The last week sure has been an exciting one for the Swan River Restoration project, with lots of visitors, plant installation, and seasonal peak flows! We were all eager to see how the new channel would handle this spring’s runoff and we couldn’t be more elated with the results. As expected, the channel is holding up well and making its own anticipated minor adjustments while stream finds its way through the alignment. We are seeing minor channel adjustments occurring along the cut banks, point bars, and floodplains, as stream energy buffs out the new channel geometry to its liking. With the flows now dropping, things are setting up well for a busy year of planting.
With a lot of help from Rocky Mountain Youth Corps
, we installed nearly 350 plantings across the site. The Summit County Open Space and Trails seasonal field staff managed a crew of ten RMYC members who installed five plant clusters containing a mix of Rocky Mountain Juniper, Woods Rose, Engelmann Spruce, and Aspen – all native species, appropriate for the site and location. Installing these plants was no easy task, as the site surface really only contains a thin veneer of soil over the remaining dredge rock. (Think planting with pick axes as opposed to shovels!) Special thanks are due to the Summit County Resource Allocation Park
(SCRAP) who generously donated several cubic yards of locally manufactured compost to help support the new plantings. Another round of plant installation will occur by Summit County’s design-build team of Ecological Resource Consultants/Tezak Heavy Equipment (ERC/Tezak) in August, when much larger plantings will be installed across the site and willows planted along the banks.
Last week, we also hosted two site visits. One site visit was a public open house that included a short discussion about the project and opportunity to walk a portion of the site. You might have also seen an article following this visit in the Summit Daily. The other site visit was by the U.S. Forest Service, an important project partner. The White River National Forest (WRNF) hosted several members of the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region Leadership Team for a week-long General Management Review (GMR). The GMR offers the opportunity for Regional Leadership to take a comprehensive look at how the National Forest is functioning both internally in terms of management of their programs and accomplishment of their mission, as well as externally in terms of how they work with partners and serve the communities. As such, the Regional Leadership was very interested in an opportunity to visit the Swan River Restoration Project site, which really exemplifies the benefit of strong partnerships. Partnerships are a critical part of this project and we couldn’t agree more with their sentiment!
Lastly, we are excited to announce that Summit County and Town of Breckenridge have entered into a lease agreement with Schofield Excavation to continue removal of the dredge rock above the recently completed restoration reach. Reach B is currently covered with at least 195,000 cubic yards of dredge rock that need to be removed before channel, riparian, and upland restoration work can occur. The contractor will begin processing and removing dredge rock under Summit County’s Conditional Use Permit (CUP) starting immediately.
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.