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Big Thompson River Restoration

How to rehabilitate an impaired river system

  • Larimer County, Colorado

    Larimer County, Colorado

Flooding events don’t mean our waterways have changed permanently—we can plan and implement resilient responses

After the devastating 2013 floods in northern Colorado, the Front Range watersheds were in desperate need of repair. To help restore the Big Thompson River watershed—and prepare for future flooding events—the Big Thompson Watershed Coalition hired our team to perform stream restoration design and implementation.

We worked on the assessment and design documents that would guide rehabilitation and resilience efforts for the Big Thompson River, its floodplain, and its riparian (river-side) corridor including the Lower Canyon (Cedar Cove through Jasper Lake) and West Loveland (Riverview to Morey) planning areas. The goal? Promote long-term resiliency and create designs that would incorporate stakeholder input while also developing an implementable restoration plan.

Using historical context, our team reset the ecological trajectory of the river system while considering the hydrological demands of the future. We also held a series of public meetings, worked regularly with project partners, and met personally with private land owners.

The resulting design maintained the river’s location and enhanced, repaired, and rehabilitated physical and biological functions. How? With bank stabilization, floodplain reconnection, the creation of in-stream and terrestrial habitats, and native re-vegetation—to name a few activities. All together, the completed projects better prepare the Big Thompson River and the surrounding community for future flooding events.

Meet Our Team

George Athanasakes, Vice President, Ecosystem Restoration, Environmental Services

We analyze natural processes driving ecological functions and incorporate these processes into designs to create self-sustaining ecosystems.
George Athanasakes Vice President, Ecosystem Restoration, Environmental Services Read More

George Athanasakes

Vice President, Ecosystem Restoration, Environmental Services

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