Lion Creek Drainage Stabilization


Location

Located Approximately 1.5 miles north of the intersection of Main Street and Highway 40 in Empire, Colorado. The site is located on Lion Creek, a tributary to the West Fork of Clear Creek at an elevation of 9600 feet.

Located Approximately 1.5 miles north of the intersection of Main Street and Highway 40 in Empire, Colorado. The site is located on Lion Creek, a tributary to the West Fork of Clear Creek at an elevation of 9600 feet.

Pre-restoration highwall along lion creek, created by erosion.

Pre-restoration highwall along lion creek, created by erosion.

Summary

The primary objective was to facilitate proper drainage by stabilizing run-off gullies, thereby reducing erosion and sediment from the Minnesota Mine into Lion Creek. The project work was a maintenance project on the drainage system that was constructed during the original USFS/EPA site remediation. EPA, CDPHE and the USFS conducted a remedial action at the Minnesota Mine in 1997 in order to clean up the eroding tailings pile and to improve water quality in Lion Creek. The project involved reshaping the gully channel to remove high walls and placing 17 drop structures from the top of the gully down to the rundown structure into Lion Creek. Log revetments were installed to provide a cellular structural form for each of the 17 step-basins while allowing water to pass easily through and over each drop. During the first years following installation they provide each drop basin with independent structural integrity. The embedded angular boulders and riprap used to buttress and line the channel will provide the long-term fully integrated geomorphic stability for the drainage-way. The salvaged trees for mine remediation provide an ecological service realized from tree removal for trail construction and forest health maintenance.

Read the Final Project Report, and view a map of the project area.