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.