Upper Arkansas River Basin (Colorado)
The Upper Arkansas River Basin extends from the river’s headwaters downstream to and including Pueblo Reservoir. The “Eleven-Mile Reach” portion of the basin is the 500-year floodplain area that begins at the confluence of the Arkansas River and California Gulch, near Leadville, Colorado, and extends approximately 11 miles downstream. In 1999, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the natural resource trustees and multiple mining companies to evaluate and, as appropriate, conduct restoration in the Upper Arkansas River Basin. The Memorandum of Understanding also addressed response activities to address residual mining wastes present in the Eleven-Mile Reach and farther downstream. The intent of the agreement was to facilitate the settlement of claims among the parties.
Steve Werner was a member of a jointly-appointed, multi-disciplinary consulting team tasked with characterization of injuries due to the release of heavy metals over a 150-mile reach of the Arkansas River. Mr. Werner’s role was to work with other Trustee-appointed technical experts to produce a practical record of injury and restoration planning to provide a platform for settlement activities. Formation personnel developed and maintained the GIS and chemical database for the project and were the lead investigators in evaluating the spatial and temporal relationships between release of metals and condition of natural resources in the river.