As the books close on 2017, we are reflecting on another successful year for the Swan River Restoration Project. The past year saw the completion of major work on Reach A and the initiation of gravel removal work on Reach B.
During June, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps installed nearly 350 juvenile plantings in five clusters across the site. Plant clusters contain a mix of Rocky Mountain Juniper, Woods Rose, Engelmann Spruce, and Aspen. These tiny, fragile plants seem to be holding up well in the Swan River Valley’s harsh environment. We hope to see them continue to succeed, growing bigger and stronger in 2018.
During August, Summit County’s design-build team of Ecological Resource Consultants/Tezak Heavy Equipment (ERC/Tezak) completed the remaining revegetation work, including installation of more than 2,300 willow shrubs, and well over one hundred upland shrubs, 6 – 8 foot tall Colorado blue spruce, and 2 – 3 inch caliper quaking aspen trees. Summit County Television (SCTV) produced a great aerial video shortly after final plant installation, which provides a terrific perspective of vegetation becoming established across the Reach A site. Check out the video here: video.
The native grasses across the site are also becoming well established. Many of the grasses require cooler temperatures to germinate and several of the brome species were just starting pop up this fall. We are excited to see how vegetation takes and continues to mature in 2018, which will be the site’s second full growing season.
This past year, gravel removal work also started on Reach B (above/upstream from the recently completed Reach A restoration site). Schofield Excavation
initiated gravel removal in early July and over the past summer/fall, removed 64,871 tons of material. We estimate that this amount is roughly one quarter of the material needing to be removed from the site before stream channel restoration work can begin. In addition to gravel removal, Schofield Excavation imported nearly 8,500 cubic yards of soil, a critical material for completing riparian and upland restoration. Gravel removal operations have ceased for the winter, but will resume in 2018 as conditions allow and material demand permits.
During 2018, we were also fortunate to host to a number of visitors to the site including a public open house, students from Colorado State University, the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region Leadership Team, Summit County Garden Club, and the Colorado Open Space Alliance. With valley restoration coming into focus, enthusiasm for the project continues to grow, which is both exciting and rewarding!
This will be the last post for 2017, but we will resume posting updates in 2018 as activity begins to ramp back up. Additional information about Swan River Restoration Project is available at RestoreTheSwanRiver.com as well as on the Open Space and Trails Special Projects web page. If you have additional questions about the restoration project, you can contact Summit County Open Space and Trails Director Brian Lorch, or Open Space and Trails Resource Specialist Jason Lederer, or call 970.668.4060.