This video features Ashley Rust. In 2014, RWEACT partnered with researchers from Colorado School of Mines and staff from the Colorado Division of Water Resources to complete a study of water quality of the Rio Grande in and below the West Fork Complex fires burned area. The study showed the majority of major streams and segments of the Rio Grande showed great resiliency and maintained high water quality. However, there were limited areas where sediment and ash loading impacted fish habitat significantly. In 2015, the project partners hope to continue the study, increase the focus on vulnerable areas, and identify priority projects to safeguard water quality in the Rio Grande watershed.

Ashley Rust is a research hydrologist who is studying water quality in the Rio Grande watershed following large forest fires in the region in 2013. A graduate student at the Colorado School of Mines, her work is being underwritten by RWEACT, the Rio Grande Watershed Emergency Action Coordination Team.

Produced by videographer Bev Chapman

Funding for this specific RWEACT project comes from the Governor’s Executive Order and the Colorado Water Conservation Board.