Photo of large piles of rocks in a former river valley damaged by mining.

Swan River Restoration Project Blog

Updates on construction and project milestones.

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Jul 23

Swan River Restoration - BOCC Update

Posted on July 23, 2018 at 12:40 PM by Jason Lederer

The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) will be holding an appeals hearing on Tuesday, July 24th at 1:30 p.m., for Peak Materials’ application for a gravel milling (crushing) Conditional Use Permit (CUP) on the Mascot Placer. Due to the overlap in Swan River Restoration Project
activities on the Williams Placer open space parcel, and proposed activities on the adjacent privately owned Mascot Placer, the Open Space and Trails Department will be providing a brief update on the Swan River Restoration Project as it relates to ongoing crushing and hauling operations. All meeting materials are available on the Summit County website and all are welcome to attend.


If you have any questions, please contact Jason Lederer in the Open Space and Trails Department at 970-668-4213, or Jason.Lederer@SummitCountyCO.gov.

Feb 08

Swan River Restoration Project Update - Update to BOCC & New Grant Funding

Posted on February 8, 2018 at 10:18 AM by Jason Lederer

Winter may have finally shown up in Summit County, but work continues on the Swan River Restoration Project. We wanted to provide you with a couple of updates as we look towards advancing work in 2018:

  1. Annual Update to the Summit County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC): One of the conditions of Summit County’s gravel milling permit (Conditional Use Permit) requires annual project updates to the BOCC. The Summit County Open Space and Trails Department (OST) will be providing its second annual update to the BOCC at a worksession scheduled for Tuesday, February 27th at 9:00 a.m. in the Commissioners’ Hearing Room in the County Courthouse in Breckenridge. OST will review accomplishments from 2017 and discuss plans for the 2018 field season including continued gravel removal from the valley. As always, your attendance at these meetings is welcomed. Please do not hesitate to contact OST with any questions, or comments about this meeting. 
  2. Grant Funding: Summit County was recently awarded a $31,395 CWCB Watershed Restoration Monitoring Grant. These CWCB grant funds will be applied towards monitoring the performance and evolution of the stream channel and vegetative establishment across the recently completed Reach A restoration site during the next 3 years. This is exciting news, as we are eager to learn from restoration efforts on Reach A and apply those lessons learned towards future restoration activities in the valley.

We'll leave you with a photo of a fish survey conducted in the new channel last October. We are awaiting final results from Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff, but early indications are that the new channel is providing excellent fish habitat! 

Fish Survey

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.


Dec 11

Swan River Restoration Project Update - Closing Out 2017

Posted on December 11, 2017 at 3:26 PM by Jason Lederer

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.

Youth Corps

Youth Corps 1
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.

Planting Install Bobcat
Planted Willows
Willows
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.
Germination
Grasses




Elk Herd
IrrigationValley
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.  
Reach B_A



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!

CSU Students




COSA Small
USFS
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.