Brush Creek Improvement Project

The intent of the project was to improve stream health from the lower Sylvan Lake Road bridge near Highway 6 to the upper end of the Eagle Ranch development boundary (approximately 3.5 miles of creek). The project was coordinated jointly by the Eagle Ranch Wildlife Committee, Town of Eagle and the Colorado Division of Wildlife under permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. Funding for the project came from the Eagle Ranch Wildlife Trust Fund, Colorado Division of Wildlife’s “Fishing Is Fun” grant, Town of Eagle and the Eagle Ranch Association. Three adjoining landowners (Bill Johnson, Wayne Fisher and Scott Skelton) also contributed money, materials or labor toward the completion of the project.

The project work involved using mechanical equipment to construct gravel bars, pools, riffles and stabilize eroding streambanks; and reconstruction of two irrigation water diversion head gates. Emphasis was on well-established practices that improve stream health and fish habitat for spawning, feeding, resting and wintering. The project included numerous plantings of small cottonwood trees, willows, and other shrub species. Disturbed sites were also replanted with a native grass/forb seed mix. The work was completed on portions of the stream on Town open space, as well as all the adjacent private properties along the 3.5-mile stretch.

Purpose
The purpose of the project was two-fold. First, due to past agricultural activities, soil type and watershed characteristics this stretch of Brush Creek had severely eroded banks. Those eroded banks degraded the aquatic environment by adding large of amounts of sediment during high water. The eroded banks also added excess bedload, which the stream could not adequately transport. The excess bedload formed mid- channel bars that intensified the issues by creating additional bank instability and channel avulsions. The instability degraded trout habitat by covering cobbles with sediment, decreasing pool depth, and degrading aquatic macro-invertebrate habitat.

Secondly, the project was conducted to improve trout habitat. Revegetated streambanks automatically improved trout habitat. In-stream habitat work manipulated the bed to form pools, pool tail-outs, properly shaped point bars and stable riffles. The project designers used the principles of stable channel morphology to accomplish this. Hard riffles were constructed where needed to stabilize pools and pools were excavated to increase depth. Excavated material was used to create point bars and extend riffles.

Partners
  • Town of Eagle
  • Colorado Division of Wildlife
  • Eagle Ranch Association
  • 14 adjacent property owners
  • Mike Claffey-Claffey Ecological Consulting, Inc., design and 404 permitting
  • Matt Weaver-Five Rivers, Inc., design and construction
Project Time Frame
Started in 2003 and finished in 2009

Cost of Project
  • Eagle Ranch Wildlife Mitigation Trust Fund - $ 276,692.39
  • Colorado Division of Wildlife, Fishing Is Fun Grant - 60,000.00
  • Total - $ 336,692.39