CCWF Receives $338,499 Grant for Middle North Empire Creek Mining Impacted Stream Restoration

The Clear Creek Watershed Foundation (CCWF) will begin stream restoration activities in Middle North Empire Creek in Clear Creek County, Colorado using grant funding from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Nonpoint Source Program starting August, 2016.

North Empire Creek is a high-gradient drainage system with very steep side slopes. Past mining activities have included surface mining, hydraulic placer mining and lode mining which has left behind acid mine drainage and significant contamination in the creek from heavy metals. North Empire Creek flows across the top of this contaminated waste pile sediment, maintaining it in a saturated state and leaving it to act as a mine waste leaching cell standing directly in the stream channel.

CCWF expects to remove the vast majority of metal loading from this highly contaminated stream reach. Dave Holm, Executive Director of CCWF commented, “These placer-mined hill slopes would be almost impossible to restore and revegetate using any practical and affordable approaches for reclamation. Therefore, the focus of this project is hydrologic and erosion controls designed to keep North Empire Creek from contacting mine waste piles in the area and prevent mine waste pile materials from entering the Creek.” Ultimately this project will reduce metals concentrations in the middle portion of North Empire Creek and prevent erosion of mine wastes into the stream reducing sources of metals to downstream impaired water bodies.

Incorporated in 1997, the Clear Creek Watershed Foundation (CCWF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the conditions in the Clear Creek Watershed by maintaining, preserving, restoring and improving its ecological, aesthetic and recreational conditions.