Climate Adapted Restoration

We plan and implement on-the-ground projects that advance watershed restoration practices and incorporate climate change scenarios such as future flood, drought and fire.

South St. Vrain Creek Restoration

Climate Resilience on South St. Vrain

Enhancing watershed resilience in the face of flood, fire, and drought. This restoration project aims to build watershed resilience and advance watershed science through the creation of climate adapted features in an unconfined depositional river reach and ecological monitoring. . Through these practices, this project will build watershed resilience for post-fire and other climate-change impacts that threaten ecosystem function and community values and safety. Throughout this project, we will be monitoring the ecological responses to restoration as well as their impacts to water quality and geomorphology. 

Camp St. Malo

Building Headwaters Resilience at Camp St. Malo

Enhancing forest and river resilience in the headwaters. The purpose of the project is to increase ecological and geomorphic complexity in a high-elevation unconfined river reach located adjacent to high-fire-risk forests. The project area is on a low-gradient portion of Cabin Creek, which flows into the North St. Vrain. The project area was impacted by excessive sediment deposition during the 2013 floods. The floodplain in this reach remains unproductive and unable to accommodate flows. The project area is also directly adjacent to high-fire-risk forests in the Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) boundary.

Adaptive Restoration

Left Hand Creek Adaptive Restoration

A first of its kind restoration project in the St. Vrain Basin. In 2019, we constructed a geomorphically and ecologically diverse “stage 0” restoration project in the foothills of Left Hand Creek Watershed. This project advanced river restoration practices to include diverse climate adapted features and watershed science through applied restoration. Since construction, our key research question is how does a stage zero site increase geomorphic complexity, ecological resilience, and attenuation of fluxes? We partnered with professors and students at CU Boulder and local agencies to answer this research question.

Working Rivers

We are finding balanced solutions for working rivers. Many of Colorado’s Front Range rivers are considered “working rivers” because in addition to providing ecological benefits such as habitat and water quality, they also provide considerable economic and recreational benefits for our communities and enhance our community’s quality of life. As beneficiaries of the services provided by our working rivers, it is our responsibility to explore ways to balance river health with societal needs.
Operating ditch square

Left Hand Creek Feasibility Study

We are exploring ways to balance these needs of water users and fish in our Left Hand Creek Feasibility Study. During this assessment, we worked with water managers and local experts to understand current conditions of diversions and fish populations and opportunities for enhancing diversion maintenance and operations and fish habitat and connectivity. The result was a collaboratively developed list of priority ditch enhancement and fish passage projects for Left Hand Watershed and educational materials.
 Haldi and Left Hand Valley Diversion Projects

Haldi and Left Hand Valley Diversion Projects

Prioritized through the Left Hand Creek Feasibility Study, the Haldi and Left Hand Valley Diversions are key points of diversion in the Left Hand Creek Ditch System. Through collaboration with water managers and ecologists, we developed broadly supported multi-benefit conceptual designs that offer opportunities for enhancing operations and maintenance at these structures while benefitting fish habitat and connectivity. Today, we are working with project partners to further develop designs towards implementation.
Passage Playbook

Passage Playbook

A guide to future passage projects that serves as a starting point for building collaboration and trust with ditch company partners and other community interest groups and important considerations for successful project development and implementation. This Playbook memorializes more than 40 years of professional water resource experience from Boulder County, City of Longmont, and St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy staff as well as lessons learned from The Watershed Center’s projects and Left Hand Creek Feasibility Study.

Mine Reclamation

Captain Jack

Captain Jack Superfund Site

We are working to help our community understand, analyze, interpret, communicate, and respond to information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) related to the Captain Jack Superfund site.

Adaptive Management in River and Riparian Systems

Captain Jack

We are collaborating with partners to develop and implement a shared adaptive management framework for assessing watershed health in the St. Vrain Basin (including Left Hand Creek and Boulder Creek). We will develop the shared framework collaboratively, with input from diverse entities that currently manage and monitor watershed health throughout the basin. Our goal is to create a framework that will help us make more informed management decisions as a basin and better track broad progress towards basin-wide watershed health goals.

Flood Recovery

Captain Jack

We have designed and implemented more that 20 flood recovery and restoration project following the 2013 floods which devastated both our watershed and our community. High flows and sediment/debris inputs caused the creek to migrate and experience deposition, erosion, and loss of riparian vegetation and habitat. Agriculture, homes, and infrastructure were damaged or destroyed throughout the watershed. In response, we led design and implementation of flood recovery and restoration projects to jumpstart and maintain our watershed’s trajectory towards resilience. These projects aim to increase flood resilience, restore long-term stream health and stability, and improve aquatic and riparian habitat in out watershed. Projects spanned both private and public properties, and included extensive outreach and community engagement.

Community Science

Captain Jack

We love working with our community members to collect data across our watershed! From catching Benthic Macroinvertebrates, to monitoring water quality, we provide multiple opportunities for community science. We can’t wait to connect with you!

Stream Stewardship and Recovery Handbook

Stream Handbook

Do you have problems with weeds, erosion, or other issues on your creekside property? This user-friendly handbook serves as a resource for you to learn about your streamside property, including appropriate stewardship solutions to address weeds, erosion, or other issues; information about how your property matters to the watershed, environment, and others living along the creek; and how-to guides for implementing stewardship projects. Contact us to learn more!

Funding for our river program provided by

Argosy Foundation, Boulder County, Boulder County Climate Innovation Fund, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, City of Longmont, Colorado Water Conservation Board, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Left Hand Water District, St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District, City of Boulder, Keep it Clean Partnership, and Mile High Flood District. See a full list of funders here.