Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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Landslide above Gothic brings brown tint to the East River

A river of coffee?

By Mark Reaman

The East and Gunnison Rivers appeared to have been impacted by a high country landslide last week. Researchers up at the Rocky Mountain Biological laboratory in Gothic said copious amounts of dirt appear to have deposited in the river above Gothic.

“I believe the river discoloration is a result of an earthen slide on the southwest side of Bellview Mountain just above the area where the USFS road closure barricade is located,” explained professor Brad Taylor, a stream ecologist who conducts research in about a dozen rivers in the Upper East River Valley. “I think some instability in that area is causing the river to turn brown, but it could also be a combination of slides caused by the locally intense rainfall we have received recently. We saw this slide earlier in the week and turned the upper part of the East the latte brown. It’s like a Camp4 Americano with too much cream!”

Taylor said it is not unusual for the river to be impacted this time of year when the monsoons begin. “Some years, Avery Mountain slides and the river turns really red, which also could have happened but I have not see that evidence this year. Other years, Quigley Creek will slide, which usually deposits more slate colored materials in the East River.”

The monsoon season traditionally begins in late July and runs into late August.

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