With the support of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Groundwork Denver and its partners created a non point source watershed plan for urban Bear Creek in 2014.  The primary goals of the plan include ongoing water quality sampling, partnership building, and community education and stewardship.


The segment of Bear Creek between Kipling Parkway and the confluence with the South Platte River was listed on Colorado’s impaired waters list in 2008 because of high E. coli levels.  E. coli is a bacterium that aids digestion in warm-blooded animals. Its presence in environmental waters indicates fecal contamination.  Pathogenic bacteria, viruses and parasites can also be present where there is fecal contamination.  Recreating in urban waters can pose public health risks when polluted water is ingested or enters the body through open cuts or wounds. Always wash your hands before eating or touching your face if you have come in contact with urban waters.


Groundwork Denver/Sheridan High School Blue Team

This summer six dedicated high school students from Sheridan supported Groundwork Denver’s ongoing water quality sampling efforts.  The “Blue Team” spent two months in the field collecting samples and field parameters.  Students also learned about potential career options from partners at the US EPA, the Bear Creek Watershed Association, US Fish and Wildlife Service, South Suburban Parks and Recreation, Earth Force and the Metro State University Biology Department.

Blue Team member Fernando Chavez collecting a water sample from the Bear Creek in Sheridan
Blue Team member Fernando Chavez collecting a water sample from the Bear Creek in Sheridan


River Watch – Volunteer to Keep Your Creek Clean!

Join River Watch and help keep the pulse on clean-up efforts of urban Bear Creek!  Once each month, volunteers spend 2 to 3 hours collecting samples and conducting experiments to determine the hardness, alkalinity and dissolved oxygen content of urban Bear Creek.  This is a great way to learn, meet interesting people and protect the habitats that make Bear Creek a true gem in the city.

Contact Rachel Hansgen for more information:  rachel@groundworkdenver.org or 303.455.5600.

Site 759_Volunteers (2)Harvey Park residents collect samples from Bear Creek to be analyzed for metals and nutrients.


Lower Bear Creek Water Quality Map

How to use this map:

Icons are located at sites of E. coli sampling along the Lower Bear Creek. A red icon indicates that the site is not safe for recreation, based on the EPA’s limit of 126 colony counts per 100 mL of water. A green icon indicates that the most recent sample tested below this level. Click on the icon to learn more about each site!