Ecology

WATERSHED PROTECTION

Beaver Ponds is truly dedicated to emphasizing the unique lifestyle of the South Park area and beyond through the promotion of excellent stewardship, educational resources, and a well-preserved environmental area through the development of our own unique watershed protection program. Our watershed protection program promotes the improvement of conservation, the opportunity for heritage resource protection and community development. Our current watershed monitoring includes Sacramento Creek, Little Sacramento Creek, Pennsylvania Creek, and the Middle Fork of the South Platte. We also provide watershed protection education based on our protection programs that will educate school groups and the community using a place-based thematic approach utilizing Beaver Ponds as an outdoor classroom.

A watershed is a piece of land where all water that falls on it and drains from it goes to the same place. We all live in a watershed. Sacramento Creek is its own watershed and is part of the larger South Platte River Watershed and, on a national scale, the Missouri River Watershed. All mountain ranges are part of a watershed. In fact nearly all the water we use begins from mountain snow pack. Beaver Ponds is located at what’s considered the headwaters of our watershed and Sacramento Creek is a headwater tributary. The Upper South Platte Watershed covers about 2600 square miles. About 75% of Colorado’s residents count on this water in some way.

Headwaters

Healthy headwaters, like Sacramento Creek, are essential to the health of the entire watershed. They supply organic matter that contributes to the growth and productvity of higher organisms, including insects and fish. Headwaters help to keep sediment and pollutants out of the stream system’s lower reaches. In addition, they enhance biodiversity by supporting nearby flora and fauna.

Forest Buffer Zones

The undeveloped land provides a forested buffer zone which protects these headwaters in a variety of ways. It promotes broad, shallow streams with a greater total area of aqua cohabitat and a broader diversity of habitats. Forested buffer zones, especially those with beaver ponds, slow erosion from flooding and help to keep water cool, a critical factor in streams that support trout and other cold-water species. These types of protections will grow more important as climate change raises average temperatures, and if the frequency and severity of storms increases. The small size of these headwaters and their integration into the landscape makes them exceedingly vulnerable to degradation when those landscapes are altered by construction or agriculture. Headwaters are not as resilient as larger streams when disturbed because they lack sufficient flows to transport sediments associated with erosion and sedimentation. Animal life in them is usually cold-water adapted and thus sensitive to temperature increases associated with forest removal and climate change.

SACRAMENTO CREEK PROTECTION PLAN

Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center invites you to become part of our ongoing efforts to ensure the health of Sacramento Creek is monitored. Students from Colorado Mountain College in Summit County, Colorado and Metropolitan State University in Denver along with volunteers monitored the creek in the Fall of 2017. The results were promising. They analyzed things like erosion potential, the amount of oxygen contained in the water and the ph. They identified where beaver dams were located and whether they were active or abandoned. They evaluated the quantity and types of bugs found in the stream that provide food for fish and indicate stream health. These parameters indicated that the creek is a healthy, headwaters stream.

Listening sessions were held with local landowners and community members invited to talk about the watershed and share their impressions, ideas and inspirations. The results of the meetings will be combined with the results of the survey to provide an overview of how the community is engaged and aware of its watershed. These findings, along with the analysis of the creek, will be a baseline for continued engagement and analysis of the health of the creek.

Events & Programs

There's always something fun to do at Beaver Ponds this summer.
Here are some upcoming programs and events.

KSS Wilderness Campers
July 17 - July 19, 12pm - 8am
For more information visit https://keystonescienceschool.org/

Alma Festival in the Clouds - booth
July 20, 3pm - 7pm / July 21 & 22, 10am - 4pm
Contact Amity Vargas for more information at (719) 209-5813

Mountain Top Children's Museum
July 24, 12pm - 3pm
Contact Tiernan Spencer for more information at (970) 453-7878

KSS Overnight Wilderness Camp
July 25 - July 26, 12pm - 12pm
For more information visit https://keystonescienceschool.org/

Latest Articles

Watershed Watch

Beaver Ponds is located at the headwaters of one of Colorado’s major rivers, so we take watershed protection very seriously. Our Sacramento Creek Protection Plan uses both science and community collaboration to promote stewardship, education and conservation.

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Nature & Beautiful Ideas

Listening to the radio a week ago I heard a physicist having a conversation about beauty and nature. He asked the question. Does nature inspire beautiful ideas? A beautiful idea can come in many forms: a math equation, a poem, a sculpture, an educational approach, crafts, a song, a design, literature, social solutions, environmental solutions, a different perspective on reality, the possibilities are limitless. Different ideas may come from sitting by a stream or strolling through the woods than in other situations. Nature does inspire beautiful ideas.

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Kids Korner

Book of the Month A Kid's Summer EcoJournal: With Nature Activities for Exploring the Season A Kid's Summer EcoJournal invites kids to write about nature on pages exquisitely illustrated by Margaret Brandt. The author has included short entries from her nature...

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Contact Us

PO Box 995
2234 Busch Run Road
Fairplay, CO 80440
info@beaverponds.org
719.838.0143

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