pike national forest bear creek watershed improvement eaa123.g. landscape. (see the bear creek...

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  • Pike National Forest

    Bear Creek Watershed Improvement

    EA

    Hydrology Resource Report

    Prepared by: Dana Butler and Leah Lessard

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and

    activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex,

    marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information,

    political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any

    public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with

    disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille,

    large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and

    TTY). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights,

    1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or

    (202) 720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

  • PSICC Bear Creek Hydrology Resource Report

    i

    Table of Contents

    Introduction ................................................................................................................................. 1 Overview of Issues Addressed ................................................................................................ 1

    Affected Environment ................................................................................................................. 3 Existing Condition ................................................................................................................... 3 Desired Condition .................................................................................................................. 22

    Environmental Consequences ................................................................................................... 22 Methodology ......................................................................................................................... 22 Alternative A – No Action .................................................................................................... 24 Alternative B – Proposed Action ........................................................................................... 25 Alternative C ......................................................................................................................... 27

    Regulatory Framework ............................................................................................................. 28 Land Management Direction..................................................................................................... 28 Monitoring ................................................................................................................................ 30 Design Features and Mitigation Measures ................................................................................ 31 References…………………………………………………………………………………… 35

    List of Tables

    Table 1 - Watershed condition indicators ........................................................................................ 4 Table 2 - Watershed condition class and ownership ....................................................................... 5 Table 3 - Soil erosion hazard acres ................................................................................................ 10 Table 4 - Summary of hillslope percentages ................................................................................. 10 Table 5 - Acres of road and trail disturbance ................................................................................ 15 Table 6 - Percent length of road/trail and proximity to stream...................................................... 17 Table 7 - Number of road/trail crossings by type .......................................................................... 18 Table 8 - Road and trail slopes ...................................................................................................... 18 Table 9 - Miles of motorized trail routes located within the wiz of Bear Creek ........................... 22 Table 10 - Miles of non-motorized trail routes located within the wiz of Bear Creek .................. 23 Table 11 - Miles of all travel routes located within the wiz of Bear Creek ................................... 23 Table 12 - Summary of management actions on the stream channel ............................................ 23

    List of Figures

    Figure 1 - Stream drainage density .................................................................................................. 4 Figure 2 - USGS Gage Data 07105000 Bear Creek ........................................................................ 6 Figure 3 - USGS Gage Data 07105000 Bear Creek ........................................................................ 7 Figure 4 - Example of bare ground hydrologically connected to Bear Creek ................................. 8 Figure 5 - Example of bare ground/fill slope hydrologically connected to Bear Creek .................. 9 Figure 6 - Example of mining activity .......................................................................................... 10 Figure 7 - Example of highly erosive natural surface material/pikes peak granite ....................... 12 Figure 8 - Example of sediment produced after the September 2013 storm events ...................... 12 Figure 9 - Example of road contributions ...................................................................................... 13 Figure 10 - Example of a gully formed by poor road drainage ..................................................... 13 Figure 11 - Example of an incised trail ......................................................................................... 15 Figure 12 - Example of an incised trail ......................................................................................... 16 Figure 13 - Example of sediment contribution directly into Bear Creek ...................................... 19 Figure 14 - Example of lateral migration/road encroachment ....................................................... 20

  • PSICC Bear Creek Hydrology Resource Report

    ii

  • PSICC Bear Creek Hydrology Resource Report

    1

    Introduction The greenback cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii stomias), Colorado’s state fish, is native to

    the east side of the Continental Divide in Colorado. Historically, it was thought to have occupied

    the Arkansas and South Platte River watersheds; however, recent genetic analysis indicates it

    occurred only in the South Platte River watershed (Metcalf et al. 2012). The greenback cutthroat

    trout is currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Extensive surveys

    have failed to identify any extant populations of the greenback cutthroat trout in the South Platte

    watershed. At present, the sole known remaining population of genetically pure greenback

    cutthroat trout inhabits Bear Creek, a tributary of Fountain Creek, itself a tributary of the

    Arkansas River (Metcalf et al. 2012).

    Land ownership within the analysis area is divided between the USFS (8,152 acres), CSU (173

    acres), City of Colorado Springs (805 acres), El Paso County (1,148 acres) and private

    landowners (72 acres). At the beginning of this assessment it was agreed upon by all land owners

    that this document would disclose and analyze for effects to all resources, on all land ownerships.

    This document looks at the analysis area as a whole, regardless of land ownership. The USFS

    only has the ability to make management decisions on NFS lands. Decisions and implementation

    on lands managed by the City and El Paso County will require decisions by these agencies and

    will be independent of any decisions made by the USFS. The USFS has been and continues to be

    committed to working closely with the City and El Paso County to implement a variety of

    mutually agreeable management actions that protect the Bear Creek watershed and the greenback

    cutthroat trout while allowing compatible human use. The transportation system has routes that

    continue outside of the Bear Creek Watershed, and opportunities for route expansion outside of

    the watershed within the Cheyenne Creek Watershed. All of these actions are within the Bear

    Creek Project Analysis area, but when talking about what proposed actions will result in

    improvements to the greenback cutthroat trout habitat, the watershed specialist report utilizes the

    Bear Creek watershed as the appropriate scale for assessment.

    Overview of Issues Addressed

    This report describes the effects of the existing watershed conditions and the proposed

    management actions in the Bear Creek project area. Watershed resources include both soils and

    hydrology.

    The following factors that influence the risk of erosion and sediment delivery to Bear Creek are

    documented: acres of watershed, acres of bare ground, mining, soils and geology, hillslope

    gradient, drainage density, acres of road/trail disturbance, road/trail density, road/trail condition,

    number of road/trail stream crossings, road/trail gradient, and unauthorized/nonsys