Projects

What is NCCMAC?

North Clear Creek Mitigation Advisory Committee

An extraordinary degree of public agency cooperation has gone into the planning and development of the North Clear Creek Project. The numerous agencies that make up this group are known as the North Clear Creek Mitigation Advisory Committee (NCCMAC).  Formed in early 2007 to work on this project in a collaborative and cost efficient manner, the agencies involved include:

  • Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT)
  • Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Silver Dollar Metropolitan District
  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
  • Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • City of Black Hawk
  • Gilpin County
  • Dept. of Natural Resources- Division of Reclamation and Mining Safety
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Several other local, state and federal agencies

Location

The North Clear Creek Valley Restoration Project is located in the front range of the Rocky Mountains, about 30 minutes west of Denver, Colorado. The project is in a mainly scenic, mountainous rural area and involves restoration and improvements to sections of US 6, US 40 and SH 119 within the city of Black Hawk.

NCC Project Area.jpg

History

Gold was discovered near Idaho Springs in January 1859, and in the Black Hawk/Central City area the following May.  For the next 20 years, as more gold and silver was discovered and recovered, the Black Hawk/Central City area was the leading mining center in Colorado.  Construction of mills followed, to process the gold and silver found through placer and hard-rock mining. The decline of mining in the area began with the silver crash in the 1890s and the rise of mining in Leadville.  However, mining continued to be an important industry in Clear Creek and Gilpin counties from the turn of the century until approximately 1950. Since 1950, mining in the area has been limited, with only a handful of mines operating.

This was mining conducted in a different era, without much consideration to long-term environmental impacts.  Hence, the tailings piles, adits and abandoned mine workings and equipment pose a significant environmental and safety hazard to present-day travelers and back-country users.

The North Clear Creek site was placed on the list of Superfund sites in September 1983. Since that time, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, EPA and the local community have worked to clean up heavy metal contamination resulting from hard rock mining in the area. The Department and EPA have developed clean-up plans to deal with the worst sources of contamination within the Clear Creek watershed.

In 1992, limited stakes gaming began in Central City and Black Hawk.  Introduction of gambling has led to some land use changes, and certainly increased traffic along Highway 119.  While these changes have the potential to increase the direct human exposure to mine wastes, many mine waste clean-up and safety projects were implemented as property developed.

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