Environmental and Recreational Improvements

North Clear Creek

The environmental cleanup involved in this project will allow for additional recreation along the North Fork of Clear Creek.  This section of the creek, which runs between Black Hawk and the confluence with the main channel, is currently considered “dead”, or unable to support and sustain plant, aquatic and biologic life, due to the mine drainage and heavy metal pollutants in its runoff.

Similar pollutants once clogged the main (South) channel of the Creek near Idaho Springs, but with help from the CDPHE and the EPA, the Argo Tunnel and treatment plant was built and has revitalized that section of the stream.  After years of research a similar plan has been created to restore the North Fork of Clear Creek.

The result will lead to the revitalization of a once forgotten portion of Clear Creek, and in time it will again support aquatic life.  Removing the heavy metals from this body of water will improve the water quality of the main stem of Clear Creek, which is used by fishermen, rafters, and water enthusiasts for recreational activities. The main stem of Clear Creek is also a major source of drinking water for several suburban cities downstream in the Denver Metro area, including Golden, Thornton and Northglenn.  Thus the cleanup of this stream will directly improve water in several communities.

Once the water quality in the North Fork has been restored, hiking trails and a bike path will be created to encourage additional public use of the area.


Wildlife Overpass

Wildlife Bridge.JPGOver the years several roadway improvements have caused an interruption in the migratory pattern of the native Long Horn Sheep in the Black Hawk area, causing unnecessary accidents and herd casualties.  The creation of a wildlife overpass across SH 119 at Mile Post 0.1, which follows the traditional crossing of the sheep, will help to re-route them back along a safe and more natural path, so they can reach grazing areas on along the creek.

This bridge will be the first of its kind in the United States for Long Horn Sheep. NCCMAC hopes its success will lead to similar projects across the country to help keep wildlife safe.