A Day on the Lower Bear Creek Watershed

IMG_1576Yesterday the Groundwork Denver Lower Bear Creek Watershed Plan Team spent the Day in the city of Sheridan at various locations along the Urban Lower Bear Creek. Appreciating nature and green space in an urban setting, but also taking water samples and observing, surveying, recording and asking questions about the conditions in and around this stream of water so that we can work towards improving the quality of the creek and getting the surrounding community involved in finding these solutions.

We are doing these tests in partnership with Colorado River Watch, a statewide volunteer water quality monitoring program, ran through Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

Sampling of the Bear Creek took place at Bear Creek Park and another location a few miles downstream and just East of Federal Blvd. Samples are being taken to test the water quality of the Bear Creek as it flows through urban areas where it eventually meets with South Platte River.

There is already an identified problem with contamination (i.e. E. Coli) in the Bear Creek, but yesterday’s tests were not addressing this particular issue.  Tests ran on the water samples Wednesday and Thursday involved the measurement of pH levels in the water, its hardness (level of dissolved minerals in the water), and alkalinity (the quantitative capacity of an aqueous solution to neutralize and acid). Samples were also taken to send to River Watch so that they can run tests on all metals that have been dissolved into the water.

IMG_1586After taking water samples in the morning, Groundwork Denver, The Bureau of Land Management, The Denver Dept. of Environmental Health, LBC Watershed Steering Committee members, and other volunteers walked an approximately 1.5 mile stretch of the Bear Creek to observe and record the conditions of the creek to assess whether or not is in Proper Functioning Condition (PFC). For the particular stretch of the creek walked, it was in fact considered to be in PFC. Although this is a good sign the issue of water quality is still looming, but to be able to take positives out of the day.

A big thank you to everyone who participated in the PFC survey. Also, a special THANK YOU to Aaron Mohammadi who has been key a player for the Lower Bear Creek Watershed Plan and will be leaving Groundwork Denver at the end of this week.

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To get involved in the Lower Bear Creek Watershed Plan Steering Committee or to volunteer to help the program please contact Program Director Rachel Hansgen rachel@groundworkcolorado.org