I couldn't believe it. I watched as my phone slowly and gently sank its way to the bottom of Rifle Creek, in the clear, cold, and fast-moving water downstream of Rifle Falls.
It was mid-May and I was out with Nate Higginson, the watershed technician for the Middle Colorado Watershed Council, and Chad Mickschl, a hydrologist for the Bureau of Land Management. We were out collecting water samples along East Rifle Creek, West Rifle Creek, Rifle Creek and Government Creek.
The Middle Colorado Watershed Council collects water samples twice a year (once in the spring before peak runoff and once in the fall) for a multiyear study we are doing on Rifle Creek and its tributaries because of a 303(d) listing.
Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act requires all states to assess the quality of their waters. Every two years, Colorado generates a list of rivers and streams that exceed water quality standards, known informally as the 303(d) listings. Any waters that exceed standards are considered impaired and are subject to further analysis and testing. <READ MORE>
Check out our monthly column "Your Watershed" in the Post Independent