North Empire Creek Stream Corridor Restoration


Location

Located in a Tributary of Lion Creek, which flows into the West Fork of Clear Creek at the Town of Empire, Colorado.

Located in a Tributary of Lion Creek, which flows into the West Fork of Clear Creek at the Town of Empire, Colorado.

Use of SmartDitch to control and divert run-on water at the top of the Conqueror Mine waste repository in upper North Empire Creek

Use of SmartDitch to control and divert run-on water at the top of the Conqueror Mine waste repository in upper North Empire Creek

Summary

This project was constructed in the summer of 2014, consisting of the excavation and consolidation of 5 mine waste piles as well as accumulated sediment from the active channel of North Empire Creek to on-site areas, which are not impacted by active channel flows. The consolidated materials were capped with onsite inert fill material that was amended with compost and fertilizer. In addition, run-on/run-off controls were constructed to prevent the re-mobilization of mine waste back to the creek. This project is expected to result in statistically significant reductions in toxic metal concentrations, including aluminum, copper and zinc as well as a reduction of acidity with a corresponding increase in pH. Given the importance of Clear Creek as a water supply and recreational resource, these are considered public health and source water protection benefits. Environmental benefits will result from removing mine waste from the natural stream channel and its flood plain in order to establish a healthy riparian buffer area and a stable drainage channel with improved water quality.

Read the the Final Project Report here.