The Colorado River flows through South Canyon near Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

County funds monitoring station in South Canyon

USGS station measures nutrients, temperature in Colorado River near Glenwood

January 9, 2024

Garfield County has agreed to help fund the operation and maintenance of an important water-monitoring station near South Canyon on the Colorado River. The Board of County Commissioners approved $11,405 toward a joint funding agreement with the U.S. Department of Interior to help the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) continue to monitor and sample water for the year at the site above South Canyon Creek.

The USGS is providing $3,829 in matching funds to cover the operations and maintenance cost for 2024. Steve Anders, USGS supervisory hydrologic technician, told the board that in 2006, Garfield County, the Colorado River Water Conservation District, and USGS formed a partnership to add additional monitoring to the main stem of the Colorado River downstream of Glenwood Springs.

“The goal was to monitor water quality, but more importantly to the county was to understand salt loading in this region,” he explained. “That was the goal of this monitoring station. There is a focus on major ions, and also to continuously measure for specific conductance and water temperature.”

Anders added that stream quality samples and nutrient analysis are taken at the site six times a year, and two sensors measure water temperature every 15 minutes. These figures are then portrayed on the USGS website.

The board approved the funding unanimously, 3-0.