Idarado Mine restoration

Background

In 1992, the State of Colorado collected $1 million in natural resource damages injured by the Idarado Mining operations to restore, replace, and purchase natural resources. 

Idarado Mining Company also paid $100,000 to the State for a program that improved the aquatic habitat in the San Miguel River basin where it meets with Bear Creek in the Uncompahgre River basin. 

Restoration     

In 1999, the State’s Natural Resource Trustees approved funding for three projects with the condition that a conservation easement be placed on the property purchased or restored to protect them from any future development.

  • The city of Ouray completed the Uncompahgre River Restoration Project, which recreated the river channel and re-vegetated the floodplain with wetland and riparian vegetation, creating wildlife habitat and improving aquatic habitat.
  • The Town of Telluride completed the San Miguel River Restoration Project which stabilized the channel, restored and improved wetland and riparian communities, and created an aquatic and wildlife habitat along a 0.7 mile disturbed stretch of the San Miguel River.

The Ouray Trail Group Inc. purchased 72 acres of alpine habitat in Yankee Boy Basin, which is shown in the photo to the right.

72 acres of alpine habitat in Yankee Boy Basin.

In 2000, the Trustees awarded funds to three additional projects with the condition that the awardees place a conservation easement on the property purchased or restored, protecting them from any future development.

  • The Town of Telluride completed Phase II of the San Miguel River Restoration Project, which restored river channel characteristics, riparian and wetland vegetation, and improved aquatic habitat in the San Miguel River for approximately 0.3 miles, from the Pine Street Bridge downstream to Aspen Street.
  • San Miguel County rehabilitated a 0.3 mile disturbed stretch of the San Miguel River by restoring approximately 0.5 acres of wetland and riparian communities, and creating and improving an aquatic and wildlife habitat, located approximately 13 miles downstream of Telluride.
  • Ouray County received funds to purchase 122 acres of sub-alpine ecosystem in the Red Mountain Creek watershed. 

In 2018, the Natural Resource Trustees granted funds to be applied towards the Trust for Land Restoration’s acquisition of Silver Mountain Mine.

Governor’s Basin showing mine tailings that impact nearby water quality.
Photo above of Governor’s Basin showing mine tailings that impact nearby water quality.

In 2019, the Trustees awarded the remaining Idarado natural resource damage funds to the Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership to restore alpine, riparian and aquatic habitat and improve water quality in Governor Creek, Sneffels Creek, and Canyon Creek.

Contact

Ross Davis
ross.davis@state.co.us
303-692-3362