Spring Creek HatcheryMeadow and Stream

Spring Creek Hatchery

The Spring Creek property is located twenty-five miles east of Basalt. Located in a montane zone, the property’s varied aspects, elevations, and soil moisture support numerous ecosystems including sagebrush, oak-mountain shrublands, aspen, Douglas fir and mixed conifer forests, wild meadows, wetlands, and riparian areas.

A conservation easement has been put in place that will forever preserve the northern 80 acres of this 160-acre parcel. This area includes an important and unique riparian and wetland ecosystem, significant wildlife habitat, dramatic open space traversed by a public road (thus visually accessible), existing buildings that provide support facilities for ecosystem stewardship, hatchery management, and environmental education purposes.

Approximately 90% of this property is in a relatively undisturbed, natural condition and is unique because of its pristine water resources, including three major springs and three creeks. The three springs, flowing year-round at 58?F are exceedingly pure and perfectly suited for rearing and protecting endangered native Cutthroat Trout. Lime Creek, Spring Creek, and Silver Creek (along with the springs) render 50% of the property's riparian and riparian-associated ecosystems, which in this region of Colorado provide nesting habitat for 80% of all native bird species. Riparian ecosystems also provide necessary habitat for 75% of all wildlife species native to this area for at least part of their life cycle. The significance of riparian ecosystems is further underscored by the fact that less than one half of one percent of this region of Colorado is riparian. The concentration of riparian habitat on the Spring Creek property is then 100 times the regional average. This is the property’s greatest natural value.

The diversity of native wildlife on the property is significant, with an active beaver colony on Spring Creek, elk calving and wintering use, and the presence of mule deer, black bear, mountain lion, golden eagle, wild turkey, and many species of songbirds.

Future plans for the property include public access for educational and recreational purposes related to the hatchery and trout refuge. The focus will include trout and aquatic ecology, as well as provide opportunities to preserve and encourage the American tradition of fishing as a way for families and individuals to enjoy being out in nature and to learn to be effective stewards of the natural environment. At present, ACES is leasing a cabin on the property and actively working to manage the land with the hope of instituting educational programming there.