Hello HCCA Members!

Coal Creek runs through the town of Crested Butte, making it defining feature of our community. The creek provides our town with high quality drinking water delivered straight from Lake Irwin and offers numerous opportunities for angling and recreation. It also delivers waters to ditches that supply local irrigators. This month HCCA and the Coal Creek Watershed Coalition (CCWC) are collaborating with the Town of Crested Butte and local irrigators to improve water quality and riparian habitat along Coal Creek by reconstructing McCormick Ditch.

In years past, maintaining the McCormick Ditch required driving heavy machinery into the creek to reshape the diversion, every spring. This new project will improve efficiency for agricultural and municipal ditch users and eliminating this need for yearly maintenance. The stream ecosystem will be improved by avoiding annual disturbances and because the new diversion will have less of an impact on the natural flows of the Creek.

HCCA and the CCWC will also be working together to plant willows along the banks of McCormick Ditch on October 20th (weather permitting). This will help repair the riparian habitat by causing bank stabilization and better water filtration.

Phase one of the project, the physical construction of the headgate, was completed on October 9th. HCCA and Coal Creek will be planting willows to complete the project on October 20th (weather permitting). Please feel free to stop by and check out the site on the 20th! We’d love to share more with our members about how these collaborative projects can keep our streams healthy while offering benefits to other local water users.

HCCA and CCWC would like to thank the Gunnison Basin Roundtable and Colorado Water Conservation Board and Bill Lacy and Verzuh Ranch for their support and funding of this project!



Julie Nania

HCCA Water Program Director