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Fish and Wildlife Habitat Protection

BreckConnect Gondola Construction
The BreckConnect gondola’s construction crossed an ecologically sensitive area including wetlands that are part of Town of Breckenridge open space. Extraordinary measures were taken to protect wildlife habitat during construction in this area: trees were cut over snow and removed by helicopter; stumps were cut in a cross-hatched manner to mimic a natural break and expedite the degradation process; the native understory and naturally blown-down trees and their associated root balls were left in place as habitat where it would not interfere with gondola evacuation; all worker travel in and out of the area was done on foot on identified pathways; workers were educated about identification of the endangered Boreal Toad that is thought to live in the area; tower footers were dug by hand with a total of 60 cubic yards of spoils placed on tarps then flown out in bags by helicopter; sediment control was put in place at all digging locations; the haul cable pilot line was flown into place. Stringent water quality monitoring was done above and below all construction areas with no degradation of water quality in the entire process.

Maggie Pond Fish Ladder
In summer 2006, the Breckenridge Snowmaking Department installed a fish ladder where the Blue River drops over a dam into Maggie Pond. Employees of the Breckenridge Snowmaking Department have seen fish unsuccessfully try to jump the dam and wanted to provide fish with an easier way to migrate upstream from Maggie Pond. The fish ladder was designed, engineered, and built by Alden Research Laboratory, and was designed to account for the height of the dam, stream flows in the Blue River, and to accommodate Rainbow and Brown (Cutthroat) Trout (the two predominant species in the area). The dam has been in place since 1980, and the new fish ladder should help fish migrate upstream for the first time since the dam was installed.

Drainage Management Plan
In summer 2007, Breckenridge began the development of a Mountain Drainage Plan to proactively create a comprehensive assessment of on-mountain drainage infrastructure. In summer 2008, this work continued as 10,000 features that affect drainage were mapped and logged with a GPS. Of these 10,000 features, 400 have been prioritized for rehabilitation. The long-term benefit of the plan will be reduced destabilization of natural streams and reduced sediment loading from drainage of ski area operations. The plan will also aid in understanding the potential impacts of the current mountain pine beetle epidemic as Lodgepole Pine trees are killed by the beetles and are no longer able to absorb water that will otherwise run off. In summer 2007, based on the initial findings of the plan, Breckenridge installed a detention pond on the Park Lane run to improve water quality and prevent sediment loading from run-off.

To reduce our impact on natural systems, we also support:
Energy Efficiency 
Recycling and Waste Reduction 
National Forest and Pine Beetle


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