and sand from the Black Gore Creek area on the west side of Vail Pass along I-70 in Vail, Colorado has received three recent honors.
The 2009 CDOT Environmental Process Award was received Feb. 24 in Denver. The next accolade, presented in Avon on March 20, was the Max Rollefson Award of Merit from the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.
The third award, also presented in Avon on March 20, included a water fountain and a plaque of appreciation from the Black Gore Creek Steering Committee, comprised of local governmental representatives, nonprofit organizations, and regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The project, conducted in the fall of 2008 in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, cleaned out and reconstructed the “catchment basin” originally constructed in the 1970s when I-70 was built over Vail Pass. The reconstruction improved the condition of the “Basin of Last Resort,” as the catchment basin is known. About 2,400 truckloads of sediment were removed from the area. Project staff began noting fish in the water soon after flows were restored.
The removed sediment was used by CDOT and the town of Vail to construct a berm to protect neighbors from noise and light associated with the truck chainup station.
“CDOT needs to be commended for funding and building this project when there are many competing priorities and needs for their construction and maintenance dollars,” said Brian Healy, biologist with the White River National Forest. “This was the first time CDOT has funded a sediment cleanup project beyond the immediate area of the highway.”
In the years since construction of I-70, more than 50 smaller catchment basins have been installed by CDOT in the upper Black Gore Creek watershed to trap sand and before it reaches the Basin of Last Resort.
While it will be postmaster Elizabeth Turner’s first busy season in Avon, it’s far from her first holiday-shipping crunch.