OMAHA, Neb. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking comments on the recently released draft feasibility report and integrated environmental assessment which outlines a proposed plan to restore approximately 2.4 miles of degraded ecosystem along the South Platte River, from West Mississippi Avenue upstream to West Yale Avenue, in Denver, Colorado. The plan includes in-stream structures to improve fishery habitat, stream modifications to increase fish passage and restoration of adjacent wetland habitat.
The draft report, developed in coordination with the local sponsor (City and County of Denver), provides information on the need for the project, current conditions of the project area, identification of opportunities for restoration, development of various restoration alternatives and selection of the proposed plan. The proposed plan includes (1) placement of in-stream structures such as boulder clusters and riffles to provide habitat and shelter for fish and other aquatic organisms, (2) restoration of wetland, riparian and floodplain habitats to increase connectivity of upstream and downstream reaches of the South Platte River, and (3) modification of the current drop structures near Overland Pond Park and Excel Energy to improve fish passage. The plan also includes recreation features that complement the ecosystem restoration components of the project including a viewing platform, boardwalk connecting the Regional Trail to restored areas of Grant Frontier Park and interpretive educational signage.
The draft feasibility report may be downloaded at http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Planning/Project-Reports/. Comments on the report can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, CENWO-PMA-A, ATTN: Jeff Bohlken, 1616 Capitol Avenue, Omaha, NE 68102-4901. Comments must be postmarked or received by July 6, 2018.
Comments can also be provided during an open house scheduled on Monday, June 18, 2018 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Decker Branch Library, 1501 S. Logan Street in Denver. There will be a formal presentation around 6 p.m. followed by an open house where people will have an opportunity to learn more about the project and provide comments on the proposed plan.
BACKGROUND: The urbanization of the City and County of Denver over the past 150 years has resulted in infrastructure and development encroaching into historic stream and floodplain habitats along the South Platte River and its tributaries. In addition, the construction of the Corps’ Chatfield and Bear Creek Dams, upstream from the project reach, have altered the natural flows by greatly reducing flood flows and increasing late summer and fall base flows. In the Southern Platte Valley project reach, the combined effect of these changes has negatively impacted the South Platte River’s natural flows and native aquatic and riparian habitat systems.
For more information about the public meeting, contact Jennifer Williams with the City of Denver Public Works at (303) 446-3549 or Jeff Bohlken with USACE Omaha District at (402) 995-2671.