LCOSI Meeting Reminder


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March 12th

May 14th

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September 10th

November 12th



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Meeting Minutes

   October 10, 2019

Reminder –  Next meeting of LCOSI will be held on Thursday, November 14, 2019

Meeting will start at 9:00 AM in Room 410 of the Climax Leadership Building



LCOSI Meeting

October 10, 2019



Room 401, CMC






Signed in:


Lauren Nance, Aurora Water

John Smeins, Bureau of Land Management

Paul Clarkson, Lake County Land Use Department

Marcia Martinek, Leadville Herald Democrat

Padraic Smith, Overmeyer Smith Family

Hillary Fuller, GARNA

Katie McKnight, CMC, NRM

Rick Kienitz, Aurora Water

Jeni Windorski, USFS

Ed Perko, Pueblo Water

Jim Aragon, CPW

Zack Baker, CPW

Sterling Mudge, Cloud City Wheelers

Karl Bridge, Local

Travis Black, CPW

Nick Gerach, USFS

Kayla Marcella, Lake County BOCC

Monia Haselhorst, CMC

Gerry Miller, Titan Au


Facilitator:  Michael Conlin

     Conlin Associates



September Meeting Minutes were accepted as written. Participants were introduced for the benefit of new attendees. A copy of the letter of appreciation to Climax for hosting the tour of the mine and reclamation sites was displayed.




John McMurtry, Lake County Community Fund, reported that a current balance of $3,805.14 remains in the FY 2019 facilitation budget. The Lake County contribution has not yet been received.


1% For the Outdoors Program


Sterling Mudge reported on the start of the 1% For the Outdoors Program. The Program provides a 1% voluntary Point-of-Sales contribution by patrons of participating businesses. The proceeds will be distributed to the Central Colorado Conservancy (40%), the Cloud City Wheelers (40%) and LCOSI (20%). All proceeds raised in Lake County, will be spent in Lake County.


LCOSI, CCC, and CCW made a presentation to Melanzana, a Lake County clothing manufacturer to educate their retail staff on the roles and functions of the organizations that will benefit from the 1% contribution. The company expressed its enthusiasm about joining the project and acting as an anchor for promoting participation by other local businesses.


Bob Kendrick Donations


The family of Bob Kendrick requested donations to LCOSI in lieu of flowers following Bob’s passing.


Contributions in memory of Bob have been received as follows:


Mr. & Mrs. Dempsey   $200.00

Lee Riml                     $100.00

Ty & Roxanne Hall     $125.00

Total to date               $425.00



Sign Plan


The contract for Root House Studio to design and fabricate interpretive signage along the High Lonesome Trail is still under CCC legal review.


Education and Outreach


Mike Conlin and John McMurtry presented “LCOSI:  Conservation Efforts Close to Home” to Lake County High School’s Environmental Science and fly fishing/woodshop classes on September 30, 2019.


LCOSI worked with high school classes on a cleanup and willow planting exercise at Hayden Meadows on October 7, 2019.

(Photo’s attached)


Mike Conlin and Jeni Windorski will host a workshop with the woodshop and fly fishing class at LCHS for student projects to construct bird boxes, bat boxes, fishing line repositories and other projects on October 22, 2019.


November Meeting


Call for a decision on whether to hold the 2020 visioning and Action Plan workshop in November or January.


Consensus: Meet in November


Box Creek Reservoir

30% Design


Mike Conlin introduced Lauren Nance, Aurora Water, by giving a brief history of the Box Creek Reservoir Project and the connection to open space and community sustainability.


In the contract between Lake County and the City of Aurora for purchase of the Hallenbeck Ranch in Box Creek, the City indicated that development of the Box Creek Reservoir would be done in concert with the goals and objectives of LCOSI.


The City further agreed that 20% of the operational capacity of the water storage vessel would be constructed for Lake County’s use, at Aurora’s expense. This provides not only storage for Lake County’s future water needs, but a non-tax generated revenue stream derived from leasing of surplus storage space.


The City also agreed to contribute 1% of Box Creek construction costs to Lake County to develop recreational amenities around the reservoir and supported the County’s Water Augmentation and Storage Decrees through the provision of funding and the transfer of water rights to the County.


Lauren indicated that she inherited the responsibility for driving the Box Creek Reservoir Project from Kathy Kitzmann a year ago. Under Kathy, the 30% design of the reservoir was presented to LCOSI in 2016.


Lauren has been working with Jacobs Engineering on the design of the river diversion structure, water transmission line, inlet, outlet, outfall, spillway, and dam elements of the project, and provided a PowerPoint of the design elements at the 30% design phase. (A copy of the PowerPoint is attached)


Rather than paraphrase Lauren’s presentation, the reader is directed to the attached PowerPoint for specifications and mapping.


Major takeaways from the presentation include:


  • Aurora is currently engaged in a land exchange with the USFS to acquire fee title to federal lands within the reservoir footprint and in the surrounding buffer zone to protect watershed health and ensure operational authority


  • Aurora is currently leasing a portion of their holdings in Box Creek to Titan Gold to remove mineral values from the properties prior to their irretrievable loss to reservoir construction. The lease is for a 10-year period.


  • The State Land Board is also leasing a portion of their Box Creek parcel to Titan. Removal or determination of the absence of financially recoverable minerals is a condition of placing the Box Creek parcel into a Stewardship Trust Agreement for its retention as open space.


  • Aurora has purchased approximately 180 acres of land from Dennis Smith to facilitate construction, maintenance, and operations of the project and to protect watershed health


  • Portions of Shore Pretty Drive (CR24) and County Road 24A will have to be relocated to accommodate construction of the dam and appurtenant structures


  • Aurora has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the past 4 years to determine the existence and extent of jurisdictional wetlands in the Box Creek basin. Under the existing policy, approximately 83 acres of wetland would be inundated. The existing policy is subject to possible changes under the current administration


  • The Box Creek dam would be approximately 170 feet tall, 3,272 feet in length, and store approximately 25,000 acres feet of water


  • Minimum pool would be approximately 5,000- acre feet, which would only be released in the event of extreme drought conditions


  • Of the remaining operational storage, approximately 16,000- acre feet would belong to the City, and 4,000- acre feet would belong to Lake County


  • Estimated cost of the reservoir, diversions, transmission lines, outlet structures etc. would be $214,000,000.00, or approximately $8,600.00 per acre foot.  


  • 1% of the construction cost, ($2,140,000.00) would be provided to Lake County for development of recreational facilities


  • Much of the cost is related to the length of the pipeline required to deliver water by gravity from the Arkansas River to the Reservoir


  • The pipeline would be 5 miles in length and constructed of concrete lined welded steel pipe


  • The pipeline would have a diameter of 72” and a capacity of 150 cfs


  • Pipeline cost would be approximately $18,000,000, with additional $8,000,000 in control costs


  • The diversion structure would consist of 9 automated-cleaning screened compartments to prevent fish passage, and cost approximately $8,000,000


  • The outfall between the dam and the river is designed to handle 100 cfs while returning 10 cfs to the existing Box Creek channel. A stilling basin would reduce energy


  • A second option would utilize 4,000 feet of 60” pipe to avoid freezing problems of an open ditch to return water to the river and would maintain flows to Box Creek (See PowerPoint for specifications)


  • The emergency spillway would have a capacity of 400 cfs to Box Creek


  • Minimum stream flows will be maintained


  • The completion of the land exchange will precede application for a Lake County 1041 permit


  • Permitting studies will commence in 2021


  • Aurora is also planning for the Wild Horse Reservoir in South Park, which is less costly to construct that Box Creek ($3,000/acre foot)


  • Under Aurora’s current Water Management Plan, if Wild Horse is constructed, storage in Box Creek will not be needed until 2050


Titan Gold: Box Creek Placer


Jerry Miller, Titan Au, provided background on his mining operation and an update on the Box Creek Placer project.


Titan has been operating in Fairplay for 25 years and has been working on permitting and mining in Box Creek under a lease from the City of Aurora for the past 2 years. The Box Creek mining permit encompasses 1,100 acres and extends for 10 years.


He reported that gold deposits were primarily located in a 2 to 3 foot pay streak sitting on a clay layer roughly 20 to 25 feet under the surface. Old timers had identified the richest ground and had been very effective in extracting most of the gold, so mining of the old dredge piles is not anticipated.


Mining will not occur within 100 feet of live streams or wetlands. Existing dredge piles will remain in place at the direction of History Colorado. “What we don’t touch, we don’t have to reclaim.”


Mining starts with stripping approximately 12 feet of topsoil, which is stockpiled for future reclamation. As the excavation is advanced, overburden is deposited back into the hole and topsoil is replaced. The current staging area for the trommel screen and sediment pond will be reclaimed next spring. Reclamation will take place simultaneously with mining, no more than 40 acres will be disturbed at any time.


Jerry indicated that gold values have been good. Gold purity is averaging 76%, with 20% silver and iron.


Gold is extracted using water and gravity, no chemicals are used in the recovery process. Gravels are classified in a trommel screen to ½” minus and washed over sluice box containing expanded metal and “miner’s moss”. Concentrates are then processed through jigs and a gravity separation table to isolate the gold.


Following the discussion, the group traveled to the Box Creek Placer site to view the operation first-hand. Photographs of the tour were displayed on the front page of the Herald Democrat along with a brief article. (See Attached article)


Our thanks to Jerry for the guided tour. He has provided us with the following contact information should you have any questions or concerns:


Jerry Miller          



Chris Towndsend




Next Meeting


The next scheduled LCOSI meeting will be held in Room 401 of the Climax Leadership Center on the Timberline Campus of Colorado Mountain College, starting at 9:00 AM on Thursday, November 11, 2019.


The focus of the meeting will be to identify and prioritize action plans for the coming year. A partial list of potential projects is attached for your review and comment, please come prepared to discuss any additional action items you would like to see discussed.


This will be the last scheduled LCOSI meeting of 2019, and your participation in prioritizing next year’s actions and activities would be greatly appreciated.


Respectfully submitted,


Mike Conlin

LCOSI Facilitator





Aurora 30% Design PowerPoint


LCOSI Joins Lake County Community Fund


Herald Democrat Article:

Box Creek Mine Tour


LCOSI: 2020 Management Strategies


LCHS Planting photos – Herald Democrat



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