319 Success Story: Coal Creek Watershed

Dec. 5, 2014

Forty years of large-scale coal mining in an area characterized by extremely unstable, steep slopes resulted in widespread erosion and debris flows that degraded water quality and stream habitat throughout Colorado’s Coal Basin. As a result, Coal Creek (including its tributaries) to the confluence with the Crystal River-a total of 22.3 miles-was placed on the state’s Clean Water Act section 303(d) list in 1998 for failing to support its aquatic life designated use due to exceedances in total recoverable iron associated with excessive sediment loadings.

Implementation of best management practices to address the mining-related problems resulted in improved water quality. Monitoring in 2002 showed that Coal Creek and its tributaries met water quality standards and supported the aquatic life designated use. As a result, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Water Quality Control Division removed Coal Creek from the Colorado impaired waters list in 2004.

Learn more about the Coal Creek Watershed and Crystal River, Colorado, success story here.

Source: US EPA