The South Platte River and Tributaries Project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District was recently selected to participate in a civil works Public-Private Partnership pilot program.
The project, located in Adams and Denver Counties, Colorado, was one of four programs selected by USACE headquarters to demonstrate the viability of alternative delivery methods that significantly reduce the cost and duration of project delivery across the nation.
The project is a multi-purpose flood risk management, ecosystem restoration and recreation project along the South Platte River, the Weir Gulch, and the Harvard Gulch in Colorado. This investment will provide an estimated 87 habitat units per year by restoring or connecting approximately 450 acres of riparian wetland and aquatic habitats. It will also provide flood risk management benefits that will reduce the existing flood risk for over 500 homes, structures, and businesses across the project area. In addition, the project will provide trails, access points and park-based recreation features.
This innovative project delivery method accelerates delivery through performance-based contracts, leveraged appropriations, and optimized local participation that promotes risk sharing and significant project life-cycle cost savings.
“This project presents a unique opportunity for the Omaha District Corps of Engineers to partner with an extremely dedicated sponsor to restore a highly degraded river that would provide a significant boost in nationally significant habitat and habitat connectivity,” said Col. Mark Himes, USACE Omaha District commander. “It will also provide flood risk reduction to hundreds of structures within both the Harvard and Weir Gulch Communities.”
Local stakeholders and regional partners have coined this project as the “Waterway Resiliency Program” with a common goal to deliver Denver’s One Water Vision for the South Platte River, Weir Gulch, and Harvard Gulch. The program will directly benefit some of Denver’s most disadvantaged and underserved communities by restoring habitats, providing flood protection, and creating more inviting spaces for plants and wildlife. It will also advance Denver’s goals of enhanced mobility and equity.
“The restoration and conservation of the South Platte River ecosystem is a phenomenal opportunity for our community, and families generations from now will still be reaping the benefits of this historic investment,” said Michael B. Hancock, Mayor of Denver, Colorado in a statement. “Infrastructure investments like this do more than just improve our waterways; they build lives, they build communities, and they build futures.”
The project was authorized for construction under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Section 401(4) of the 2020 Water Resource Development Act at a total cost of $550 million.
“This is a perfect example of collaboration and all levels of government working together,” Hancock added.
For more information on USACE’s Public-Private Partnership program, visit: https://www.usace.army.mil/missions/civil-works/infrastructure/infra_P3_program/