Fountain Creek: ‘Dirt-A-Tracter’ sediment collector is working as planned so far, Colorado Springs plans more installations if evaluation project is successful


From the Colorado Springs Independent (Pam Zubeck):

Located just above the confluence of Fountain Creek and the Arkansas River, the collector is designed not only to remove clogs that contribute to flooding, but also to improve conditions for aquatic life. The 400 cubic yards a day of sandy material it removes will be used to extend the Palo Verde Trail and expand levees in Pueblo.

If it’s successful during its one-year test period, others could be installed along the creek, says Larry Small, former Springs City Councilman and executive director of the Fountain Creek Watershed, Flood Control and Greenway District, which spearheaded the project. And it might help to improve relations between Pueblo and Colorado Springs…

The collector, dubbed the “Dirt-A-Tracter,” is the Watershed District’s first tangible project. The second is a detention pond in northeast Pueblo, funded with $700,000 in state and federal grants, that’s to become operational in September. But the district faces $200 million worth of projects, as outlined in a soon-to-be-released long-range master plan.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” Small says. “That 44-mile corridor is in pretty bad shape.”

He notes the district has authority to levy up to 5 mills in property tax, with approval of voters in both El Paso and Pueblo counties, but any ballot measure would be years away. The district also can impose fees, but there’s no talk of doing so within the 692-square-mile watershed. As Small says: “You know how successful the stormwater fee was in Colorado Springs.” (The city’s Stormwater Enterprise was dismantled following a 2009 ballot measure.)[…]

Small says Colorado State University-Pueblo will monitor the collector system’s impact on sediment and aquatic life over the next year.

More Fountain Creek coverage here and here.

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