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Impacts on water quality and biota from natural acid rock drainage in Colorado's Lake Creek watershed

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Abstract

Colorado's Lake Creek watershed hosts natural acid rock drainage that significantly impacts surface water, streambed sediment, and aquatic life. The source of the ARD is a group of iron-rich springs that emerge from intensely hydrothermally altered, unexploited, low-grade porphyry copper mineralization in the Grizzly Peak Caldera. Source water chemistry includes pH of 2.5 and dissolved metal concentrations of up to 277 mg/L aluminum, 498 mg/L iron, and 10 mg/L copper. From the hydrothermally altered area downstream for 27 kilometers to Twin Lakes Reservoir, metal concentrations in streambed sediment are elevated and the watershed experiences locally severe adverse impacts to aquatic life due to the acidic, metal-laden water. The water and sediment quality of Twin Lakes Reservoir is sufficiently improved that the reservoir supports a trout fishery, and remnants of upstream ARD are negligible.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Impacts on water quality and biota from natural acid rock drainage in Colorado's Lake Creek watershed
Year Published 2006
Language English
Publisher American Society of Mining and Reclamation
Publisher location Lexington, KY
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description 29 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Proceedings from the Seventh International Conference on Acid Rock Drainage
First page 158
Last page 126
Conference Title Seventh International Conference on Acid Rock Drainage
Conference Location St. Louis, MO
Conference Date March 26, 2006
Country United States
State Colorado
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N