LEADVILLE — Fish habitat enhancement work is set to begin later this year on public parts of the upper Arkansas River below the Highway 24 bridge as biologists and engineers with Colorado Parks and Wildlife prepare to restore a section of river that was once mostly lifeless because of decades of mining activity.
The river restoration work is a key part of the federal and state effort to restore the California Gulch Superfund Site, an 18-square-mile area where historic mining activities occurred. Mines in the area created the discharge of heavy metals and acid into California Gulch at the headwaters of the Arkansas River, making the river in that area unable to sustain healthy fish populations. The river currently supports a trout population because of earlier mine cleanup efforts.
Improvements will be centered on an 11-mile stretch of the river from California Gulch downstream to Twobit Gulch.