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The Town of Vail on Tuesday issued the following press release on a citizen’s use of the newly installed Gore Creek Fish Cam that was helpful in an ongoing investigation into a fish-kill event in Mill and Gore creeks:
An underwater fish cam installed by the town’s watershed education coordinator along Gore Creek had been serving as an educational tool when it went live in July. But an alert citizen who had been observing the feed for several weeks in her quest to learn to fish took it a step further after noticing something unusual about the water on Sunday, Sept. 19. She took a screen shot of the feed describing the water as “clouding up” that day (see comparison below) and a few days later sent it to authorities who were already investigating a fish kill event on Mill and Gore creeks. The screen shot has been helpful to investigators as they work to piece together a timeline of activities to help pinpoint the cause of the fish kill which was identified by members of the public on Sept. 20.
Community members regularly contact the town with questions and observations about the creek, including recommended pesticides, planting materials, favorite fishing holes and more. Pete Wadden, who has led the town’s Restore the Gore educational programming since 2016, says he’s been proud to see community members adopt the town’s initiatives to become passionate stewards of the creek. “Gore Creek is an important part of this community. I am reminded all the time about how much people care about this resource. One way people show they care is by telling us when something is amiss, whether that is discolored water or something spilled or dumped down a storm drain which ends up in the creek. Gore Creek is still a Gold Medal fishery and it will take work and vigilance from the entire community to protect that status.”
The town budgets more than $1 million annually on water quality improvement projects ranging from native vegetation to stormwater infrastructure. In addition, a Gore Creek hotline, 970-476-GORE (4673) was activated in 2017 to collect citizen tips about possible spills or other incidents involving the creek. Since then, the town has responded to dozens of calls which have resulted in the prevention of pollutants like carpet cleaner and hydraulic fluid from reaching the creek. It is unlawful to dump pollutants into waterways per provisions of the Clean Water Act.
Wadden says the new fish cam has been well received since its debut and has generated numerous likes and shares on social media. The feed has also been added to a monitor in the hallway of the Vail Municipal Building.