The 2 Year Anniversary of the Gold King Mine Spill

 

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The Gold King Mine Spill released heavy metals to the Animas River. Photo courtesy of the EPA

The Gold King Mine spill occurred two years ago on Aug. 5, 2015 in Silverton, Colorado. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was investigating the release of water from the mine and was hoping to remove material that had collapsed at the mine’s entrance. During removal, the loose material gave way, opening the mine tunnel and causing thousands of gallons of pressurized water to gush out of the tunnel and into Cement Creek, a tributary to the Animas River. This water had a low pH and was saturated with heavy metals which caused the Animas River to be slightly lower in pH as well. Luckily, the Animas watershed and abandoned mine lands had been studied extensively by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Colorado Department of Natural Resources. This provides a baseline for water quality standards in the watershed and can help to determine if the water is safe for human consumption, domestic usage and/or agricultural use, but also to understand when downstream water bodies will recover.

Millions of people rely on water data, and on the water managers and public health officials who collect and analyze that data, for a safe and dependable water supply. When emergencies happen, like the Gold King Mine spill, citizens and water managers track water data to see what has changed, how much it has changed, and whether or not the water is safe—in such situations, up-to-date and accurate water data is crucial.

Data has played an important role in informing the cleanup of streams that have been affected by acid mine drainage from abandon mines. According to the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, there are over 23,000 abandoned mines in Colorado and over 1,800 miles of stream that have suffered the negative impacts of acid mine drainage.

Since August 2015, USGS and other researchers have collected water samples from numerous sites downstream of the Gold King spill site and along the Animas River. After the spill, scientists from many different organizations and agencies including the Mountain Studies Institute (MSI), the Southern Ute Water Quality Program (WQP), the EPA and USGS, tested water samples from the Animas River. Drinking water samples were taken every 30 minutes to track pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature and conductivity for two weeks. Drinking water samples were also taken every day for two weeks after the spill to determine whether the water was safe.

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A slew of heavy metals from the spill turned the water a orange yellow color. Photo courtesy of Riverhugger.

From August 6, 2015 to August 11, 2015 MSI sampled the river. The tests on that water showed a slight increase in heavy metals but the levels did not exceed toxic water-quality levels. MSI estimates that a person would have to ingest two liters of water a day, four days per week for 16 weeks to experience any adverse health effects from the water.  EPA Sediment samples taken on August 10th, August 12th, and August 13, 2015 from the Animas River showed that metal concentration levels were trending toward pre-event levels. This new data was then compared to the historic data from USGS and the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, where the tribe has been collecting water quality data since 1992 to create tribal water quality standards.

Today, the Animas River is healthy although, each spring, runoff from snowmelt turns the river a light shade of orange as the runoff stirs up old sediment. The WQP continues to take monthly water samples, semi-annual macro invertebrate samples, and annual fish tissue samples, while the state continues to monitor the fish population in the area.

USGS uses two different methods to collect data on the impacts of abandoned mine sites in Colorado and around the country—field studies and computer simulation models. Field studies collect water quality data to track the contaminants in the river and downstream of the release site, while computer models are used to quantify the transport of dissolved metals in streams. Data from both of these are then used in comparative analysis. In Cement Creek, scientists use the data to evaluate best management practices to meet and create standards for total maximum daily load. In Mineral Creek, scientists use the computer simulation models to accurately forecast post-cleanup water quality in the stream. Then, scientists compare pre-cleanup water quality data with post-cleanup water quality data to evaluate how accurate the model was.

Despite tests showing there was a minimal impact on the water quality of the Animas River, various parties such as the state of New Mexico and the state of Utah, are suing the EPA for damages to farms, tainted wells, and lost revenue from tourism. Among those parties is the Navajo Nation, suing for damages to crops and monitoring costs. According to the Denver Post, the president of Navajo Nation, Russell Begaye, has shown concern for his people and how they have been treated by the EPA, ”we need to hold the US EPA to their word according to their testimony. We are still waiting for reimbursement.” The Navajo Nation is looking for $162 million from EPA, including $3.1 million for reimbursement costs and $159 million for water development projects and monitoring. So far EPA has reimbursed the Navajo Nation almost $700,000 but claims that the river returned to its pre-spill state in September 2015, discrediting the lawsuit put forth by Navajo Nation.

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Managing Water with Data: Q&A with Lauren Ris

By Nevi Beatty

laurenrisprofileLauren Ris is the assistant director of water for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR), she served as interim director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board earlier this year, and has been serving as a member on the Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s board for the past two years. As the assistant director for water, Lauren develops and implements water policy. In this interview with former CFWE Intern, Nevi Beatty, Lauren describes how she and DNR use water data to manage water resources.

Nevi: How long have you been in your current job?

Lauren: About five years. I started out with DNR as the legislative liaison and I was in that position for a little over two years. I’ve been in my current role, assistant director for water, for about 2 1/2 years.

 

N: How does water data impact the decisions you make at the DNR?

L: I personally don’t work a lot with the actual data, but the DNR has a lot of smart, talented people whose expertise is collecting and analyzing water data. My job is more about making sure we make policy decisions based on the best data and science that is available.

I would say that what is even more important, or equally important, is how the data is collected. Specifically, making sure that the process we use to collect the data is inclusive of stakeholders and transparent about how we went about getting the information. Also making sure it is accessible so people can see how we are using the data and how it has informed our decisions. That way they do have access to that same information source.

The DNR does use water data directly when considering how to prepare for an expected issue with Colorado’s water. For example, planning for and managing a drought requires diligent monitoring of a variety of dynamic water availability and climate factors in order to gauge the severity of drought. I’m a couple steps removed from the actual data collection and analysis, but I certainly see the end product, help translate it to policy makers, and use it to guide the decisions we make at the DNR to a higher level.

N: What are some of the DNR’s recent decisions that have been influenced by water data?

L: Colorado’s Water Plan was founded on a data set that we referred to as SWSI (the Statewide Water Supply Initiative) and that really formed the technical foundation for the water plan. However, the process for that was super important.

We could have written Colorado’s Water Plan and had no stakeholder involvement, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as useful or reliable. We held over a thousand public meetings and over thirty thousand public comment on the data that formed the water plan. Therefore, it was super important that we had the quality data that we collected through SWSI, but it was the whole process of involving the round tables throughout the state, and making sure that the data was representative of all parts of Colorado.

A few years ago the CWCB adopted higher Statewide Floodplain Rules and Regulations, requiring all communities in Colorado to adopt the state’s higher standards. National data trends were used to support the policy decisions. Findings show that regulating floodplains to a higher standard than the minimum required by FEMA provides greater protection to life and property.

N: What are some ways that the experts at the DNR collect the data that you use?  

L: It’s so varied. At DNR we have several different divisions. The most obvious water divisions are the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) and the Division of Water Resources (DWR). DWR is in charge of administering all of the water rights through Colorado, they’re kind of like Colorado’s water police. So DWR uses a database called HydroBase that has all sorts of stream flow data, lake level data, and water rights data that you can overlay on top of each other and determine what water rights are in priority when. That forms the basis for when [DWR] puts a call on a, for example a river, whose water rights are a priority. So water data is used directly in making those types of decisions.

Another example is CWCB’s annual process where the CWCB board hears recommendations from the staff about instream flow acquisitions and protections. This is largely based on using a tool called R2Cross which, similarly to SWSI, models instream hydraulic parameters to develop instream flow recommendations in order to preserve or improve the environment.  So the board uses this data to construct their instream flow recommendations. And again, this data is reliable because the process we use is transparent and accessible so that people who are outside the State system can easily verify and check what the State is doing in regards to water use. Both the CWCB and DWR have a couple things in the works for improving our data’s accessibility.

N: How does the DNR ensure this data is accessible?

L: We make our data transparent and accessible so people have information available to them about what the state is doing. Currently, DWR and CWCB are developing water management systems called Decision Support Systems in each of the state’s major water basins.  The goal is to develop user-friendly databases that are helpful in the administration and allocation of water in Colorado while providing data and models to evaluate water administration strategies.

N: What audiences are using this water data and how are they applying it after you make it accessible?

L: Similar to CFWE, at the state we have a variety of audiences that use that data such as water engineers and water attorneys that are involved in water court cases that need a robust data set to do their work. We have legislators, as another audience, who need a much higher-level, bigger-picture data set and they’re looking for recommendations on policy problems that are based on a sound summary of data from us. The general public would be a broader audience—for example it was news to my mom that we get water from the West Slope—she’s a very different audience from our water engineers interacting with the water resources. Environmental organizations also partner with us on a variety of different efforts: water utilities, local governments, etc.

N: Why do you serve on the CFWE Board?

L: I serve on the board for one because DNR holds a seat on the board. Aside from that, I think the work that the foundation does to educate and help inform the public, so we can make better and more informed decisions about water and our water future, is really important and so complimentary to the work we do at the state level.

I also really appreciate the perspective of the foundation. One thing that, I think, offers a lot of credibility is the fact that the CFWE really makes it a number one priority to be a balanced, nonpartisan, fair source of reliable information. Because you can have the best data, the best scientists, the best staff but if you’re known for having that influenced perspective then your credibility is invalid.

N: What is DNR’s mission and why is it important for CO?

L: Generally, the mission of the DNR is to safeguard the natural resources of CO, make sure we are making balanced decisions for future generations, and that we are inclusive of all interests, water interests specifically, and making sure that we are heading toward a sustainable water future.

N: How does the water data you collect tie into this mission and achieving the goals you have for the future?

L: It’s really important that the policy decisions you are making are backed by the best available data and science. There are always improvements to be made about how we collect data and how it is analyzed.

There’s a lot of room for innovation, but I think the decisions we are making today are narrowing the scope of available options to future generations. It’s important that we use the best data and information we have, but we aren’t going to be able to move forward and take action on that information if we don’t have buy-in on that information and if we don’t have a well-informed public. I think that ties into your question about how important the foundation is. The mission of CFWE is to help facilitate getting that information out and translating information that is super technical, and I think that’s been one of the real values of the foundation. Water is so complicated from a scientific stand point, but also water law and water policy is so multi-faceted and there are so many competing interests that are so unique in Colorado. Having an organization that is devoted to breaking down and making information surrounding water accessible and understandable to the general public is so important if we are to be able to move forward and use the data that we collect to make well-informed decisions.

N: Do you have any wisdom you have gained to share with the CFWE audience?

L: I hesitate because I am relatively new to this field. In Colorado there are people who have worked in this field for 30 years and they have built their whole careers around this so as someone who has just come into this in the last few years or so I’m hesitant to offer words of wisdom because I still have so much to learn.

However, being relatively new to this field, I would say it is so important to keep an open mind, not be afraid to step out of old paradigms, and move past this East Slope West Slope divide that is separating Colorado. I hope that in the future we are able to see past the regional differences in Colorado and we can think more holistically about how to create balanced solutions for the state as a whole moving forward. And the water plan takes us one step down the road but there is still so much to do.

N: Have you noticed or learned anything new about CFWE before you came on the board?

L: Yes. Before I came on the board, I primarily knew of CFWE through the basin water tours and through Headwaters magazine. Since becoming a board member, I was really surprised and impressed with the size of the board and all the different interests that are represented in Colorado. I think it is so important to have that diversity of voices on the board.

The other thing I was surprised to learn is the variety of programs that the foundation offers with such a small staff.  Maybe that is the big take away for me that with such a small staff they are able to accomplish so much not to mention managing the huge board which is a task in itself.

Find further coverage of water data in the Summer 2017 Data Issue of Headwaters magazine and check out the latest episode of our radio series, Connecting the Drops Using Real-Time Data to Encourage Water-Wise Habits.

Not a Headwaters subscriber? Visit yourwatercolorado.org for the digital version. Headwaters is the flagship publication of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and covers current events, trends and opportunities in Colorado water.

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How Austin, Texas got Water Wise Using Data

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At the most recent Colorado WaterWise Lunch n’ Learn, Robb Barnitt talked about the success of Austin Water’s pilot program with Dropcountr.

Ever forgotten to lock the front door or close the garage when leaving the house? Luckily there are home security apps that will fix that for you, but what if a faucet is leaking in your home or the hose outside is still on? There’s an app for that, it’s called Dropcountr.

Colorado WaterWise, an organization that serves as a leader in efficient water use in Colorado, featured Dropcountr during their most recent Lunch n’ Learn on July 13 with a presentation from Robb Barnitt explaining how the app saved 41 million gallons of water in Austin, Texas. The Dropcountr app gives homeowners and water utilities access to real-time water-use data in an organized format.

Austin Water tested Dropcountr with their users and saved 41 million gallons of water over the first year. Austin, Texas, one of the fastest growing metro areas in the United States, relies on Texas’ Colorado River and groundwater to hydrate their people, lawns and animals. Austin Water was looking for a way to accommodate the water needs of their fast growing city and encourage water conservation.logo-1[1]

Water data can be intimidating and difficult to understand because of the sheer amount of data. For most people, looking at water bills can be confusing, time consuming, and difficult to understand their home water use. To address this issue, Austin Water started a pilot program with the Dropcountr app in June 2015 with about 8,500 customer accounts. The app provides the user with a dashboard that shows water usage data every hour, data from previous weeks, months, and years, and will allow the user to compare their household with other similar households in the neighborhood. The app can send alerts if it detects a leak in your home, making homeowners more aware so they can fix leaks in order to save water and money. Users also have the opportunity to set goals for water usage. This encourages people to conserve water and provides homeowners with tips for how to conserve and rebates for purchasing high efficacy appliances. Austin Water saw a nine percent reduction in water usage. In the top 20 percent of highest water users, they saw reduction of 17 percent.

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Dropcountr shows real-time water usage amounts as well as data from past months and years.

Dropcountr estimates users save 30 gallons per day because they are aware of how much water they are using or aware of leaks in their home. This type of access to real-time water data will bring awareness to the amount of water that is being used in a household and provide tips for conservation.

For Austin Water, the app seemed like a no-brainer as everyone has a cell phone on them at all times so it seemed like the most efficient, effective way to reach water users.

Denver Water is also involved in an pilot program with Dropcountr! Are you a Denver resident? Download the app and start tracking your usage and data.

summer2017datahwcoverFind further coverage of water data in the Summer 2017 Data Issue of Headwaters magazine. Intrigued with access to real-time water-use data? Check out the story on page 16 of Headwaters and listen to the latest episode of our radio series, Connecting the Drops Using Real-Time Data to Encourage Water-Wise Habits.

Not a Headwaters subscriber? Visit yourwatercolorado.org for the digital version. Headwaters is the flagship publication of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and covers current events, trends and opportunities in Colorado water.

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Lessons in Ag Water

By Greg Peterson, the Colorado Ag Water Alliance

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Weld County farmer Dave Eckhardt at the crossing point of the Western Mutual and Union Ditches near La Salle, CO.

I could be wrong, but Longmont farmer Jerry Hergenreder is probably twice my age and can set a dozen siphon tubes while I’m still struggling with one. By the tenth attempt, I was gazing longingly at the center pivot sprinkler in the next field wondering how he does this at 6:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. to irrigate his sugar beet field. Despite seeming inefficient, this method of irrigation is ideal for certain crops, producing better yields than more “modern” irrigation methods. However, this revelation didn’t compare to when I learned that you only get one mature ear of sweet corn for each stalk or how to tell a bale of hay from a bale of alfalfa (one is greener, but be careful, sometimes they mix hay and alfalfa). These lessons are important, especially for a city slicker like me who consumes food every day but doesn’t really understand the infrastructure, work, and water necessary for the food I eat.

Jerry Hergenreder’s farm was just one stop on a recent tour by The Colorado Ag Water Alliance for people outside of agriculture to learn more about irrigation, conservation, how water is used in agriculture, and what problems farmers face. Water resource engineers, consultants, legislators, lobbyists, students, conservationists and congressional staff joined us on two tours: one in the Greeley area and another in Longmont, Fort Lupton and Brighton.

It was a great opportunity to meet farmers and ask them directly how they use water, the different types of irrigation they use and why they grow certain crops. Both tours began with a presentation by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the Division of Water Resources and an overview of the value chain of agriculture in Colorado. With this as the backdrop, we quickly got into the fields.

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Kendall DeJonge, USDA-ARS agricultural engineer, describes the drip irrigation system at the USDA testing site in Greeley, CO.

Up in Greeley, the tour explored several sites including the Eckhardt Farm and Fagerberg Farm, ditch diversions, recharge ponds, and a U.S. Department of Agriculture- Agriculture Research Service (USDA-ARS) testing site. Speaker after speaker emphasized the importance and complexity of return flows and showed how farmers along the South Platte are interconnected through water and irrigation practices. In Longmont, Fort Lupton and Brighton, we also toured the Fulton and Brighton Ditches, spoke with ditch riders, and visited Sakata Farms and River Garden Vineyard, the only vineyard in Weld County. The programs also included presentations on ditch administration, soil health, and the state of young farmers in Colorado.

On the tours, the impact of Colorado’s growth is hard not to notice. Rapid urbanization, the transfer of water rights to municipalities, traffic and even trash, are now everyday obstacles farmers along the Front Range. With all of this growth and change, CAWA wants to emphasize that agriculture isn’t a relic of an older time that needs to make way for progress. These farming communities provide a lot of social, economic, aesthetic and environmental benefits that we may not be fully aware of.

CAWA is working with the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and National Young Farmers to host a similar tour late September in Rocky Ford.  You can learn more about us and stay informed at coagwater.org.

CAWA relies on grants and sponsorships for most of our funding. These tours wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Metro Basin Roundtable, Agfinity, Colorado Corn, Northern Water, Denver Water, Aurora Water, Pawnee Buttes Seed, the City of Longmont and the West Adams and Boulder Valley Conservation Districts.

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Greg Peterson has recently been involved in water issues in Colorado after receiving a Masters in Political Economy of Resources from The Colorado School of Mines and working as a teacher before that.  He has worked as a research associate at the Colorado Water Institute and is currently working with the Colorado Ag Water Alliance and enjoys learning about economics, agriculture and rural Colorado. 

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Watersheds are for Learning

By Sarah Johnson, MAEd, Water Educator Network Coordinator, Colorado Foundation for Water Education

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I love to teach. I am a connector. Thinking like a watershed is my nature, not my job. Rivers connect us to each other across communities, landscapes and time. We are part of our watersheds and influence our rivers; not separate. It is our profound responsibility to live and model stewardship of our waters ensuring their healthy existence for time to come. Now more than ever, it is critical that we work collectively to increase understanding of watershed systems, river science, water conservation, and climate literacy, and encourage participation in public life. And so, I am a watershed educator.

Fostering relationships with colleagues: veteran educators, emerging professionals, university students, water resource managers, urban leaders, rural experts and others across Colorado and beyond for the past two years has been a tremendous joy. Celebrating the success stories, listening to the learnings, and together sourcing and implementing proven resources and tools to increase effectiveness in meeting water education and outreach goals of organizations and agencies across the state has been energizing.

Learning from these experiences of offering workshops, building a network of educators, and sharing proven resources a few strong themes have emerged that may guide the future of water education across Colorado.IMG_3120

  1. Educators are Experts – Educators are experts at teaching, connecting with learners, and making content relevant to various audiences. Educators are professionals who have committed their lives to life-long-learning and are always seeking new ways to teach and reach their students of all ages. Learn from them how to turn our libraries of water information into relevant and accessible knowledge for communities. Leverage educators’ expertise often.
  2. An Abundance of Water Information and Content—Water Resource Managers and policy experts have oodles of water related data, information and content. These professionals need strategies, mechanisms and tools to share their data and content appropriately with their audiences and methods for making the content relevant to their learners. Share information effectively.
  3. Building Long Lasting Communities of Practice—To successfully transform educators’ and outreach professionals’ practice, continual support from colleagues and resource experts is necessary. Building collegial communities of practice among mixed groups of master educators, less experienced educators, water resource managers, and professional development coordinators can be powerful mechanisms to support increasing effectiveness of water education across Colorado. Foster strong learning communities.
  4. Direct Water and Snow Experiences—I came to love rivers, lakes and snow because I experienced them directly going fishing, floating, swimming, picnicking, spending time streamside pondering life’s biggest questions, cross country skiing, shoveling the drive, and embarking on backcountry hut trips. Always conduct water education experiences near a body of water (frozen or liquid) and include a quality direct experience during your program no matter how long or short. It is the direct experiences that typically have the strongest memorable impact while offering a bit of inspiration and fun. Get outside.

Coordinating the Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s Water Educator Network has significantly impacted my career trajectory and for this I am forever grateful. I will continue to connect people to people and people to projects across Colorado and beyond. I am committed to life-long learning and am addicted to exploring and implementing the newest best practices. Creating programs and opportunities based in places, and sharing watershed stories with learners and colleagues energizes me. There is currently great momentum and opportunity to prioritize working collectively to increase watershed literacy in the headwaters state and across basins. Let’s work together to see what more we can create to increase our collective effectiveness.

I will continue to reside in the Crystal River Watershed on Colorado’s Western Slope. Follow my latest projects and endeavors with Wild Rose Consulting as you may find yourself attending (or supporting) the 2nd Annual Educator River Institute at Western State or the Grand County River Workshop in 2018 among other projects that are to come.

IMG_4126Sarah R. Johnson coordinated CFWE’s Water Educator Network February 2016 – June 2017. Learn more about her current projects at www.wildroseconsult.com and reach her at wildrosewatereducation@gmail.com.

 

In a June letter to CFWE’s Water Educator Network members, Stephanie Scott, CFWE’s program manager, wishes Sarah the best:
 
The Water Educator Network would not be what it is today without the amazing Sarah Johnson. I am so thankful that she has been on board with us to help get the program started. It is no secret to anyone who has attended one of Sarah’s workshops that she gets a little more than excited about water education!! Sarah will continue to share her passion for water education here in Colorado and across the country as she has done with us. Thank You Sarah, for all the guidance for the Water Educator Network!!

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The Internet of Water

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Courtesy of Ximeg of Wikimedia

Turning on the tap seems so mundane, between the dishes, the washing machine, taking a shower, and simply getting a glass of water, most people don’t think twice about the quality, how much they use, or where their water comes from. Why? Because useful, meaningful data is not accessible for most people. The importance of water data has gone unnoticed in the past. When water resources run low or the water smells or tastes different, it then becomes imperative to find the problem and the solution—that’s when we turn to data. Water data is helpful to inform water managers and users and allow them to foresee shortages or quality issues. Open water data that’s publicly accessible, makes it possible for people to do their own analysis on that data in order to hold government accountable and make informed decisions. Continue reading

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Reducing Algal Blooms at Barr Lake

unnamedBy Amy Conklin, the Barr Lake and Milton Reservoir Watershed Association

Have you ever taken a picnic or gone for a hike at one our local lakes only to find it a green, stinky mess because of all the algae?  Did you think, ‘Why doesn’t someone do something about this?’  Well, they are.

Since 2002, the Barr Lake and Milton Reservoir Watershed Association (BMW) has been working to identify what causes the stinky algal blooms and find ways to prevent them.

What BMW found is that excessive nutrients coming from human activities are feeding the algae and creating the excessive blooms.  This process is called cultural eutrophication.  It means that the products of urban living, stormwater, wastewater and other runoff, act like fertilizer on a lawn and turn Barr Lake green.

At Barr Lake, one result of all the algal blooms is high pH (an alkaline condition) and low dissolved oxygen (DO). Like us, fish need oxygen.  When the DO gets too low, fish get stressed and can die.  We don’t want the majestic eagles or noisy osprey at Barr Lake to go hungry!

Barr Lake receives water that drains from the urban Denver metro area.  In fact, about half of Colorado’s population lives in the BMW watershed.  Very few know that the good folks at BMW are working hard to keep the water in Barr Lake and the Denver metro area clean.

One of the first questions BMW had to answer was how clean is clean?  The levels of nutrients needed to keep the algal blooms at manageable levels, at levels where all the uses of the lake could occur, are laid out in laws and regulations.  The answer to how clean is clean, what are acceptable levels of nutrients, has been well researched.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that 90% of the nutrients getting into the lake need to be removed to achieve acceptable levels of nutrients.

BMW developed a multi-pronged approach to get the nutrients out of the water.  They’re working with the publicly owned wastewater treatment plants to increase removal of nutrients from wastewater.  They’re also working to clean the stormwater that runs down gutters into the stream and they’re working on ways to keep nutrients from re-entering the water column from the lake sediments.

The plan is already working with billions of $ being spent but it will take many years before the water is so clean that there aren’t stinky algae blooms.  You can do your part:

  • Fertilize your lawn ONLY with products that don’t contain Phosphorus.
  • Pick up after your pet.
  • Use a Commercial car wash.
  • Keep grass clippings and leaves out of the gutter.
  • Use a commercial company to change your oil.

With all of us working together, we can keep our water clean.

Listen to the recording of our April 2017 webinar presented by the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and offered in partnership with Colorado Water Congress with support from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. to hear more of the BMW story. Read more about nutrients as nonpoint source pollution in the CFWE blog posts, The Runoff Conundrum, Preventing Water Pollution Starts in Your Backyard, and In Bloom.

hw_fall_2016_final_coverFind further coverage on these topics in the Public Health Issue of Headwaters Magazine and learn more about water quality in CFWE’s Citizen’s Guide to Colorado Water Quality Protection. Then stay posted for new content on data in the upcoming summer 2017 issue of Headwaters.

Not a Headwaters subscriber? Visit yourwatercolorado.org for the digital version. Headwaters is the flagship publication of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and covers current events, trends and opportunities in Colorado water.

Amy_ConklinAmy Conklin is proud to offer her services for finding solutions to water issues.  With a Masters in Water Resources Management and experience in the public and private sectors, she brings diverse groups together to solve water issues.  Recently, Amy developed a 12 minute video describing the process for developing water messages.  It can be found on YouTube and www.barr-milton.org.  Amy is currently working as the coordinator of the Barr Lake and Milton Reservoir Watershed Association and is also working with the Colorado Stormwater Council to develop a Statewide Water Quality Education Campaign.  You can learn more about Amy at LinkedIn, http://www.linkedin.com/in/amysconklin/

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