Eagle River Watershed Council owes its existence to the mining area around and below the present-day ghost town of Gilman and because the Eagle River flows down the canyon just feet away from the mine site.
With the closing of the Eagle Mine in 1984, the mine workings were abandoned and allowed to flood. In short order, the acidic mine water, which contained dissolved zinc, copper, cadmium, and other heavy metals, ran into the Eagle River dying the river orange and resulting in catastrophic fish kills.
In 1985, the State of Colorado filed notice and claims against the former mine owners for natural resource damages through the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Superfund program. By June of 1986, the 235-acre area was added to the National Priorities List as a Superfund site.
Two years after the Eagle Mine was designated as a Superfund site, a citizens' group called Eagle River Environmental Business Alliance (EREBA) came together to aid with the monitoring effort of the EPA cleanup.
In 1996, the Eagle River Watershed Plan was adopted by Eagle County after a three-year public process made possible by over 100 local citizens working together with municipal and county staff. The Eagle River Watershed Plan recommended that a citizen's group be formed to implement and monitor the Watershed Plan. Thus was born Eagle River Watershed Council.