Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Forest Service, Trout Unlimited partner to restore flood-damaged Lower Creek

The U.S. Forest Service and Trout Unlimited are partnering to stabilize and restore a half-mile section of flood-damaged stream in the Lefthand trails area on the Roosevelt National Forest northwest of Boulder. The popular trails system has been closed since September 2013 when a historic flood event washed out access roads and primary trails, saturated hillsides and permanently altered stream courses.

Lower Creek, an intermittent tributary of Left Hand Creek located near the entrance to the trails area, was severely scoured along the final half-mile stretch above its confluence. The creek bed alignment now runs through the bottom of a former road bed. Ongoing erosion and sedimentation issues along this stretch of Lower Creek are of real concern to the health of the watershed, according to Boulder District Ranger Sylvia Clark. The scouring of banks and movement of topsoil unearthed debris and trash left along the stream banks from a long history of recreational activities in the area.

“While this project addresses less than two acres in a much larger landscape of flood damage, it’s a very important half mile stretch of stream,” Clark said. “Stabilizing this area will help prevent sedimentation issues downstream and will be an important first step in getting this area reopened to the public.”

Through an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service, Trout Unlimited is beginning the task of hiring a specialized contractor to collect data in the Lower Creek area. The contractor will make recommendations on how to stabilize the stream to prevent further erosion and sedimentation, and will recommend the best course of action for addressing any contamination from the human debris and trash in the area. The overall focus of this work will be restoring the half-mile section of Lower Creek.

The U.S. Forest Service will evaluate the recommendations and, depending on funding, implementation could occur as soon as fall 2015.


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