Photo Courtesy Groundwork Denver

Photo Courtesy Groundwork Denver

 Photo Courtesy Groundwork Denver

Photo Courtesy Groundwork Denver

Groundwork Denver

River Restoration, Riparian Re-vegetation, Education and Outreach 2015

(Healthy Rivers Fund $15,000)  

Bear Creek is a heavily developed Front Range stream that runs out of the mountains into the cities of Lakewood, Denver, and Sheridan.  The eight-mile urbanized section of Bear Creek has been identified in the State’s list of impaired water bodies with high priority for E. coli contamination. Before the river restoration efforts completed by Groundwork Denver (GWD), there was minimal coordinated education or action to address the water pollution, invasive species, stream bank erosion, or general watershed and river stewardship. 

To address this, GWD engaged stakeholders throughout the grant period and completed several successful river improvement projects. GWD Youth Green Teams and volunteers removed invasive Russian Olive trees over a two-mile stretch (approximately 40 acres) in the Denver section of Bear Creek and took inventory of Purple Loosestrife in the Bear Creek Natural Area as part of invasive management control. In addition, GWD applied a sand/paint mixture to protect native trees from beavers, removed an estimated 2,000 pounds of trash from riparian areas, and collected data on the size and health of 219 native cottonwood trees. 

 Photo Courtesy Groundwork Denver

Photo Courtesy Groundwork Denver

 Photo Courtesy Groundwork Denver

Photo Courtesy Groundwork Denver

To address this, GWD engaged stakeholders throughout the grant period and completed several successful river improvement projects. GWD Youth Green Teams and volunteers removed invasive Russian Olive trees over a two-mile stretch (approximately 40 acres) in the Denver section of Bear Creek and took inventory of Purple Loosestrife in the Bear Creek Natural Area as part of invasive management control. In addition, GWD applied a sand/paint mixture to protect native trees from beavers, removed an estimated 2,000 pounds of trash from riparian areas, and collected data on the size and health of 219 native cottonwood trees. 


Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

Colorado State Parks Hecla Wash Restoration and Sediment Reduction Project 2012

(HRF $25,000)

Brown’s Canyon, one of Colorado’s newest National Monuments, hosted more than 220,000 commercial rafters in 2016 as they paddled their way down the Arkansas River. Hecla Junction is within the Brown’s Canyon reach of the Arkansas River Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) and is one of the most popular raft take-out areas in Colorado. The recreational heritage of the Arkansas River has shaped the character of the communities and provided economic vitality to these communities. The unique scenery of the broad river valley lined with massive peaks offers diverse recreation opportunities that attract visitors from around the world. The towns of Salida, Buena Vista, and Pueblo have created river recreation parks that have become center pieces to downtown areas.

Following a flood event in 2006, State Parks personnel repaired the most critically damaged areas to restore basic operations at the site, however a sustainable mitigation project was required to reduce future vulnerability. This project sought to identify opportunities and constraints, from the river’s perspective, that reveal how to allow for natural processes at Hecla Junction while preserving ecological integrity, environmental quality, and maintaining recreational values. 

Mitigation project tasks funded through the HRF included protecting and restoring cottonwood/willow islands; installing biodegradable filter fabrics, silt fences and erosion control mats; installing straw bale barriers to protect water quality and prevent erosion during construction; and creating sediment basins to trap materials entrained in flood flows to reduce sediment deposition into the Arkansas and to reduce the size and frequency of the alluvial fan formation at the mouth of Hecla Wash. Project implementation began in March 2011. The project was completed in January 2013.