South Boulder Creek Watershed Restoration Projects

What is Driving SBC Watershed Restoration Efforts?

Long-Term Drought and the Gross Reservoir Expansion creates challenges and likely changes to South Boulder Creek stream management

  • Flow levels and patterns are changing – older diversion and associated infrastructure built based on different seasonal and overall assumptions about flows levels, timing, and annual water availability
  • Gross Reservoir Expansion includes an Environmental Pool (EP) to provide vital, State administered, minimum in-stream flow rights

Ensuring the EP is Operational is a Critical Linchpin

  • When the Gross Reservoir Expansion is complete and the reservoir re-filled, water managers must be able to administer and physically pass-through EP water from the dam to the confluence with Boulder Creek. This requires modifications to 8 diversion structures to work
  • Keeping SBC wet in dry periods (especially non-irrigation) is critical to the long-term health of watershed, and to the water that flows through to users
  • Through pooling resources across stakeholders there are opportunities to reconnect 10 of 12 miles of creek channel, create fish passage, and to rehabilitate habitat in the reach

BFC is Obtaining Funding, Organizing Project Teams, and Coordinating These Efforts

BFC is leading a coalition of water-rights owners, landowners, and other stakeholders to meet these challenges and goals

  • Developed a comprehensive, State sponsored Stream Management Plan. This includes assessment of and recommendations for watershed restoration, as well as identifying multiple projects over the next 10 years.
  • The most critical, time sensitive projects are to improve flow available from the EP. This requires modifying 8 diversion structures to pass and administer low flows.  These efforts are currently in process, with the first construction project beginning in 2024
  • BFC is the driving force to organize stakeholders and leverage resources to:
    • Reconnect the channel and include fish passage in diversion modification project designs
    • Include habitat, riparian and in-stream environmental improvements

To date, BFC has raised $2.7m for these projects, with another $300k from grant applications in process.  Donors and partners include:

  • State of Colorado
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service
  • City of Boulder
  • City of Lafayette
  • City of Louisville
  • Boulder County
  • Denver Water
  • 14 ditch companies
  • Colorado Trout Unlimited
  • Boulder Flycasters

Previous Projects