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Report by Diane Ambrose

Using the ESRI software from the GIS Service Pledge Award, I was able contribute to the work of two non-profits in the South Park area of Colorado.

Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center (BPEEC)

BPEEC is located in Fairplay, Colorado along the Sacramento Creek and the headwaters of an important watershed for the people of South Park and the Denver Metro area.  In recent years, there has been a significant increase in housing development, recreational use and mining in the area.  BPEEC is dedicated to the promotion of watershed stewardship, education and protection.   Mapping is used to support each of these efforts.

Field workers
Field work for Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center

I worked with the excellent GIS Specialist in Park County to obtain shape files of parcel information. I used this Information to prepare maps customized for each of our uses as needed without requiring the additional use of the county’s limited GIS resources.  Maps were created to help people see the geographic span of our watershed, to identify people who live along primary streams in our watershed, and to help our volunteers and staff collect stream monitoring data along the Sacramento Creek, Little Sacramento Creek, Pennsylvania Creek and the Middle Fork of the South Platte.  Using the ESRI software, I identified parcels along each of these creeks, Then the Beaver Ponds Program Coordinator obtained permission to access the streams through the parcels to monitor the water for stream health and to identify areas with potential erosion problems.  Using custom maps on our GPS units to ensure BPEEC staff and volunteers were only on property where we had approved access, we respected our neighbors’ property rights and protected our volunteers and staff.

In October, I assisted in the Beaver Ponds presentation to the 2018 Sustaining Colorado Watersheds Conference.  The Program Coordinator and I provided information about our mission and work.  This presentation included information about our use of a custom data collection app and custom maps on our GPS units.

Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center paper
Sacramento Creek Watershed Protection Plan presentation

Although Beaver Ponds accomplished much during the year, BPEEC did not accomplish our goal of transitioning mapping to Beaver Ponds computers, staff and interns.  We realized the need to get more robust computers and that took some time.  This summer I created and taught an Introduction to GPS course to the BPEEC staff, starting our transition of mapping to Beaver Ponds staff.  However, later staff and organizational changes slowed our progress to making this transition.  We hope to transition mapping to Beaver Ponds computers and staff during the coming year.  Working with the Program Coordinator, I also need to do additional mapping work to display our 2018 monitoring results in ways that are meaningful to the public.

Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP)

I assisted on a short-term project to assist with updating maps for restoration projects related to a prior year wildfire.

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