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Crews remove road runoff sand from Fraser River pond

Sand is great for traction, but harms aquatic habitat and clogs downstream water treatment pipes.

Colorado Department of Transportation crews have removed 640,000 pounds - or 320 tons - of sand from a retention pond along the Fraser River.

The diversion pond is located in Grand County across from the Mary Jane entrance to Winter Park Ski Resort.

The pond was rebuilt in 2011 to trap traction sand that washes down mountain roads during the spring runoff. The majority of the sand comes from Berthoud Pass, where CDOT crews sand the roadway all winter long. That sand washes downhill throughout the year with each storm.

The removal of sand from the pond has become an annual routine.

According to Denver Water, the sand is not good for aquatic habitat, nor the pipes at water facilities downstream.

"When it comes to traction sand, fish don't like it, bugs don't like it. When you cover up the rocks where the bugs live, the bugs die, and the trout disappear because their food source is gone," Kirk Klancke, Trout Unlimited Colorado River headwaters chapter president, told Denver Water.

Denver Water says the project has been a success since its first test in 2013. The removal of the sand has improved the quality of water and the trout population has shown signs of recovery.

For more news to hydrate your mind, visit denverwaterTAP.org.

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