EPA OKs mine cleanup in San Luis Valley

August 26, 2010
Summit County Citizens Voice
by Bob Berwyn

“This is great news—we have been working on this project for  years and are glad that the (EPA has provided TU with this additional protection,” said Elizabeth Russell, project manager. “The risk of a release of hazardous waste from the tailings was very minimal, but we are grateful for the agency’s faith in TU to achieve results,” Russell said.

The Kerber Creek project is located at the north end of the San Luis Valley in Colorado. Historic mining along Kerber Creek led to metals pollution and a degraded stream channel, requiring it to be places on the list of Colorado’s most impaired waterways.

Since 2008, Trout Unlimited and its partners have spent more than $1.3 million on restoration efforts along Kerber Creek. Working with the Bureau of Land Management, Colorado’s Nonpoint Source Program, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, and local landowners, the goal is to treat 60 acres of mine tailings using lime, limestone and compost, and to restore the stream for fish and wildlife habitat.


Get your ticekts to CTU’s End of Summer Bash this FRIDAY, AUGUST 27th!

August 23, 2010

Come celebrate the end of summer this Friday night at the D Note in Old Towne Arvada with all your friends! The fun kicks off at 5pm with live music and a chance to win prizes and trips. Last year hundreds of TU supporters came out in full force.  This year we’re planning an even bigger celebration!

Admission is only $10. All proceeds from this event benefit Colorado Trout Unlimited’s river conservation programs.

And don’t forget to stop by to visit our friends at Charlie’s FlyBox, this year’s event sponsor, to stock up and check out the latest gear! TU members will receive a 10% discount from 5pm-7pm.

Click here for more info or to buy your tickets online now!

Trout Unlimited, EPA agree on creek cleanup

August 23, 2010
Pueblo Chieftain

Elizabeth Russell, who manages Trout Unlimited’s efforts on Kerber Creek, said the mine tailings the group encountered on private lands were hazardous enough that it wanted protection from liability. That led to a year of negotiations that resulted in the draft, she said. If finalized, the agreement would cover Trout Unlimited’s past actions.

The  agreement is only the second of its kind, following on the heels of one the agency and Trout Unlimited signed to clean up the American Fork River in Utah.


Best Wild Places: Exploring the Alpine Triangle (Day Three)

August 23, 2010

Field & Stream

I learned a very important lesson at the start of our third day in the Alpine Triangle:  We don’t have to move mountains to help trout streams recover from the effects of hard rock mining.

Moving west from Lake City toward the town of Ouray, we stopped along Henson Creek, where Tara Tafi, project manager and reclamation specialist for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, showed us around the Henson Creek Repository project.

Here’s a little “mine influence on trout water” primer:  Many of the mines left behind tailing piles. Those tailing piles contain a number of things that are harmful to the river (acids, heavy metals, etc.)  As the rains and snows fall over the tailings, the runoff mixes into the river, lowering pH levels (2-4).  In low pH, metals are easily mobilized.  When this happens, trout and the bugs they eat can’t survive in an essentially sterile environment.  And this can last for generations.


Best Wild Places: Exploring the Alpine Triangle (Day Two)

August 23, 2010

Field & Stream

Editor-at-Large Kirk Deeter and photographer Kevin Cooley spent three days with Trout Unlimited exploring the Alpine Triangle, a rugged expanse of the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado, so named because the region is loosely contained within the shape made by connecting the towns of Ouray, Lake City, and Silverton. TU wants Congress to declare the place a National Conservation area to protect its streams from mining expansion and new road development. Here’s what they found on day two.


Best Wild Places: Exploring The Alpine Triangle

August 23, 2010

Field & Stream

The “Alpine Triangle” is a rugged expanse of the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado, so named by the Bureau of Land Management because the region is loosely contained within the shape made by connecting the towns of Ouray, Lake City, and Silverton. 

I jumped at the opportunity to cover this story when the Field & Stream editors were divvying up the “Best Wild Places” assignments, because the region has been my home away from home for 25 years.  It’s where many of my formative trout fishing adventures happened, and near where I still make an annual elk hunting camp.  It is, without question, my favorite wild place on earth. 

Yet, as familiar as I thought I was with the Alpine Triangle region, I had never experienced it from as many angles as I did on day one of the Trout Unlimited/Field & Stream adventure.  We kicked off the tour with a full-on “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles” agenda…


An Overview of the Alpine Triangle

August 23, 2010

Field & Stream

In the high-country heart of southwest Colorado’s San Juan Mountains rests 180,000 acres of alpine habitat that has sheltered some of the best big game hunting and wild trout fishing in the southern Rockies for thousands of years.

The Alpine Triangle, named because it rests between three communities at it’s “corners”—Lake City, Ouray and Silverton—is a rare stretch of Bureau of Land Management real estate in the heart of traditional “forest” country. Not only does it shelter outstanding wild and native trout habitat, and prime big-game habitat for mule deer, elk and especially bighorn sheep, it’s home to a unique cultural heritage that is truly “old Colorado.”