Hello Left Hand Creek Community! Below is our LWOG’s first update on the Captain Jack Mine Investigation.  Article here.

Updates from Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE):

  • CDPHE changed operations in May 2018 to close a valve in the bulkhead at Captain Jack Mine and begin an experimental in-tunnel treatment system.
  • After closing, they had a quicker than expected rise in mine pool elevation and lags in getting timely data.
  • As a result, they decided to partially reopen the valve on 9/6/18 and have been releasing 25-40 gpm (gallons per minute). The CDPHE confirms that this is well below the historic discharge flow rates from the tunnel.
  • CDPHE and EPA are currently processing data collected this week and making plans to add alkalinity to the sediment ponds onsite to encourage metals precipitation within those ponds.

Updates from Left Hand Water District

  • The Left Hand Water District provides water to 20,000 users in the district and operates the Haldi intake on Left Hand Creek, 15 miles downstream of the Captain Jack site. The District observed a slight drop in pH on 9/10/2018 (from ~7.0 to ~ 6.8) which was not considered acidic. Lefthand Watershed Oversight Group also conducted metals sampling at the Haldi intake on 9/26/18 and showed no change from baseline levels.

Updates from Landowners:

  • Fish kills were observed by landowners in Left Hand Canyon for about a month. We have documented reports of dead fish observed from as far down to the confluence with James Creek. Up to a dozen dead fish were noted to be dead in single pool. The total numbers of dead fish are still to be determined.

Updates from Lefthand Watershed Oversight Group:

  • Fish are still present in the creek and do not appear to be actively dying anymore. Yesterday, our staff conducted fish population sampling at four sites in the watershed, including areas approximately one mile downstream of the Captain Jack mine. Over a hundred healthy, live, brown trout were identified at lower reaches near the Haldi Intake and one dozen brook and rainbow trout were identified at upstream sites.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide live updates as we learn about them on our website. The community can also help protect and restore the watershed as a volunteer, donor, or citizen scientist!