Colorado Springs, CO

An Unexpected Treasure Is Under the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Drain Cover

Colorado Jill

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(Colorado Springs, CO) Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has left its mark on downtown Colorado Springs. On the southwest corner of E. Platte Avenue and North Tejon Street, across from the new playground at Acacia Park, there is a storm drain with the zoo's logo.

The new cover looks great, but the real gem is underneath - a Gutter Bin.

Gutter Bins, designed by Frog Creek Partners, catch pollution such as trash, oil, heavy metals, and cigarette butts that get mixed in with stormwater. As the water flows through the storm drain, the debris is filtered out and collected, preventing it from running into Fountain Creek.

Each bin collects about thirty pounds of toxic pollution a month that would otherwise flow into the Colorado Springs waterways.

To date, thirty-one Gutter Bins have been installed around the city as part of the Colorado Springs Clean Water Community Challenge.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has funded three filtration systems this year using membership revenue. Every year, the zoo sets aside $75,000 of membership dues to pay for conservation projects worldwide, and zoo members vote on the projects. In 2022, the proposal receiving the most member votes (22%) was a measure to "protect Fountain Creek in Colorado Springs from pollution" by buying, installing, and maintaining Gutter Bins.

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Several local businesses and organizations are giving back to the community by protecting Fountain Creek with these innovative filtration systems. Rotary Club of Colorado Springs and Terra Verde Boutique have sponsored Gutter Bins on the NW corner of Nevada and Bijou and the NW corner of Tejon and Bijou. GE Johnson and WSP Engineering have also joined the challenge.

Fountain Creek needs everyone's help. Next time you pass a storm drain, remember the Clean Water Community Challenge and consider what you can do to ensure the city's waterways remain clean and safe for future generations.

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Writer based in Colorado sharing the state's hidden gems, fascinating history, and special events.

Colorado Springs, CO
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