Summitville Mine restoration

Background

Together, the State of Colorado and the Department of Interior obtained $5 million as result of the hazardous release of acid mine drainage at the Summitville Mine Superfund Site, which resulted in injuries to the Alamosa River Watershed.

Restoration

  • In 2005, the Natural Resource Trustees approved three projects to improve the Alamosa River Watershed. 
    1. Trust for Public Lands Alamosa River Watershed Restoration Project stabilized eroded stream banks, reestablished wetlands, and restored aquatic habitat in the area above the confluence of Wightman Fork down to the Alamosa River Campground. This project is complete.
    2. The Alamosa River In-Stream Flow Project purchased and transferred 2.5 cubic feet per second of senior water rights to the Colorado Water Conservation Board to help improve water flow in the Alamosa River downstream of the Terrace Reservoir.
    3. The Alamosa River Watershed Restoration Foundation Project restored 2.6 miles of streambed and riparian corridor, reestablishing the habitat and health of the Alamosa River, in and near the Town of Capulin, Colorado.

An improved segment of the Alamosa River through new head gates for irrigation diversion and improved headwall structures that reduce erosion.
An improved segment of the Alamosa River through new head gates for irrigation diversion and improved headwall structures that reduce erosion.
  • In 2011, the Terrace Reservoir Spillway Construction Project was completed which was partially funded with $2 million from the Natural Resource Damages received as part of the Summitville Mine settlement.
  • In 2017, the Trustees awarded the Rediscovering Alamosa River Project to promote fishing and conduct water sampling efforts to show ongoing river quality improvements.

 

  • In 2020, the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust was awarded funds for the Lower Alamosa River Riparian Restoration project that is designed to improve and restore riparian corridors and producing, locally owned ranchland along 2.5 miles of the Alamosa River near County Road 10.
  • In 2021, the Trustees awarded the remaining funds to Trout Unlimited for the acquisition or leasing of water rights and their storage in the Terrace Reservoir and to Wenck Associates to complete a final riverbed restoration project that will improve streambank stabilization and aquatic habitat and restore the overall function and health of the Alamosa River.

 

 

 

Contact

Susan Newton
Federal Facilities Rocky Mountain Arsenal Team Leader 
susan.newton@state.co.us
303-692-3321

A girl participating in one of the fishing educational events. Photo credit to the Alamosa River Foundation.
A girl participating in one of the fishing educational events. Photo credit to the Alamosa River Foundation.