Last week, the Summit County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) authorized the Open Space and Trails Department (OST) to solicit bids from gravel contractors in order to continue processing and removing dredge rock from Reach B. This is great news for the Swan River Restoration Project, as removing this material is critical for facilitating ongoing upstream restoration work, as well as generating project funding by selling it for use in offsite projects (e.g., roadways, foundations, etc.).
Members of the public who provided comments during last week’s BOCC worksession meeting generally expressed strong support for the ongoing restoration work and gravel removal. It is exciting to see the surrounding community coalesce around this project, especially in light of some early project concerns and opposition. These types of restoration projects can occasionally result in temporary inconveniences and we continue to take all public comments, concerns, and questions seriously.
This coming field season, OST will wrap up revegetation efforts on Reach A, including plant installation work to be performed by the Summit County’s design-build contractor, Ecological Resource Consultants/Tezak Heavy Equipment (ERC/Tezak), Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, and potentially one or two volunteer groups. OST is also in the process of designing an irrigation system that will be operated by OST staff to support newly installed, juvenile plant materials. Noxious weed management will be overseen by the Summit County Weed Control Program.
We are excited to share the results of last September’s fish survey, performed just downstream of Muggins Gulch by Colorado Parks and Wildlife Aquatic Biologist, Jon Ewert, with assistance by Summit County staff. Last summer, we heard some concern from the community about project-related turbidity affecting stream health. However, the fish survey showed very positive results, with the excerpted report conclusion stating:
“Our catch rates produced population estimates of 242 total brook trout in the reach, or 2,759 fish per mile, and 189 mottled sculpin, or 2,154 fish per mile. While this is not a trophy fishery by any means, it is clearly a prolific and healthy one. In the future, we will continue to monitor this site, as well as additional sites within the habitat improvement reach after construction is complete.”
With such a healthy downstream fishery, we are eager to see how the fish population takes to the 1 mile of newly created habitat. CPW plans to conduct another Swan River fish survey this coming field season, this time in the newly constructed channel.
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 Senior Resource Specialist Jason Lederer, or call 970.668.4060.