Water Quality Monitoring
Major synoptic sampling efforts were conducted in 2005 and 2006 to
assess water quality in the upper reaches of the watershed that are most impacted from historic mining.
Henson Creek water quality data and mine waste data from selected mine sites was used to write the Reclamation Feasibility Report, Henson Creek Watershed. This report outlines and ranks the most important mine sites for reclamation and recommends Best Management Practices. To date, three sites have been identified for restoration with construction activities started in 2007.
The LFVC has also worked to develop Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) for Palmetto Gulch, a tributary to Henson Creek, which is listed as water quality impaired on Colorado’s 303(d) List due to high levels of zinc and cadmium. The Federal Clean Water Act requires the adoption of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL’s) for water bodies that do not meet adopted water quality standards. The purpose of the TMDL Assessment is to identify reductions in cadmium and zinc concentrations from mining sources that will enable the segment to support aquatic life and to meet the adopted water quality standards. Attainment of the adopted water quality standards for cadmium and zinc will require reductions in both mining and natural sources of these metals.
The LFVC is coordinating public input on the TMDL process through review of the Palmetto TMDL document and through public hearings.