Abstract: Session A  10:55 am (Back to Session A)
Improving Function and Rebuilding Community: Results, Outcomes, and Lessons Learned Following Restoration of the Big Thompson River Lower Canyon Reaches

Randy Walsh
Stantec Consulting Services Inc.
Asheville, NC

Authors: J. Randall Walsh (Stantec) and Shayna Jones (Big Thompson Watershed Coalition)

The Lower Canyon reaches of the Big Thompson River (Cedar Cove and Jasper Lake) were identified as a high-priority areas for river restoration in the wake of the 2013 flood, post-flood repairs, and local master planning efforts.  The 2013 flood event severely impacted roads, homes, and other infrastructure in the both reaches, and significantly altered river function. Tragically, two lives were lost. After the flood, the pre-flood channel was re-excavated to restore residential access and to protect and rebuild US Highway 34 through the lower canyon. While emergency repairs offered some short-term benefits in the aftermath of the flood, they provided little long-term security and left the Big Thompson River channel and floodplain in a degraded state. Innovative design techniques, including technical approaches and an extensive collaborative stakeholder process was undertaken by the Big Thompson Watershed Coalition, Stantec Consulting, and project partners to rehabilitate this highly impaired system. This presentation will focus on the design process, constraints, project implementation, and lessons learned in delivering successful and effective restoration projects in a post-flood environment.