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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.
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!
Posted on August 15, 2017 at 4:21 PM by Jason Lederer
If you've visited the Swan River Valley recently, you might have noticed that the Reach A restoration site is greening up nicely! After a rather dry start to the summer, recent monsoon moisture has sent the native grasses into frenzy. What a difference a couple of years makes…
Upland shrub and tree species are also being installed across the site. Species include two types of sagebrush (big and silver), woods rose, 6 and 8-foot-tall Colorado blue spruce, and one-inch, two-inch, and three-inch-caliper single and multi-stem quaking aspen. One of the biggest challenges of restoration re-vegetation work is ensuring plants are adaptable to the nuances of the local climate. The Swan River Valley’s high elevation and exposure can be particularly harsh, so selecting appropriate plant materials is critically important. Wherever possible, nursery plants were raised in comparable conditions and climates to the Swan River Valley in order to best prepare them for what the site and Mother Nature has in store for them. Initially, the Summit County Open Space and Trails Department (OST) is irrigating the new plantings regularly while they are becoming established and adapted to their new home.
The Reach A restoration site remains in a fragile condition while vegetation becomes established. We understand the temptation to explore the area, but ask that everyone please respect the posted closures. Once the site stabilizes, we look forward to restoring public access for hiking, fishing, and overall enjoyment.
Gravel removal work on Reach B (above/upstream from the recently completed Reach A restoration site) has been underway for just over a month. Schofield Excavation is already making tremendous progress processing and removing dredge rock. As work advances, Schofield will also begin importing and placing suitable soil for the riparian and upland restoration areas; rough grading the future stream channel, riparian, and upland areas; and producing materials required for constructing channel, riparian, upland, and floodplain features.
Reach B is currently an active construction site and, for safety and operations reasons, no public access is permitted unless specifically authorized by Summit County, and/or the Schofield Excavation.
Over the last week, OST hosted two site visits. One site visit was with an Ecological Restoration Case Studies undergraduate course from Colorado State University (CSU). As a component to the course, students participate in a week-long field trip around Colorado to learn about the complexities of planning, implementing, and monitoring different kinds of restoration projects. Professor Tony Cheng, Director of the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute and Professor at the CSU Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, enthusiastically included the Swan River Restoration Project into the lesson plan, as it is an ideal fit with class learning objectives.
The other site visit was with members of the Summit County Garden Club. The club works to educate their members and the community about gardening in Summit County and the ongoing large-scale restoration effort in the Swan River Valley has certainly caught their attention.
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.
Posted on June 23, 2017 at 3:18 PM by Jason Lederer
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.
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.