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Summer 2017 Newsletter

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2017 Children’s Water Festival

Educating children of the Pikes Peak Region is not only crucial for local water quality, but also for water quality downstream of Colorado Springs. In order to eliminate pollutants, our cultural mindset must be perfectly crafted and changed, such that all citizens respect and value the natural resources we are provided with. Colorado Springs made local history this year by holding its first ever Pikes Peak Children’s Water Festival. After Mayor John Suthers greeted the  more than 500 attending 4th graders from District 11, he sent them on their way to learn about water, wildlife, and pollution. The Catamount Institute surveyed water samples from Mesa Creek to teach about macro invertebrates and worms. Colorado Parks and Wildlife brought live fish for kids to make better connections to local aquatic ecosystems. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo discussed the impact that water can have on wildlife. Employees from Colorado Springs Utilities and the Water Resources Engineering Division used EnviroScape models to explain point and non-point source pollution and how they impact water. There was even water relay races! Hopefully next year’s festival is bigger and better so we can pass down a legacy of fun and water education.

D-11 IB Program Restores Leon Young Picnic Pavilion

International Baccalaureate students from William J. Palmer High School fulfilled some of their community and service hours by restoring the Leon Young Picnic Pavilion. Before this restoration, the park was dull and run down, but the students picked up trash, replaced wooden planks, and painted a wall with beautiful bright colors. Whereas the park was easily overlooked before, the rainbow wall now catches the attention of all that pass by. On the other side of the wall “El Mundo Es Mĺo”, was painted which means “The World Is Mine” in Spanish. Keeping our parks clean is an important component of having a happy, healthy city. To learn about volunteer opportunities like this restoration project, contact Jerry Cordova at jcordova@springsgov.com

Trash Mob

Inspired by internet-famous flash mobs, Trash Mobs aim to capture the public’s attention, clean the city, and  inspire other citizens to take care of public spaces. Pictured here are a few Mobbers, all dressed as Rosie the Riveter to  align with  the “intersectional and responsible citizen” theme. Trash Mob sessions are only an hour long, so could fit into any busy schedule. Popular cleanup sites include but are not limited to: parks,  trails, creeks, and neighborhoods. Keep Colorado Clean!

Think Outside the Lawn

First and foremost, when spreading herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers on your lawn, check the weather to make sure rain is not in the forecast. Rain will wash away these products, leaving your lawn desolate, your money wasted, and pollutants running through our waterways. Fertilizers contain nutrients like Phosphorus and Nitrogen that plants require to grow. However, these nutrients can be detrimental to waterways when in excess. Algae will take up these nutrients and grow like a sheet over the surface of the water, thus taking up all oxygen in the water, and blocking out sunlight. This process, eutrophication, not only pollutes our drinking water, but also destroys aquatic ecosystems. In order to prevent these issues, reduce man-made fertilizer use by using compost, grass clippings, or other natural alternatives to help your garden grow. Try to grow drought-resistant and native plants rather than anything requiring high maintenance. To reduce pesticides and herbicides, use integrated pest management (IPM), systems that use natural biological processes to easily maintain a natural balance between organisms within your garden.

Keep Grass Clippings Out of Waterways

Grass clippings can turn into a major source of pollution. For one, grass clippings have phosphorus and nitrogen, just like fertilizers. When these nutrients get into water systems, they fuel eutrophication and as well as the failure of marine ecosystems. Even still, taller grass shades roots beneath it, thus holding in moisture and reducing evaporation of water. Therefore, your grass is more likely to survive when it can grow longer! Mow your lawns only as needed. If there are any grass clippings left over after mowing, sweep them up and distribute them onto the lawn again. This acts as a natural fertilizer!

Project Updates

Golden Barrel Ct. Project

Golden Barrel Ct. is one of the TABOR projects funded by Ballot Measure 2.  This site is a historic flooding area because it lies near the bottom of a drainage basin where stormwater flows overland before being captured into a below ground conveyance system at the cul-de-sac of Golden Barrel Court. Sediment from the overland flows can clog the inlet and flood the surrounding areas including one of the resident’s basements.  The goal of this project was to clean out the existing inlet and increase its size so it can convey more water to the below ground system, thereby mitigating the risk of flooding in the area and improving safety.  To the left are before and after pictures of the inlet improvements. Additionally, areas upstream of this project are being studied to determine how to reduce the amount of sediment transported in the overland flows. Fixing problems upstream is the solution to downstream troubles!

Monument Branch Channel Stabilization

Phase I of this project was completed in the spring of 2017 with a construction cost of $1.6 million and was funded by a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) grant.  This project is one of the 71 projects identified in the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with Pueblo.  The project goal was to protect two major utility crossings and stabilize the existing natural channel by constructing sculpted concrete drop structures that will slow the flow of water through the channel.  The project also included plantings along the banks of the channel to help further improve stability of the surrounding area.  Phase II of this project is expected to cost $1.1 million and should start in the Fall of 2017. This phase will improve upon other areas of the creek and utility crossings and will aim to prevent future erosion. Ultimately, these projects will reduce sediment in water, thus improving the water quality. 

Ballot Issue 2

Over the next 20 years, the City has committed to spending $460 million to repair and improve its stormwater system and complete 71 projects planned within the Pueblo IGA.  The projects focus on improved water detention, reduction of flows, reduction of sediment and pollution, and increased public safety. The April 4, 2017, city election Ballot Issue 2 asked citizens if the City should retain $6,000,000 of revenues from 2016. These funds would go toward additional Water Resources Engineering Projects and citizens would not experience an increase in taxes. If the vote was negative, this money would be returned to the citizens via a refund determined by the City Council. Ballot Issue 2 passed by a great margin, so $6,000,000 of revenues will be available to the Water Resources Engineering Division.  For more information please visit: coloradosprings.gov/waterresources

Fountain Creek Brewshed Alliance

The Fountain Creek Brewshed Alliance is an effort to connect local breweries to local watersheds. The Alliance is one of the first in the nation, and first in the state, putting Colorado Springs at the headway of a new movement.

Fountain Creek Brewshed Alliance Mission Statement: “The Fountain Creek Brewshed Alliance works to connect our communities to the shared values of healthy watersheds to locally-made beer through education and events.”

This alliance creates stronger community on the bases of local water and local beer. Drawing connections between these two fields enhances human connection, cradles local businesses, and promotes water quality within the Fountain Creek Watershed. Both causes are supported by “fundraising through hosting and participating events, sharing regional conservation work through social media and conversation with patrons, and participating in conservation initiatives”

Report Spills and Illegal Dumping

Just one quart of oil can contaminate up to one million  gallons of water! This pollution is extremely costly, difficult to clean, dangerous to wildlife, and  detrimental to ecosystems. Oil isn't the only pollutant presenting as a threat to our waterways. Leaves, grass clippings,  trash, food, dirt, or any other foreign substance can be dangerous  to our waterways. Help to keep our city clean by reporting spills and dumping!

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Previous Newsletters

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January 2017