Middle North Empire Creek Stream Corridor Restoration Project

The Upper North Empire Creek Restoration Area during Phase I construction.

The Upper North Empire Creek Restoration Area during Phase I construction.

 Location: Empire, CO   Project Cost: $340,000

Anticipated Completion Date 11/30/2016    

This project builds on a Phase I $536,000 restoration effort completed in 2014. Phase II restoration will commence in the fall of 2015 and involves removing mine waste from within the stream corridor and re-establishing a healthy riparian buffer area on both sides of North Empire Creek.

This proposed project would address Middle North Empire Creek, which encompass about ¼ of the entire drainage system. This area is heavily impacted by contaminated runoff and in-stream mine waste. The focus of this project is upon removal of mine waste from the stream channel and riparian zone and disposal of this mine waste in an already designated and approved onsite repository. The large Gold Dirt waste pile and steep-lying equator piles will be stabilized and reclaimed in place.

Despite its high gradient, North Empire Creek has good water quality with a neutral pH upstream of the mining area and now, upstream of the Middle Mining District, as well. There are several reaches of North Empire Creek that are reasonably intact with good riparian conditions. These will function as reference reaches for the restoration of impacted reaches.