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Leigh Ann Vradenburg earns EPA Achievement Award for Willow Creek Watershed efforts

Release Date: 02/01/2006
Contact Information: Richard Mylott 303-312-6654

Denver -- Leigh Ann Vradenburg, former project director for the Willow Creek Reclamation Committee, was awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Achievement Award today. The award was presented at Creede City Hall by Max Dodson, Assistant Regional Administrator of EPA's Denver office.

Vradenburg was recognized for her tireless dedication to environmental protection and the community of Creede from 2002 through 2005. Her work has led to measurable environmental results and has helped Creede and Mineral County move towards a locally defined vision of a revitalized Willow Creek Watershed. These contributions have significantly advanced EPA’s goals for watershed protection and restoration in the area.

“Leigh Ann has been a driving force behind efforts to address mine waste and water quality issues in the Willow Creek Watershed,” said EPA’s Max Dodson. “Her dedication, expertise and creativity have led to several environmental assessments and cleanup actions that are restoring land and water resources. These activities are helping secure a healthy and prosperous future for the community.”

The Willow Creek Reclamation Committee is a community-driven effort focused on water quality and aquatic resources along Willow Creek and its confluence with the Rio Grande. A primary concern is poor water quality and past fish kills caused by metals in Willow Creek. The Committee’s long-term goals include the restoration of land and water resources, including a healthy stream and a thriving trout fishery. These improvements complement the community's goals for a sustainable recreation and tourism-based economy, driven by Mineral County’s natural beauty and rich mining history.

EPA Region 8 presents awards in four categories to individuals and groups. This award recognizes significant achievements in the protection of public health or the environment and in advancing the Agency’s strategic goals. Among the criteria is an outstanding contribution to environmental protection through a single action, or by an ongoing action over an appreciable period of time. Zeke Ward, Chairman of the WCRC and Mineral County Commissioner, and Harold Anderson, Chairman of the San Luis Valley Resource Conservation Area, supported Vradenburg’s nomination for the EPA Achievement Award.