HCCA Water Program Director, Julie Nania, explaining her favorite ecological aspects of Brush Creek. Photo: Lydia Stern
I am contacting you today because we have an unprecedented opportunity to raise $30,000 to support our efforts to protect local water quality. At High Country Conservation Advocates (HCCA), protecting water quality is a two-pronged effort that in many instances requires safeguarding cool AND clean water. HCCA is participating as a party in state rulemaking processes to ensure protective stream temperature standards in the Gunnison Basin. At the same time we are continuing our longstanding work to maintain protective water quality standards for Coal Creek.
In recognition of the need to protect our cool water, one generous donor has pledged a $15,000 matching donation. I need your help in raising $15,000 to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity. Can I count on you?
Through our efforts, HCCA strives to safeguard drinking water as well as the ecosystems that sustain our wildlife and recreational uses throughout Gunnison County. Whether your go-to summer activity is fly-fishing on the Gunnison River or sipping iced tea while listening to the airy song of yellow warblers along a river, cool and clean water is the foundation of ecosystem and human needs.
Backcountry Advocate Billy Rankin posing with a nice brown trout in the Gunnison Gorge. Photo: Brett Henderson
Protecting Cool Water: Stream Temperature Standards
Elevated stream temperatures can stress fisheries, leading to reduced reproductive success and – in extreme circumstances – even causing fish mortality. Stream temperature is a crucial component of aquatic ecosystem health and is regulated by the Clean Water Act as applied by both federal and state law.
Currently, the Colorado Water Quality Control Division is proposing changes to stream temperature regulations on certain reaches in the Gunnison Basin. HCCA is participating in the hearing process, advocating for stream temperature standards that are protective of aquatic life and supported by local data.
Your support is crucial for meeting our matching $15,000 donation so we can continue working with our partners to obtain protective temperature standards.
Protecting Clean Water: Water Quality in Coal Creek
HCCA’s efforts to protect clean water focus on water quality in local creeks, including Coal Creek, which flows through Crested Butte. We are participating in state processes to maintain water quality standards that are protective of aquatic life and human health. Our work includes coordination with Gunnison Basin partners like the Coal Creek Watershed Coalition, the Town of Crested Butte, Gunnison County, the Water Quality Control Division, and the Mt. Emmons Mining Company/Freeport-McMoRan (MEMC/Freeport).
MEMC/Freeport owns the water treatment plant that treats acid mine drainage before it enters Coal Creek, along with the mining and millsite claims on Mt. Emmons. With their recent acquisition of the Mt. Emmons property, we have garnered new opportunities to address certain causes of metal loading in Coal Creek while moving forward with setting water quality standards on this stretch of water.
We’re looking forward to beautiful summer days on the water. Photo: Lydia Stern
I hope you will contribute to our fundraising effort so we can continue our ongoing work to protect cool and clean water. Together, we can meet our $15,000 matching goal and continue to support healthy headwaters.
Brett A. Henderson