Ponds help to restore Fraser River health
On Aug. 15, reconstruction work will begin on the Fraser River Settling Pond along U.S. Highway 40, across from the entrance to the Mary Jane ski area.
The project is located in the Arapaho National Forest and involves collaboration between the Colorado Department of Transportation, Denver Water, the Town of Winter Park and Grand County as well as the East Grand Water Quality Board, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
The 15-year-old pond will be rebuilt to better trap and collect sediment that washes down the road. Improved engineering will allow CDOT to easily remove excess sediment from the pond without impacting wetlands or infrastructure. The sediment will be hauled to a Grand County gravel pit for reuse. The sediment has been tested to make sure there are no environmental concerns.
In rivers, trout need cold, clear water with a loose, rocky bottom. Traction cinders used on Berthoud Pass in the winter end up in the Fraser River, choking spawning beds and other aquatic habitat and undermining overall stream health.
In addition, the excess sediment clogs Winter Park Water and Sanitation District drinking water intake pipes and Winter Park Resort’s diversion pumps. By collecting and removing the excess sediment, project partners hope to improve water quality and the functioning of the Fraser River ecosystem.
The settling pond was originally constructed in 1995 through an $114,000 federal grant, but over time the original design didn’t function as expected. In 2008, the East Grand Water Quality Board acquired an $187,900 Colorado Water Conservation Board grant to reconstruct the settling pond.
Grand County will administer project construction. CDOT has contributed $100,000 toward project re-engineering and construction.
As part of the proposed enhancements within the Moffat Firming Project Agreement, Denver Water has contributed $50,000 toward construction and will take ownership and responsibility for the infrastructure.
JVA Inc., a local engineering firm, re-designed the pond to improve sediment collection and to create a method for channeling water away from the basin when necessary. The re-design also includes access improvements from U.S. Highway 40 to accommodate long term maintenance and sediment removal without impacting wetlands or Denver Water’s infrastructure.
Construction is scheduled to be completed by Sept. 30.
For more information, call Grand County at 970-725-3347 or visit http://www.co.grand.co.us.
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West Grand seniors Rene Dominguez, right, and Angel Dominguez pass the baton during one of the nighttime relays at the 2021 Joe Shields Invitational at WGHS.