Miller gets bid for stream improvement project

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— Miller Excavating of Steamboat Springs has been awarded the bid to complete a stream improvement project being undertaken by the city of Steamboat Springs on the Yampa River between the Depot and Stockbridge.

City Open Spaces Supervisor Mike Neumann said Mike Miller submitted a bid of $48,000 with a $10,000 contribution of labor and equipment to do the work.

"He could conceivably begin next week," Neumann said. "Mark Oliver of Basin Hydrology was out there Monday trying to re-establish survey points" he had previously set for the first phase of the project.

The work is intended to achieve the twin goals of improving trout habitat while making the river more interesting for kayakers and inner tubers. The first phase was the construction of the D-Hole kayak wave next to the Depot Art Center.

Previously, the stretch of river was flat and shallow, Neumann said. The stream improvement project restores eddies and a deep channel to the river.

"If you look downstream from the 13th Street Bridge you can see the pronounced meander," Neumann said.

Previously, the river channel was too wide and shallow to offer much desirable habitat for fish, or small rapids for floaters.

Oliver has designed a series of rock veins, "J-hooks" and rock clusters intended to make the river healthier.

The goal is to complete the work before spring runoff begins in earnest.

Neumann said a separate but related project planned by a community group called the Friends of the Yampa could still go forward this spring. It would create another smaller kayak wave near the confluence of Soda Creek with the Yampa. The second project is pending approval for an amendment to the city's permit with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Peter Van de Carr of Friends of the Yampa confirmed the group has raised about $15,000 from a variety of sources to fund the project.

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