In 2015, Roaring Fork Conservancy (RFC), with funding from Garfield County, embarked on an extensive study to better understand water quality impairments on Cattle Creek. Based on macroinvertebrate data, a 14.5-mile segment of Cattle Creek, from Bowers Gulch (near CC1) to the confluence with the Roaring Fork River (CC7) was placed on Colorado’s 303(d) list for impaired waters.* Study goals included addressing the 303(d) listing and understanding the transition from high water quality near the headwaters to impaired water quality in the lower reach. In 2015, RFC collected and assessed chemical and biological data, conducted a land use analysis, and published results in the Cattle Creek 2015 Stream Health Evaluation.
Based on the 2015 findings, RFC initiated a modified second round of sampling in 2016 with funding from both Garfield and Eagle Counties. This work was strategically designed to complement the 2015 data and provide additional information attuned to state standards. Results from the two-year study has informed RFC’s initiative to address Cattle Creek’s 303(d) listing, and provided a broader understanding of overall creek health and potential impacts to aquatic life.