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Project 1: Evergreen Stream Restoration

The full restoration of the Evergreen reach of Bear Creek is a multi-year project that will require extensive cooperation from local business and agencies. The preliminary BCWF estimate of restoration along this reach exceeds 1.25 million dollars. The BCWF proposes doing a phased pro-gram. The first phase will target a section of Bear Creek adjacent to the central parking area. This section of Bear Creek has shown over the last 10-years elevated amounts of asphalt in the sediments and in winter snow conditions, the creek receives most of the snow plowed from the parking lot. The Association data record suggests this snow removal procedure of pushing snow into the creek, which is common through the downtown Evergreen area, is a source of water quality and fishery degradation. The Association believes a redesigned parking lot edge feature along Bear Creek could become an affordable green infrastructure best management practice to reduce pollutant loading from the paved surfaces in the community.

The Bear Creek Watershed Association (BCWA) has identified a problem 2-mile stream reach of Bear Creek that runs through the Town of Evergreen, Colorado. This stream segment needs rehabilitation to meet Colorado State designated water quality and environmental uses (aquatic life, recreational, and drinking water). The water quality standards are periodically impaired shown by long-term monitoring by the Bear Creek Watershed Association. The fishery has deteriorated over recent years with declines in species biomass and abundance. Portions of this stream have been artificially altered from past development. This includes straightening the channel and removal of the natural pool and riffle complex. Past rock structures were poorly designed and have reduced fish habitat. There is extensive stream bank erosion and siltation. The stream substrate has low Macroinvertebrate (bugs) Metrics Index (MMI) scores below the Colorado attainment thresholds and constitute an aquatic life impairment. This stream reach has shown periodic water quality degradation from stormwater runoff associated with paved surfaces in Evergreen.

There is a problem throughout the watershed where snow removal/plowing practices result in dirty snow reaching the waterways and causing water quality and fishery degradation. The design, installation and monitoring of an innovative bio-retention facility/ retaining wall could pro-vide a practical and affordable approach to solving a long-term water quality problem that is prevalent in many locations within the watershed and other mountainous regions of the state with space limitations. If the Association can prove to the community and membership that this type of green infrastructure is a viable watershed management tool, then its widespread application could become a reality in the Bear Creek corridor from Evergreen to Morrison. Phase-two program will focus on stream bank and channel restoration throughout this reach, it will remove construction debris, improve recreational access, and provide excellent aquatic habitat and a restored fishery.

Annual Fishery Surveys by the Colorado Parks & Wildlife staff in cooperation with BCWA. Annual Water quality monitoring by BCWA at site 5, includes field measurements and nutrient monitoring. Annual Macroinvertebrate surveys by BCWA (ME04 Macroinvertebrate Field Sample Method and ME05 Periphyton Field Estimation Method). Habitat and Physical Stream Indices monitoring by BCWA (F01 BCWA Habitat Indices Form and F02 BCWA Physical Stream Indices Form, ME01 Embeddedness Field Estimation Method, ME02 Gravelometer Pebble Count Method). Stream Temperature monitoring using 30-minute temperature probes about and below the phased projects (ME11 Temperature Probes). Climate models and weather data (addressing Evergreen heat sink). The BCWA has established a comprehensive set of testing methods and protocols to allow for annual consistency in data collection and monitoring.

This project will align multiple partners which include but not limited to Bear Creek Watershed Association, Jefferson County, City of Lakewood, Evergreen Trout Unlimited, Evergreen Chamber of Commerce, Evergreen Local Improvement District, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Evergreen Audubon and other community members and organizations.

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