Water Quality Monitoring Sites Help Navigate the Many Colors of the #ColoradoRiver – Steambot Pilot & Today – Coyote Gulch

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The Grizzly Creek Fire jumped Grizzly Creek north of Glenwood Canyon. (Provided by the City of Glenwood Springs)

Click the link to read the article on the Steamboat Pilot & Today (Ray Erku) website. Here is an exerpt :

Turbidity in the Colorado River drops to levels before the major wildfires and mudslides that rocked Glenwood Canyon in 2020 and 2021, said Trey Fonner, director of public works for Silt… Whenever rock and loose dirt was unearthed by heavy torrential rains in the Colorado River – the main source of drinking and agricultural use for silt, rifle and parachute – increased sediment. The measurement is called turbidity…Turbidity levels rose after the Grizzly Creek Fire consumed more than 32,631 acres in Glenwood Canyon in 2020 and after a rare 500-year rainfall event in the summer of 2021 caused massive debris flows in the same area…

Paula Stepp, executive director of the Middle Colorado Watershed Council, said one way to mitigate turbidity is through new measuring devices installed along the Colorado River. Through water quality monitoring stations established by the USGS in Garfield County, data collected at these sites is used to warn downstream users. Although Glenwood Springs’ main source of water is not the Colorado River, the city has water monitoring stations at Veltus Park on the Roaring Fork River and at the confluence of the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers near Two Rivers Park. Three other stations are located in South Canyon, Silt and Rulison…

Recently, Silt used $200,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds to pursue an engineering study on how he can improve his methods of drawing water from the Colorado River. This study concluded that the city needed at least $30 million to not only address turbidity levels, but also to better serve its growing population. One way to pay for water and wastewater treatment improvements is through the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by Congress in November 2021.

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