Click areas of the map or a thumbnail below to explore each project
Bear Creek at O’Fallon Park
O’Fallon Park in Kittridge CO is a heavily used park for summer recreational activities. The local Trout Unlimited Chapter was interested in restoring aquatic habitat for a 1,600 foot section of Bear Creek as it runs through the Park. ERC completed design, permitting and construction activities for the project including creation of nine, self-scouring deep overwintering pools that were generally absent through the area. Design used faster moving water from riffles to provide the higher energy to flush sediment from the pools throughout the year. Key placement of instream boulder habitat enhanced usable cover for trout. The project included moving the stream away from State Highway 74 and creating a riparian fringe barrier between the highway and the stream to minimize sand and other sediment loading that had previously been occurring from the road. ERC led volunteer efforts that included planting riparian vegetation for bank stabilization and terrestrial habitat creation.
Beaver Valley Ranch
North Fork of the Williams Fork, Hayden, CO
Beaver Valley Ranch is a private fishing ranch located in rural Routt County. Objectives of the project were to enhance fishing habitat and angling opportunities along a 1,500 linear foot stretch of the North Fork of the Williams Fork River. ERC’s design created sequences of riffle and bend pools based on the natural alignment of the stream system. Improvements utilized on-site material for channel shaping, instream habitat features and bank stabilization, minimizing the need for import and reducing overall project costs. Work was completed within a two week window to minimize impacts on ranching and impacts to anglers using the site.
Big Thompson River
City of Loveland, CO
Infrastructure associated with the City of Loveland’s water treatment plant was compromised as a result of the 2013 floods. After emergency repairs were completed, the City desired restoration work that would not only protect infrastructure but also improve the ecological function of the damaged river. ERC’s design/build work focused on reestablishing natural channel form and function to this degraded reach. In areas where excessive stream widening occurred during the 2013 flood, ERC returned the stream to its appropriate width. Riprap that had been installed immediately following the flood was filled and vegetated to promote ecological value and natural stream planform and profiles were reestablished through channel reshaping and construction of riffle/pool sequences that had been lost.
Blue River Phases I and II
ERC was hired by the Town of Silverthorne to improve angling on an approximately 3,000 foot stretch of the Blue River below the Dillon Dam. This section, which is gold medal water, was suffering from poor habitat and limited angling opportunities. ERC was hired to design, permit and construct improvements aimed at enhancing both the aquatic habitat and the angler experience. Improvements included full reshaping the overly wide channel so that the new stream channel geometry matched flow releases from the dam. The success of the project led the Town to hire ERC to complete restoration on two additional sections of the Blue River totaling and additional 3,500 feet as part of a Phase II project.
Blue River, Getz Ranch
The Getz family property in Summit County includes approximately 1,300 feet of the Blue River, inclusive of a 500 foot high water side channel. They desired to enhance the aquatic habitat to create a better fishery during high and low flow conditions. ERC developed a design plan that controlled flows between the main and side channels and optimized aquatic habitat in each. Plans included buried cross channel cobble bars to split flows between the channels, riffles constructed of salvaged instream cobble and deeper pools designed to hold more larger fish throughout the year.
Blue River, Maryland Creek Ranch
The Maryland Creek Ranch development in Summit County includes approximately 3,500 feet of private water on the Blue River, including side channels. ERC designed and constructed improvements along this full stretch to optimize aquatic habitat and maximize holding capacity for large trout. The design included a deep thalweg throughout the full project reach to ensure quality habitat was retained even at times when flows are limited to minimum releases from Dillon Dam. ERC’s natural restoration created 11 different stream segments, each with its own unique habitat features to provide anglers with a variety of fishing experiences. The project, which included full reshaping and grading of the entire 3,500 foot section was completed within a three week window given tight schedule limitations imposed by project permits.
Boxwood Gulch Fly Fishing Ranch Phases I – III
North Fork of the South Platte River, Shawnee, CO
Boxwood Gulch is one of the premier private fishing waters in the Denver metro area. With its reputation for holding large numbers of large trout, quality habitat needed to support these fish was a vital concern. ERC was hired by Boxwood Gulch to improve the habitat and holding water for an initial 2,200 foot section of the North Fork of the South Platte River. Variable flows are one of the main challenges facing this fishery. Located below Roberts Tunnel, this reach of water is subject to extreme low flows in winter months when no tunnel releases are made as well as extended periods of high flows throughout the summer and fall months. ERC’s design addressed these flow challenges and the need for significant habitat. Improvements included a wide array of techniques aimed to optimize habitat throughout the varying characteristics of the site. Larger cascade features were utilized in the narrow, steeper canyon sections. Longer riffle and bend pools were created where they fit well into the stream alignment and a deep, meandering thalweg with extensive instream cover was provided throughout. The success of ERC’s initial improvements has led to two additional phases of work being undertaken. Completed improvements provide a great variety of angling opportunities for all types of fly fishing over the full spectrum of flow conditions.
Snowmass Village, CO
The Town of Snowmass Village is one of Colorado’s premiere ski and outdoor destinations. In the early 2000s when the Town undertook a major development project to modernize infrastructure and amenities, ERC was hired to restore Brush Creek, one of the first things visitors to the Town notice upon arrival. Past development had encroached upon the river, and it didn’t provide significant ecological benefits or recreational opportunities. ERC’s design recreated a stream segment that optimized habitat while providing a more enjoyable and user friendly resource. The stream was re-meandered and a total of 27 step/pool and riffle/pool features were created to provide pool habitat over a 1,300 foot segment. The corridor along the stream was regraded and native riparian was planted to create a healthy riverine system to support aquatic and terrestrial habitat. These improvements served to beautify the Town entrance.
Buffalo Peaks Ranch, Middle Fork of the South Platte River
Park County, CO
Colorado Parks and Wildlife holds an easement that allows fishing significant portions of the Middle Fork of the South Platte River in Park County. One of the factors that limit the aquatic habitat through much of this water is pool habitat. ERC was selected to develop plans to optimize habitat along a 21,700 foot stretch of the Middle Fork known as Buffalo Peaks Ranch. The design included 79 habitat segments, each with a created pool to address the habitat limitations of the area. Pools were designed to work in combination with cascade features, riffles and bends, depending on site specific conditions. Funding was raised allowing for a priority reach of 9,800 feet to be completed. Using a natural restoration approach, ERC created 33 unique habitat units, each with a deepened pool along the priority reach.
Clear Creek serves as an integral component of the City of Golden. The City in recent years has undertaken significant efforts in developing the Creek corridor as a recreational and natural focal point with the city. Through improvements and planning the corridor has developed into an extremely successful public amenity as observed by high year round recreational and visitor use. This high recreational use and great demand periodically exceeds the corridor’s capacity. A growing concern has developed that when high recreational use exceeds capacity, not only does user conflict increase and experience quality decrease, but the riparian and aquatic ecosystem health may also be significantly at risk. ERC was contracted by the City to conduct an assessment of the corridor in the context of riparian and aquatic ecosystem health as well as provide potential ecosystem protection and management strategies. The Project Area included approximately 1-mile of Clear Creek extending through the heart of the City.
ERC performed an existing conditions assessment of the Creek corridor to identify the gradient of ecological condition by identifying areas of high, moderate and low ecological integrity. Based on the existing condition assessment and a thorough understanding of recreational use patterns, ERC developed ecosystem protection and management strategies which focused on proving enjoyable and safe recreation use while preserving and enhancing the ecological integrity of the Creek natural resources. Sixty specific areas of interest were identified. Management strategies were developed for each area of interest, ranging from preservation of existing high quality habitats through use elimination, bio-engineered bank stabilization, structural stabilization (boulder terrace), formalized access points and riparian habitat restoration. ERC assisted the City with public open house presentations of the project as well as detailed design development, project prioritization, USACE permitting, City floodplain permitting and construction implementation of select improvements.
Dr. Rich Weiss Park, Yampa River
City of Steamboat Springs, CO
Dr. Rich Weiss Park is one of the most heavily used pocket parks within the heart of Steamboat Springs. This heavy use has led to loss of significant riparian vegetation, bank erosion and degradation of the hot springs that are a central feature of this park. ERC was hired by the City to design improvements that would stabilize the stream bank and improve water quality through minimization of erosion and reestablishment of a riparian interface. ERC’s work also included redesigning the hot springs area to make it more accessible and safe for users. Work required coordination with the Army Corps of Engineers, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and floodplain analysis to ensure proposed modifications did not increase safety hazards along this 250 foot stretch of river.
Eagle River Phases I and II
The Town of Minturn desired to restore the Eagle River through Town to mitigate past impacts to the aquatic and riparian corridor that had been caused by channel encroachment and upstream mining activities. ERC first developed a master plan for stream restoration for a 4,100 foot stretch of river through the heart of Town. Improvements include full reshaping of the stream, creation of natural riffle/pool/glide features over a mile of bank stabilization, water quality infrastructure and over two acres of wetland and riparian creation. ERC assisted the Town in securing over $1M in funding for the project and completed all improvements for this design/build project. Given the success of this Phase I project, the Town received an additional $1M in grant funding for a second phase of the work. Phase II work resulted in the creation of an additional 17 natural riffle/pool/glide complexes and additional 1.6 acres of wetland and riparian creation and multiple angling and boating access points along a one mile stretch of the Eagle River.
East Fork of Parachute Creek, Roan Plateau Fish Barrier
Garfield County, CO
Colorado Trout Unlimited and the Bureau of Land Management desired to reestablish a sustainable population of native Colorado River Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkia pleuriticus) within the Roan Plateau. The project site is located more than an hour from a paved road requiring special attention to constructability and long-term maintenance. ERC was selected to complete the design, permitting and construction of a barrier that would be used to separate the upstream habitat from non-native downstream fish. Our work scope included defining a location that was suitable for a barrier and evaluating a range of potential barrier types. A vertical barrier was selected over velocity barriers and fish screens given its ability to operate over a wide range of flows and its favorable maintenance requirements. Detailed hydrologic, hydraulic and geomorphologic analysis were conducted to ensure the barrier would prevent upstream migration, be in balance with the surrounding stream conditions and be capable of conveying flows ranging from typical baseflows to peak runoff from the 100-year flood event.
The result was a six foot high structure that utilized cast in place concrete and native channel substrate. A low flow channel created a stream width that mimicked the upstream and downstream channel planform and an overflow allowed for passage of the 100-year event. Scour pools were prevented using a concrete apron and banks were stabilized with rock and native vegetation. ERC constructed the barrier at this remote site using primarily hand labor and an on-site concrete batching operation.
East River, Eagle’s Nest Ranch
In 2006 Dr. Henry Estess initiated development of an ambitious habitat improvement project in the lower meadow of Eagle’s Nest Ranch. Ecological Resource Consultants, Inc. (ERC) worked closely with Dr. Estess to develop a plan which would maximize and diversify… Read more »Continue reading →
East River, Reserve on the East River
Gunnison County, CO
The Reserve on the East River is an exclusive development near Crested Butte developed around natural amenities including fly fishing. Given the high flows that exist in the East River during the spring, the main river can often be difficult to fish. The Reserve retained ERC to develop a side channel fishery that would be fishable during these high flow periods and also provide a different angling opportunity throughout the fishing season. ERC’s design included evaluating flows in the river and incorporated buried grade control features to regulate the amount of water entering the side channel. A total of 21 individual rock and pool features were then created within the 1,700 foot side channel, providing a great variety of habitat and angling opportunities. Instream features included faster moving, aerated riffles, a meandering low flow thalweg, bobble bars, cascading water features, current deflectors and scour pools.
Colorado Springs, CO
ERC was retained as part of a design team to assist with improvements on an urban section of Fountain Creek through Colorado Springs. Work on this 3,800 foot section included bioengineered bank stabilization and intensive native riparian planting to aid in flood flow retention and terrestrial habitat. Work included realigning the channel, increasing channel conveyance and relocating residences and businesses for public protection during peak flood events in Fountain Creek.
The Fraser River is influenced by the significant amount of diversions for both water use in the Front Range and irrigation use in the western slope. As a result, current flows in the Fraser River have been reduced to approximately half of their historic levels. The Town of Granby wanted to enhance the health of the Fraser River through Town and make the stream a better community amenity. ERC was retained by the Town to develop and construct these river improvements. ERC’s restoration work reshaped the Fraser River along a continuous 1,700 foot section of stream. The channel was narrowed from a maximum width of 115 feet to a typical bankfull width of 45’ – 55’. The modified, narrower channel section was constructed to meander within the confines of the historic channel and specific aquatic habitat improvements including pools, riffles and instream habitat clusters were incorporated into the design and an existing fish migration barrier was modified to promote passage.
Lincoln Hills Fly Fishing Club
South Boulder Creek, Gilpin County, CO
ERC completed design and permitting and performed design/build construction on an approximately 5,000 foot stretch of South Boulder Creek for this private fishing club. The project objective was to maximize holding capacity for larger fish. Improvements were designed to fit into the varying natural terrain of the property and included items such as boulder plunge features in the higher gradient canyon sections of the property, riffle pool features in the lower gradient section of the stream and micro habitat improvements throughout the length of the project. All fishing improvements were made with the angler in mind and provided a range of habitat types and fishing opportunities.
Long Meadow Ranch, North Fork of the South Platte River
Flows in the North Fork of the South Platte River are highly altered due to releases to the front range from Dillon Reservoir and vary from low baseflow conditions in the winter to sustained high flows from June through September. ERC was hired to design and construct improvements that would improve holding capacity for large trout throughout the year. Improvements included riffles, bend pools, step pools, rock and woody debris for micro-habitat and bank stabilization. After improvements this section has become a flyfishing destination providing a first class fishery in close proximity to the Denver metro area.
Platte River Ranch, North Fork of the South Platte River
Owners of the Platte River Ranch were looking to transform their property into a top-notch fishery that both challenged their abilities and provided opportunities for children and beginner anglers to hone their flyfishing skills. ERC designed and constructed improvements that focused on providing a wide range of aquatic habitat and angling prospects that met this challenge. Restoration work included reconnecting two side channel segments, creating oxygenated riffles for macro invertebrate production, developing flat water for dry fly opportunities, construction of step pools and bend pools for refuge and glides and runs for traditional trout feeding lanes. To improve fishability for the variety of angler use ERC completed bank stabilization work, created access channels, provided rustic steps for easier access to challenging areas and created eddies for safety for children.Continue reading →
Reach 28 Restoration, Big Thompson River, Loveland CO
Overview The Reach 28 Restoration project was a grant-funded project undertaken by the Big Thompson Watershed Coalition (BTWC) to improve the natural form and function of the Big Thompson River through Reach 28 west of Loveland, CO. During the 2013 floods,… Read more »Continue reading →
Rogers Park, Middle Boulder Creek
Boulder County, CO
Rogers Park between Nederland and Boulder, CO provides a unique opportunity for public fishing access on a high mountain stream near significant population centers. ERC was hired by Trout Unlimited to optimize aquatic habitat and angling opportunities on this 2,200 foot stretch of Middle Boulder Creek. The improvements included nine different riffle/pool and step pool features each designed to fit into the varying stream gradient and offer a variety of habitat types. The stream was reshaped along its entire length to create a meandering thalweg that offers improved habitat during low flow periods. Significant bank stabilization work was included in the project to mitigate impacts of past foot traffic and the proximity of the road to the stream. Improved angler access was constructed as part of the river work and riparian vegetation was planted along the corridor to improve bank stability and provide overhead cover for the aquatic environment.
San Miguel River, Telluride Valley Floor
The Town of Telluride Open Space San Miguel River Valley Floor Property had been heavily impacted by past land use practices. Historic mining contaminated the river and the construction of a rail line through the valley caused the once meandering… Read more »Continue reading →
South Platte River at South Platte Park Phases I – III
The construction of Chatfield Dam in the Denver Metropolitan area had a significant impact on the health of the South Platte River. Flow regulation altered the natural hydrograph of the stream and the dam’s trapping of sediment created a stream system that was sediment starved. As a result significant channel downcutting occurred and the stream geometry, which was established based on higher natural flows, was overly wide for the regulated flow regime. ERC was contracted by Urban Drainage and Flood Control District to develop a master plan to enhance the natural characteristics of the stream and riparian corridor for this 2.4 mile reach of the South Platte. Stream improvements were intended to resize the active channel to be in balance with current reservoir releases and create improved aquatic and riparian habitat all while ensuring that the stream retains the hydraulic conveyance needed to minimize flooding. ERC’s initial geomorphologic assessments evaluated past and current flow hydrographs and development of hydraulic and sediment transport models to help define a stable channel configuration. Based on results of these analyses, ERC developed an overall enhancement plan which included creation of a meandering channel sized to convey current flows within the confines of the overly wide existing channel. Low gradient riffles were designed to increase habitat variety and deeper pools were included to provide habitat critical for low flow conditions. This master plan also incorporated bank stabilization, protection of the local trail system, riparian corridor restoration, upland improvements and wetland creation. Bank stabilization was completed using a variety of structural approaches where needed to interrupt areas with active lateral migration and softer vegetated measures where possible. Improvements were prioritized based on relative benefits of individual stream reaches and shareholder/community input. Construction costs were developed as part of the master plan.
ERC’s restoration master plan was then used as an instrument to gather community support and project funding. The plan was endorsed by local jurisdictions, which contributed funds for the project and aided in additional fundraising for the proposed work. Phase I was completed in 2013 with Phases II and III completed in 2015.
ERC was contracted by Summit County to complete a design/build restoration for an approximately one mile reach of the Upper Swan River. The Upper Swan River project area, a major tributary to the Blue River, had been historically mined using… Read more »Continue reading →
Swan River, Villas at Swan River
Summit County, CO
Sustained high flow events during the runoff season of 2011 resulted in significant erosion and lateral migration of the Swan River. This unchecked stream migration was threatening to undermine infrastructure and result in the loss of property at the Swan Villas development. ERC was retained to evaluate the potential for future flooding impacts, study the channel morphology and develop and construct improvements to protect the property. The project required moving the Swan River, which has a FEMA mapped floodplain, requiring that ERC ensure that the modifications would not result in a rise in the regulatory floodplain. Ultimate improvements along the 250 foot project reach incorporated moving the river back to its previous channel and construction of a structural rock foundation and cutoff that prevented further stream migration. All improvements were finished using native material and vegetation so that the end project was natural in appearance.
Sylvan Dale Ranch, Big Thompson River
The Big Thompson was dramatically impacted by the floods of 2013. Situated at the mouth of the canyon, the Sylvan Dale Ranch property was particularly devastated by flood flows but also by the volume of sediment that was deposited during the event. ERC was contracted by the Big Thompson Watershed Coalition to restore the channel using a design/build approach. Work was required to improve watershed resiliency and protect vital infrastructure while improving flood conveyance, sediment transport, and aquatic and terrestrial habitat. Our design utilized natural channel concepts. A multi-stage channel that optimized habitat under low flows and accesses flood terraces was created. Riffle/pool/glide features were created within the channel to provide diversity and channel stability. Overbank grading was used to increase conveyance and protect structures. Where needed, banks were stabilized with a variety of techniques ranging from softer cobble toe protection to soil filled riprap planted with willows. Throughout the project, ERC complied with requirements of the DOLA process including Davis-Bacon wages, certified pay, postings, Section 3 reporting and employee interviews. The project was successful at restoring a heavily impacted river segment utilizing natural design principles.
Lazy River Ranch, Park County, CO
The Lazy River Ranch, located downstream of Tarryall Reservoir on Tarryall Creek had been impacted by years of land management practices and cattle grazing. As a result aquatic habitat was limited, bank erosion was actively occurring and riparian vegetation that is necessary to support a healthy stream system was largely absent. ERC was hired to improve the overall health of the stream and riparian system with the specific project goal of reducing sediment loading to the creek. ERC completed a design for this 7,700 foot reach that incorporated physical improvements such as bank stabilization, slope reductions in the floodprone area and revegetation of the riparian corridor for over 3,100 feet of bank protection. In addition to these physical improvements, land management suggestions on limited moving adjacent to the stream and confinement of cattle were included in ERC’s design. Instream improvements included stabilizing the stream bed with soil filled grade control structures, creation of gravel riffles and construction of self-sustaining overwintering pool habitat.
Tenmile Creek Phases I and II
Summit County, CO
ERC was selected to restore a reach of Tenmile Creek that had been previously impacted by historic mining and other past land uses. The project, located on Forest Service property near the entrance to Copper Mountain Ski Resort, had been channelized and as a result was linear and entrenched and rarely able to access its historic floodplain. Design plans included returning the stream to a natural planform that included increasing the sinuosity from 1.05 to approximately 1.2 and creating repeating riffle/pool sequences over the 2,500 foot project reach. Design included development and construction of a natural channel liner to ensure the stream remained a gaining segment as this was critical to maintaining water rights in the area. The channelized stream channel that was abandoned when creating the meandering reach was converted to a wetland oxbow. Extensive riparian and upland reclamation was also undertaken as part of the overall system reclamation. After the success of the Phase I project, ERC completed the work as a design /build project.
The Perfect Drift Fly Fishing Club North Fork of the South Platte River
The Perfect Drift is a private fishing club located along the North Fork of the South Platte River in Pine, CO. ERC was contacted by the club with the goal of optimizing trout habitat along a 4,000 foot stretch of the river, which was dominated by low-gradient riffles and generally lacking in habitat variety. This section of river is managed with the intent of providing club members with the opportunity to fly fish for trophy-sized trout. ERC’s design/build work reshaped the channel width to provide better habitat during low and high flow conditions. The stream’s profile was adjusted by creating repeating riffle/pool/glide sequences that added habitat variety and quality. Recreating these natural stream features enhanced the overall ecological health of the system by promoting macro-invertebrates projection and providing resting, spawning and forage habitat.
Town of Telluride – San Miguel River through Town
The San Miguel River runs through downtown Telluride. The Town of Telluride had past experience using a very structural approach in an attempt to enhance the San Miguel corridor. This structural approach was generally deemed unsuccessful as improvements didn’t fit into the aesthetic landscape of this high alpine valley and past work required continual maintenance. ERC was hired by the Town to complete a second phase of stream restoration using our natural restoration approach. The approximately 3,200 foot reach restored by ERC included areas that were immediately adjacent to private property and others that were more natural in character. The design accounted for the need to protect private property and ensure stability of the stream while incorporating improved aquatic and riparian habitat through the stream corridor. Work was completed so that the finished river system was natural in appearance and fit in with its surroundings.
Trapper Creek Habitat Improvements
Garfield County, CO
An existing population of native Colorado River Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkia pleuriticus) were discovered in Trapper Creek, located within the Roan Plateau. The population was monitored by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPS), Trout Unlimited and the BLM. Monitoring efforts showed that during extended drought conditions the population suffered significant losses due to limited pool habitat. ERC was selected to design and implement habitat improvements for the endangered cutthroat trout on Trapper Creek in the Roan Plateau. The project was constrained as heavy equipment could not be brought into this remote site. ERC evaluated innovative means to create deeper holding water pools for the cutthroat trout. The final design, which is intended to be a pilot project for potential future improvements, included an array of hand constructed riffles, bend pools and drop structures on an approximately 4,700 foot stretch of stream. All features were field fit based on site specific conditions which included near surface bedrock and highly weathered shale in various locations. All improvements were installed by ERC as a design/build project. The long-term performance of the different features will be evaluated to better understand techniques that are most suited for future work.
The Uncompahgre River through the City of Montrose has been heavily impacted. In-stream mining operations, channelization and a highly altered flow regime all contributed to a river that is highly unstable and providing low ecological function. ERC was hired by the City to develop, permit and implement river and riparian corridor improvements that offset historic impacts and put the river and its floodplain in a condition that maximized aquatic and terrestrial habitat given current project constraints. Improvements for the Phase 1 project included over a mile of new main channel and side channel development. Channel alignments, profiles and cross sections were based on reestablishing a configuration that was stable given the river’s high sediment load and prolonged high flow periods. Twenty riffle/pool/glide features were constructed and over a mile of bank stabilization completed using an assortment of structural and bioengineered approaches. Twelve acres of connected floodplain was created and planted with native vegetation as part of the overall restoration work.
Uncompahgre River Aquatic Habitat Improvements, Phases I and II
The Uncompahgre River through downtown Montrose has been impacted by past land encroachment, channelization and flood proofing measures. The City of Montrose desired to improve the riverine corridor and enhance aquatic habitat, stabilize river banks and improve terrestrial habitat along this heavily utilized corridor. ERC was retained to complete design, permitting and construction of these improvements for a 6,600 foot stretch of river. Improvements included creation of variable types of habitat long the project reach. Natural features such as riffle/pools and bend pools were created, but the project also included significant work to protect public and private lands as well as public infrastructure and irrigation facilities. Phase I of the project was constructed by ERC in 2006 and Phase II was completed during 2013/2014.
Grand County, CO
ERC completed planning, design and construction of restoration of the Williams Fork upstream and downstream of the reservoir. Restoration work was for mitigation of stream impacts associated with Denver Water’s Moffat project and included restoration of approximately two miles of river. Project settings upstream of the reservoir necessitated accounting for significant sediment influx while the segments downstream of the reservoir were designed for minimal sediment loading and a highly altered annual hydrograph. Designs both upstream and downstream of the dam focused on improving habitat during lower flow periods to attract more resident fish and improve year-round angling. Riffle/pool/glide complexes, boulder cascade features, split flow channels and significant woody debris and habitat features were incorporated for habitat diversity and flow controls.
Grand County, CO
Confluence Ranch is located downstream of Willow Creek Reservoir at the confluence of Willow Creek and the Colorado River. ERC was retained by the owner to restore both rivers to create improved habitat, angling and floodplain connectivity. Willow Creek at the Confluence Ranch faced many challenges: sustained low flows, locations of disconnected floodplain, significant beaver activity, active diversion structures, high temperatures and an overly wide stream channel. The restoration design mitigated these impacts by creating a compound channel that increased flow depth and reduced thermal impacts during the sustained low flow season. Willow Creek was rerouted back to its historic alignment, offsetting channelization from past irrigation practices. Rock and woody debris required for river features were produced on-site greatly reducing the need for material import and associated costs. The realigned Willow Creek now has a profile that is compatible with its current flow hydrograph.
Yampa River at Fournier Park Phases I and II
Steamboat Springs, CO
The City of Steamboat Springs acquired an approximately 1,400 foot stretch of the Yampa River and adjacent lands for the purpose of enhancing public access and river recreation. This stream section, however, was prone to lateral streambank migration and suffered losses of up to 25 feet of bank per year. ERC was retained by the City to restore this stretch of the Yampa to a more natural state while mitigating existing bank instability. ERC’s design reshaped the entire 1,400 section, creating two natural riffle/pool sequences as part of reestablishing a stable stream planview and profile. Imported rock was used to define the shape of the active channel and buried below the eroding bank to create a structural control to mitigate lateral migration. All imported rock was covered with native sands, gravels and cobbles to hide the structural fill material and provide the stream with a natural appearance. Native vegetation was then added to reestablish the riparian fringe and provide additional bank stability.
Yampa River Master Plan
Steamboat Springs, CO
The Yampa River through the City of Steamboat Springs is a prized amenity attracting thousands of visitors for active and passive recreation. However, this popularity was creating a negative impact to the riparian corridor and conflict amongst the variety of users. ERC was hired by the City of Steamboat Springs to develop a Yampa River Master Plan to provide a framework for instream and riparian area improvements to optimize the recreational benefits of the Yampa River while protecting its ecological integrity. The plan covered the river and adjacent property on City owned and controlled property (6.4 miles) along the Yampa River. The plan prioritized recommended improvements and provided budgetary cost estimates for City implementation.
ERC hosted multiple public meetings where the technical, administrated and operations and maintenance issues associated with the current river and proposed improvements were discussed. This public input, combined with river reconnaissance performed by ERC and the results of past studies, was the basis for the identification of seven separate River Management Areas (RMAs). Each RMA represents a portion of the river where management priorities such as recreation, flood protection and natural restoration objectives may differ. Within these seven RMAs a combined total of 86 individual areas for restoration were identified. Community input and ERC’s technical evaluation were used to rank the relative priority of each of the improvement areas. Conceptual level designs were developed for each of the 86 improvement areas, which were then used to estimate the budgetary costs required for all proposed improvements. In total the defined improvements were estimated to cost over $5.1 million in 2008 dollars. The City has since used the Master Plan to assist in fundraising and has completed many of the individual restoration improvements identified in the Master Plan.