The District's work, through a collaborative effort between many organizations, focuses on protecting, preserving and enhancing our waterways for the benefit of citizens and our natural habitat throughout the region for today and future generations. We care about clean and safe waterways, water quality, and enhancing the ability to fish and recreate in our waterways for improved quality of life for all.
Fountain Creek Chronicles
September 2019
Creek Week - YOU Can Make a Difference!
QUICK – FUN AND EASY
From September 28 – October 6 
1 - 2-hour commitment
Anyone can participate – All Ages, Demographics
What is approximately 40 times as heavy as a hippopotamus, is 180 times as heavy as a grand piano, and is 42 times as heavy as a car? The answer is the amount of trash, in tons, that volunteers have picked up during “Creek Week” since its inception in 2014.

“Creek Week” began as a way to encourage citizens to help remove litter and debris from our land and waters, raise awareness of watershed health and to foster a sense of community, and has grown into an annual event. It provides an opportunity for communities to give back, to enjoy the parks and trails they are cleaning and to understand their place in the Fountain Creek Watershed.
 
Concerned citizens from Palmer Lake, Monument, Colorado Springs, Woodland Park, Green Mountain Falls, Manitou Springs, Fountain, Pueblo and beyond will come together from September 28-October 6, to clean and protect the Fountain Creek Watershed.
Participants include individuals and groups, from towns, cities, churches, and organizations. Last year nearly 3,000 volunteers removed 24 tons of litter from Palmer Lake to Pueblo and further. Volunteer participation has grown 350 percent over its 5-year history. Now it’s your turn to get involved.  Complete the online form  to facilitate a Crew, or click on Public Event Registration to join in on 40+ public cleanups at: at  www.fountaincreekweek.com . For any “Creek Week” related questions, email the Steering Committee at   creekweeksoco@gmail.com .
Creek Week and the Pikes Peak Litter Letter Project

In celebration of October "Arts Month," the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region and the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance will orchestrate the 2nd annual "Pikes Peak Litter Letter Project." Trash collected during "Creek Week" turns into a unique piece of public art. Modeled after the national "Litter Letter Project," (with permission to use their logo and concept), the local "Pikes Peak Litter Letter Project" inspires artistic creativity and passion for the outdoors. Creating a public art piece that focuses on keeping our public lands and waterways clean reminds us of the importance of our environmental stewardship.
The community is invited to participate in several cleanups throughout our local trails and lands during National Public Lands Day (September 28) and in conjunction with "Creek Week" (September 28 to October 6). Participants will gather litter at several sites and then fill giant letters made from recycled metal that spell the word "PRISTINE." The letters, constructed by Concrete Couch, will be on display throughout the month of October, in celebration of “Arts Month,” on a berm, just off Cimarron Street, east of I-25, and south of America the Beautiful Park. DOWNLOAD AREA MAP .
The general public is also invited to support the project through a social media contest on Instagram by using the hashtag #PikesPeakLitterLetters. Show us how you keep your community PRISTINE.
 
You can also check out the video from last year made by the City of Colorado Springs here:  https://www.peakradar.com/litter-letters/ .
 
So, what is involved in your participation? Two Letters Remaining For Adoption!

If your cleanup group wants to adopt a letter – P-R-I-S-T-I-N-E, you would be responsible for:
  • Picking up the empty letter from Angler's Covey (295 S. 21st Street) before your cleanup;
  • Taking the letter to the cleanup site or preferred location for filling when you do the cleanup;
  • Filling the letter with non-food trash picked up along local public lands and waterways;
  • Closing the letter by "sewing it up" with the provided wire;
  • Bringing the filled letter to the Dedication site by 3 pm on October 1.
 
We will highlight the "cleanup" groups on the event website, through social media, as well as any media leading up to the cleanup and dedication. Participants are invited to enter the Instagram contest! Your cleanup crew is invited to attend the dedication.
 
Direct questions about the project to Becky Leinweber at  becky@ppora.org  or (719) 575-4311.
How Do We Interact with the Water in our Watershed?

The water in the Fountain Creek Watershed quenches our thirst, waters our crops, and provides a home to hundreds of species of plants, animals, and mammals in Colorado. When floods occur, pollutants and soil wash into our rivers and streams.
 
According to the U.S. Department of Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "Scientists and environmental managers break pollution into two categories:
  • Point Source - Direct contamination of waterways, such as industrial waste pouring from a factory drain into a river is an example of point source pollution
  • Nonpoint Source Pollution - Pollutants such as motor oil leaked on parking lots, plastic grocery bags, pesticides, fertilizers, detergents, and sediments are known as nonpoint source pollutants. Stormwater runoff from nonpoint source pollution is one of the most significant threats to aquatic ecosystems in the United States. As water runs over and through the watershed, it picks up and carries contaminants and soil. If untreated, these pollutants wash directly into waterways carried by runoff from rain and snowmelt. These contaminants can infiltrate groundwater and concentrate in streams and rivers, ultimately being carried down the watershed and into the ocean."
"Creek Week" is a perfect time to make a significant impact in our region. We can all adopt that 'clean up the creek' attitude every day. Simple ways to help? Use commercial car washes; pick up after pets; don't dump old medicine down the toilet. We can each positively affect the "nonpoint source" pollution in our watershed if we simply think about it!

“Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”
―  Wendell Berry, American novelist, poet, essayist, environmental activist, cultural critic and farmer
“The Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District provides a means for Pueblo County and El Paso County, and member municipalities, to work together to protect our waterways and mitigate flooding in our communities. Two of the more notable Pueblo County projects are the Pueblo Levee Project and the Fountain Creek Restoration at Highway 47.  The Levee project included the removal of tons of sediment from Fountain Creek to increase its flood capacity. During the flood of 2015, the Highway 47 bridge over Fountain Creek was in danger of washing out. The District worked closely with the Colorado Department of Transportation to redesign the flow of the creek and stabilize its banks.  This sustainable design will prevent the bridge and the abutment from the further threat of collapse when significant amounts of water flow. Citizens in Pueblo are grateful to the District which continues to study, prioritize and lead the way on improving the Fountain Creek Watershed region.” – Nick Gradisar, Mayor of Pueblo
Watershed Tour Coming Up 
Dr. Maggie Gaddis, professor of biology at the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs and Colorado Mountain College, is leading a   field seminar throughout the watershed on September 21 and extends a personal invitation to you. There is a $75 charge and you must register in advance: https://conps.org/mfm-event-calendar/#!event/2019/9/21/conps-southeast-chapter-field-seminar-160-touring-the-fountain-creek-watershed-from-the-headwaters-to-the-plains
This is an excellent way for all levels to gain knowledge of riparian-based ecology. A "hydration stop" will take place at a brewery after the tour. Register today!
And Speaking of Hydration

Colorado has a robust brewery presence, with more than 30 microbreweries operating throughout Colorado Springs, plus more in other parts of the watershed. Beer is composed of 90-95 percent water, and good water quality is a high priority for the craft brewing industry. Their businesses would not exist without high-quality water. Breweries are a gathering place for our communities. They are somewhere you go with visitors from out of town, where you celebrate bagging a peak or after taking that epic mountain bike ride. Many breweries have regular running and biking clubs, offer yoga, host monthly speaker series, feature local food trucks, sponsor charity events, and are providing much more to their patrons than just a pint.
The Education Connection
Generally, there is a lack of understanding and appreciation about water; where it comes from; what it takes to get it here, and, how precious it is. What can we do to protect it? We are fortunate to be a Headwaters state, with water that begins in Colorado’s high country and used by 19 other states. We are the first users, and thus have the most significant responsibility to ensure responsible use and to sustain the quality of our water supplies for those downstream. Unfortunately, pollution, development, fires, and other natural and human-caused impacts, degrade many of our waterways. The good news? By protecting and restoring our forests and rivers, we can safeguard our clean water, sustain our economy, and maintain a thriving brewery industry. Recognizing the synergy between the mission of brewing great beer and protecting our watersheds, the value of great brews and a healthy environment, we create partnerships between breweries and citizens. This partnership leads to a commitment that enhances both the natural resources and the breweries that depend on them. We collaborate with our brewery community to elevate the conversation around watershed health.
Learn more on the new web page for the Fountain Creek Brewshed® Alliance: https://www.fountain-crk.org/about/brewshed-alliance/
How Well Do You Know Your Watershed

We would like to know how familiar you are with the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District. And, what would you like to learn more about in the Fountain Creek Watershed region? If you haven’t taken our survey, please click on the link below. Your input is much appreciated.

Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District Fact Sheets are a quick source of information and will be updated here:
It's Part of the Fountain Creek Watershed
Monarchs Journey to Mexico via the Fountain Creek Nature Center

Monarch butterflies are getting ready for their fall migration to Mexico. For the next couple of months, you can enjoy them at the Fountain Creek Nature Center located south of downtown Colorado Springs off of I-25 and Highway 85 at 320 Peppergrass Lane. 
Milkweed is essential for the life cycle of a Monarch butterfly. Caterpillars rely on milkweed to feed the newly forming butterfly, and milkweed grows in abundance at the Fountain Creek Nature Center. Supervisor, Nancy Stone Bernard, says whenever staff finds caterpillars, they bring them into the nature center to feed them fresh milkweed. They then raise the Monarch chrysalis to adults, tag the wings for Monarch Watch after determining the sex of the butterfly, then release them for their journey south.
Nancy describes herself as an interpreter, one who speaks the language of the resource; whether it’s a park, a museum, or a historic site. “I’ve come to realize the connectivity to everything in life. If you remove one small domino, it’s going to affect the whole line.” In that vein, she further explains the milkweed/monarch connection. “The lack of milkweed and habitat loss across the country is reducing the number of Monarchs. Milkweed naturally grows in the American Midwest region and happily grows near corn. As farmers have genetically modified their corn to resist herbicides, the corn thrives, but the herbicides kill the milkweed. We can affect change by choosing not to purchase genetically modified (GMO) corn, but choose to buy organic (Non-GMO) corn. That would eventually encourage more poison-free farming, and increase the amount of thriving milkweed that provides vital food for Monarch butterflies thus stabilizing their numbers and protecting their migration.”
The Fountain Creek Nature Center, a facility of El Paso County Community Services, is located on a wetland spring-fed pond, near Fountain Creek. It features outdoor hiking trails and indoor exhibits that are free of charge. Among their bird specific exhibits are a bird call display that identifies birds by their songs, and a bird beak display that teaches what kind of foods different birds eat. One of the most impressive exhibits is a light-up map that educates visitors about the Fountain Creek Watershed. 
“Every Creek Has a Story. I am Fountain Creek, and this is my story.” The newest exhibit at the Nature Center tells the human history of our region from the perspective of Fountain Creek. Follow the path from the first human footprints of the Ute Indians through Fountain Creek’s involvement in the Louisiana Purchase, to fur trappers and traders, farming and ranching, gold diggers and cattlemen. The creek says, “People Come and Go, but I will always be here.”

As Nancy provides an overview of all that lies within these incredible exhibits, she encourages us to consider the Seventh Generation Principle believed to have originated with the Iroquois Nation. “In every decision, we must consider how it will affect our descendants seven generations into the future.”
Butterflies are one of more than 300 species of animals, mammals, insects, and birds that you might see at the Fountain Creek Regional Park, which surrounds the Nature Center. 
Spring and Fall are the big field trip seasons. The students get to hike through the five ecosystems featured in the park. “Since 1992, we have offered programs year-round for kids age 2-92,” Nancy said, “so there is something here for everyone. It’s so unique. We have the wetlands here to enjoy.” We say, “Where there’s water, there’s life.” 
The Fountain Creek Nature Center is open from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Tuesday-Saturday.
PARTNER SPOTLIGHT - State Engineers Office

The City of Colorado Springs is catching up on water improvement projects that were neglected for many years, negatively impacting Fountain Creek. The work the District is doing with its many partners in the entire Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District is critical. One partner that is involved in nearly every improvement project is the Office of the State Engineer.
 
“The  Colorado Division of Water Resources (DWR) , also known as the “Office of the State Engineer,” administers water rights, issues water well permits, represents Colorado in interstate water compact proceedings, monitors streamflow and water use, approves construction and repair of dams and performs dam safety inspections, issues licenses for well drillers and assures the safe and proper construction of water wells, and maintains numerous databases of Colorado water information.”
 
District 10 Water Commissioner, Doug Hollister, North Regional Team Leader, Districts 10,14, and 15 is a member of the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). 
UPCOMING MEETINGS
There are several opportunities to meet with Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District Committees each month. The public is welcome to attend . All meetings take place at the Fountain City Hall, 116 South Main Street in Fountain.

The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meets at 1 p.m., the first Wednesday of each month. (TAC - technical experts appointed by the District Board to provide recommendations regarding public policy or expenditure of funds for the benefit of the watershed and to carry on technical and other investigations of all kinds.) 

The Citizen’s Advisory Group (CAG) meets at 9:30 a.m., the second Friday of each month. 
(CAG - citizens who are appointed by the District Board to represent interests identified within the watershed and to consult with and offer advice to the Board on managing the watershed.)  https://www.fountain-crk.org/about/citizens-advisory-group/ )

The District Board meets at 1 p.m., the fourth Friday of each month.
The District Board consists of representatives from pueblo County, El Paso County, City of Pueblo, City of Colorado Springs, City of Fountain, and others as defined by statute

A Monetary Mitigation Fund meeting to discuss and prioritize mitigation projects by the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District takes place 10 a.m. -noon, the third Tuesday of the month at Public Works, 33601 East United Avenue in Pueblo.
The District is governed by nine Directors who serve two-year terms on the Board of Directors.
  • Board Chair, Longinos Gonzalez Jr., El Paso County Commissioner
  • Terry Hart, Pueblo County Commissioner
  • Greg Lauer, City Council Member-at- Large, City of Fountain 
  • Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Fortuin, City of Manitou Springs Ward 2 representing Small Municipalities 
  • Richard Skorman, City Council President, City of Colorado Spring
  • Larry Atencio, City Council District 2 City of Pueblo
  • Leroy Mauch, Lower Arkansas Valley Conservancy District 
  • Jane Rhodes, Pueblo County Citizen-at-large 
  • Irene Kornelly, District Citizens Advisory Group