Watershed Science Program

Left Hand Watershed Center conducts project-specific and watershed-wide monitoring to better understand trends in watershed health and resilience.

Our Adaptive Management Plan and robust Monitoring and Assessment Framework monitors ecological condition as an indicator of watershed health. We collaborate with partners and stakeholders to collect water quality samples to ensure the effectiveness of mine-related cleanup. The Center also monitors work that enhances minimum flows in areas where flow is sometimes insufficient to support healthy aquatic life.

Left Hand Watershed Center provides quantitative information about the status and trends in water quality, water quantity and watershed health to help advance science and actively inform management.

Watershed Science Projects


River Watch Monitoring

LWOG participates in Colorado’s citizen volunteer stream water quality monitoring program in partnership with the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife.

In our watershed this monitoring effort focuses mostly on impacts of legacy mining sites in the mountainous part of the watershed.

Since 2009, LWOG has been taking monthly samples during spring, summer and autumn at eight sites along upper Left Hand Creek, James Creek, and Little James Creek. These samples are analyzed for a variety of parameters, including metals and pH.

Results are available at the River Watch Data Site and in LWOG’s Annual Monitoring Report (PDF)

Project Monitoring

When LWOG and our partners implement stream restoration projects, LWOG is responsible for long-term, post-project monitoring to document the continued effectiveness of the restoration, as well as to identify any maintenance needs.

Fee For Service Monitoring

LWOG conducts specialized monitoring, such as watershed-wide sampling of benthic invertebrates to document stream health. LWOG also conducts specialized monitoring for watershed partners on a fee-for-service basis.

For example, lead was monitored at a recently restored, unmanned shooting area in a Left Hand Creek tributary through a collaboration with Trout Unlimited, the US Forest Service and LWOG.