Natural Resource Management Summer Projects

Summer Projects with the Natural Resource Management (NRM) Timberline Field Institute

Abandoned Mine Lands Characterization Work
Abandoned Mine Lands Characterization Work

What does your summer vacation look like?

Natural Resource Management (NRM) students at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville have plenty to look forward to this summer. The NRM Timberline Field Institute offers students a paid summer internship as field technicians with projects ranging from camping in remote Colorado backcountry and documenting information about rare wetland environments to addressing mine waste erosion in Little Frying Pan Gulch, west of Leadville.

Abandoned Mine Land Site Characterization Work
Abandoned Mine Land Site Characterization Work

Check out the full list of Natural Resource Management Timberline Field Institute summer projects below and make sure to follow NRM on Instagram at @CMCLeadvilleNRM to watch their efforts in action! Visit the website to learn more about the Natural Resource Management Program at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville. 

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Holy Cross City Fen Restoration—Partnership with the USFS White River National Forest

Fens are a unique and very rare type of wetland.  In Colorado’s high altitude, they take thousands of years to develop and they provide habitat for several rare and endangered species.  Functioning fens also provide incredible natural water filtration.   During the historic mining around the Holy Cross City area, miners dug ditches in a nearby fen to drain the water out of it.  Many of the features associated with fens are still present at this site; however without water, it is no longer functioning.  CMC NRM students will backpack into the site during the summer 2015 field season and spend several days camping and restoring the functionality of the rare wetland site.   

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Sugarloaf Mining District Mine Waste Erosion Mitigation Project:

This year, CMC NRM is kicking off a five-year project to address severe erosion of mine waste piles in Little Frying Pan Gulch in the Sugarloaf Mining District, just west of Leadville.  CMC NRM is partnering with several government agencies, private industry and non-profit organizations to complete the $850,000 project.  During the summer of 2015, students will be collecting baseline data, and will be working on preliminary tasks that are necessary before heavy equipment operations can begin in 2016. 

Fen Delineation work—Partnership with the USFS White River National Forest and USFS Rio Grande National Forest:

Throughout the summer of 2015, CMC NRM students will continue working with the USFS to find and map rare fen wetlands throughout the White River National Forest and Rio Grande National Forest.  Students will be spending several days traveling through the remote Colorado mountains in order to document where these rare wetlands are located.  In addition to location, students will collect a host of other data at each site that will allow land managers to make informed decisions about the land use in the future.  Students will camp in remote Forest Service cabins, travel by foot, ATV, and truck, and will learn how to use a variety of specialized scientific field instruments.  

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Lake Fork Water Quality Work—Partnership with the HAWG (Headwaters of the Arkansas Watershed Group)

CMC NRM facilitates the Headwaters of the Arkansas Watershed Group (formerly the Lake Fork Watershed Working Group), and as part of the ongoing efforts to improve the water quality in the Lake Fork of the Arkansas River students will again be performing a host of environmental sampling efforts.  Projects will include collecting water samples during spring runoff and fall low-flow conditions, electro-fish population sampling with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and benthic macro invertebrate sampling.  All these projects will help determine how reclamation projects are affecting the larger ecosystem of the Lake Fork of the Arkansas River.  Students will become proficient using a variety of surface water field instruments and will also help process samples in the Timberline Analytical Laboratory.

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