City of Littleton Colorado
January 11, 2012
Enhancements to the South Platte River through South Platte Park will start soon in an effort to support the life that depends on the river for sustenance and the community that enjoys the recreation the river provides.
The Littleton City Council and the South Suburban Parks and Recreation (SSPR) Board of Directors approved a concept plan in mid-December prepared by Ecological Resource Consultants (ERC).
Dave Blauch, Senior Ecologist for ERC said, “The plan we developed is a conceptual design for the ecological enhancement of the South Platte River through South Platte Park. The plan was developed based on the identification of limiting factors within the aquatic and riparian environment. Due to many surrounding influences, the channel is out of balance with its natural equilibrium and low flow conditions are one of the single most limiting factors within the system. The enhancements focus on those factors that would best improve the overall ecological condition.”
Since the construction of Chatfield Dam and the associated controlled water release, peak annual flows have been reduced from 4,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) to an average of 650 cfs.
Littleton Mayor Debbie Brinkman said, “This is a very ambitious project but it comes with a long-term payoff. As custodians of the river we are committed to maintaining its health and vitality. Since construction of the Chatfield Dam, the river’s flow has been altered and we must make adjustments to support its fish and wildlife habitat.”
The total project cost is estimated at more than $4 million. Phase I will begin later this year at a cost of $433,000. Funding partners include: The City of Littleton, SSPR, Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, and Trout Unlimited. The partners will explore additional grant opportunities.