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Our water quality sampling, Water Quality Databank, and water use planning acknowledge the core importance of water and watershed well being. Furthermore, they enliven the ecological health and function of our watersheds by addressing legacy mining (Nelson Tunnel/Commodore Waste Rock Superfund Site), stream and forest restoration, best practices related to climate science, community education, and stewardship of our dark sky.
Restoration & Reclamation
We treasure both our rich mining history and the ongoing, community-led reclamation work. Through education, restoration projects and partnerships, we aim to rectify past legacy mining impacts and to improve both the health of the Willow Creek watershed and the social health of our community.
Our Night Sky
Skies with visible blankets of stars are becoming harder to find and therefore are in need of protection. The night sky, not only inspires us with it’s beauty and vastness, it also enhances certain qualities of solace that living things depend on, both naturally and culturally. Our night sky is an important player in a multi-faceted ecosystem and we aim to do our part in preserving it.
What is a watershed? Technically, it’s an area of land that divides and drains precipitation and water into a river, stream or sea. At Headwaters Alliance, we see the word watershed as meaning more. While incredibly important, our Willow Creek Watershed is more than precipitation, groundwater, and runoff; it is everything with which the water interacts. It is the land — from the Continental Divide to the Rio Grande in the shape of cliffs, mountains, ridges, and floodplains. It is the plants and animals — deer, elk, willow bushes, piñon, bees, and aster. It is the history — adits, shafts, architecture, ore, and ingenuity. It is the culture — theater, arts, mining, dining, and recreation. Most importantly, it is the people.
Watershed also means a turning point in the course of events. We encourage our community to experience a watershed moment by considering the watershed in its entirety — the water, land, plants and animals, history, culture, and PEOPLE. We also encourage our community to appreciate the humbling fact that the Willow Creek Watershed is connected to something even larger: the Rio Grande Watershed. We are not merely denizens of our home, we are responsible for it’s well-being.
Our watershed includes difficult challenges such as the enigmatic Nelson Tunnel/Commodore Waste Rock Superfund site. What started as the “next project downstream” for WCRC changed dramatically once the site was listed. Although siloed by its Superfund designation, it is painfully obvious that this site affects our watershed in its wholeness. Solutions to such a problem are complex because the site cause impacts beyond its operable boundary; it connects with our water, land, plants and animals, history, culture, and people.
This is what we mean when we say watershed.
And this is precisely what we, at Headwaters Alliance, strive to support through our work. Our watershed is large, connected, complex, ever-changing, emotional, and absolutely beautiful. Through our commitment to partnerships, stewardship, fidelity to science, transparency, seventh-generation thinking, and upstream responsibility, we aim to improve the entire watershed.
What we do makes a difference. And we are committed to partnering with our community in determining what kind of difference we want to make.