by Dalton Carver
The Environmental Protection Agency’s project on the Camp Bird Mine near Ouray will restart later this month, EPA representatives informed the Board of County Commissioners at its regular meeting the morning of May 1. The work will be the end of the first phase of the project, prior to the mine’s purchaser taking over the property’s maintenance.
Due to a lack of snow, the project will start earlier than expected, on May 21.
Last season, the EPA dealt with the lower downstream load of historic tailings on the mining property. At project restart, the agency will turn its focus to the upstream tailings.
“We’re trying to give Imogene Creek, Sneffels Creek and Canyon Creek more room to roam through there,” said Marty McComb, EPA on-scene coordinator. “We’ll be peeling the tailings back upstream now and working in the creeks more.”
McComb said this summer’s work will require excavators in the creeks trying to widen the channel. That work, he said, will likely release sediment into the creeks.
“We’ll try to minimize those things, but it’s the nature of the work,” he said.
In addition, the EPA will place flow control structures in the creeks to keep the flows within the creek channel, especially in times of high water.
The banks will also receive attention and will be armored with rock stockpiled from the area last season. Responding to concern of hauling rocks up to the mine site, the EPA was able to...