Copper Mountain Resort

One of the many lifts at the Copper Mountain Ski ResortResource Engineering, Inc. (RESOURCE) has provided comprehensive water resources consulting services for Copper Mountain Resort on a continual basis since 1982. The services provided by RESOURCE during this time include surface and ground water hydrology analyses, wetlands analyses, water quality monitoring and analysis, preparation of environmental review documents (e.g. Environmental Impact Statements), water rights, water resource engineering and geographic information system (GIS) database management. RESOURCE’s activities in each of these general categories are described in detail below.

Mountain Hydrology

RESOURCE has worked in cooperation with Copper Mountain and the United States Forest Service to evaluate how ski trail clearing, terrain modifications and snowmaking influence mountain hydrology. This cooperation has involved extensive field assessment of surface and ground water at Copper Mountain, including stream channel assessments and an on-site stream gaging program. Additionally, RESOURCE has utilized several computer applications, including GIS and the WRENSS (Water Resource Evaluation of Non-Point Silvicultural Sources) Model, to assess mountain hydrology.

A stream that runs through the base of the resortWetlands Analysis

During the period 1997 through 2000, RESOURCE systematically identified and mapped wetland vegetation throughout the Resort. RESOURCE used Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to develop a comprehensive GIS database of the wetland resources. This database includes both the location and type of on-mountain wetlands. Subsequently, RESOURCE has used this data to facilitate acquisition of permits for mountain activities from federal agencies like the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) and the Forest Service. RESOURCE has also designed successful wetland mitigation sites for Copper Mountain.

Water Quality

RESOURCE has helped Copper Mountain to implement an on-going water quality monitoring program. Over the years, this has included voluntary monitoring and mandatory monitoring required for approval of specific projects. RESOURCE collects water quality samples and submits them to ACZ Laboratories, a highly qualified, State certified laboratory. The analytical results provided by ACZ are incorporated into a water quality database. The database is used to facilitate analysis of baseline water conditions and potential impacts of proposed projects.

One of Copper Mountain's ski runsEnvironmental Review Documents

RESOURCE has been involved with the development of environmental review documents for Copper Mountain as both team leader and as part of a technical team. This has included Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), Environmental Assessments (EA), categorical exclusions (CE), threatened and endangered species consultation, and Section 404 permitting. Over the years, RESOURCE has assumed a leadership role among interdisciplinary team members in the development of NEPA documents. RESOURCE has excelled at developing practical solutions that facilitate the implementation of proposed actions. In addition to these federal permits, RESOURCE regularly assists Copper Mountain to obtain permits from State and Local governments. For example, RESOURCE prepares an annual Storm Water Management Plan for Copper Mountain’s summer construction and maintenance activities.

Water Rights

One of RESOURCE’s most critical roles with Copper Mountain is to provide the technical information to support water supply planning and management for both the Mountain and the Base Village. This requires guiding the development of physical and legal water supplies for domestic and snowmaking uses. Since 1982 this has involved acquisition of water court decrees and plans for augmentation for numerous surface and ground water sources. Additionally, RESOURCE assists Copper Mountain in the on-going maintenance of their water rights, including water rights accounting.

Water Resources Engineering/Civil Engineering

RESOURCE’s team of engineers offers a wealth of experience in the field of water resources engineering. Through the years RESOURCE has provided site evaluation, cost assessment and design services for proposed facilities at Copper Mountain (e.g. surface diversions, infiltration galleries, small dams and pipelines). One recent project involved the design and construction of a small, removable dam on Tenmile Creek. The dam enhances Copper Mountain’s ability to divert snowmaking water while still allowing for the passage of fish on Tenmile Creek.

A view of the valley below one of Copper Mountain's peaksGeographic Information Systems (GIS)

RESOURCE maintains a comprehensive Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database for Copper Mountain. The database contains critical spatial and attribute data of mountain infrastructure (e.g. lift lines and snowmaking infrastructure) and natural resources (e.g. streams). The GIS database provides a powerful tool for project planning and analysis. In particular, it provides a visual representation of past, present and proposed conditions that allows technical experts and mountain planners to make informed, quantitative decisions. Copper Mountain’s staff has ready access to their GIS database via the Internet. RESOURCE uses ArcIMS software to publish GIS data to the Internet in a form that is easily accessible to Copper Mountain’s staff.