Abstract: Session C  9:20 am (Back to Session C)
A Hybrid Approach to Natural Channel Design

Matthew Johnson, PE CFM
Colorado Springs, CO

Authors:  Matthew Johnson, Lucas Babbitt, Adam Copper

Urban Stream Restoration presents a unique challenge of providing a natural design in an un-natural setting. Watershed development and hydrologic modifications change the frequency and intensity of discharges within these urban settings. With changes to the watershed hydrology it becomes challenging, if not impossible, to restore these natural waterways to their historic condition.

Over the years solutions to these challenges have ranged from concrete lined trapezoidal channels to the Dutch “Room for the River” approach. In most cases these approaches are either not feasible or not desirable. In between these approaches lies the option of a hybrid approach. Communities and coalitions that may desire a natural channel design but want additional protective measures to protect their investments may find value in a hybrid approach.

This presentation provides a case study of a design that utilized this hybrid approach of natural channel design and traditional stabilization measures to provide a naturalistic design in a constrained urban corridor.

Pine Creek, located in Colorado Springs, CO has rapidly degraded over the past 5-years as a result of hydrologic modification from upstream development and the major flooding in 2015. This degradation has primarily occurred within the Pine Creek Golf Course from Briargate Parkway to approximately 5,000 feet upstream. The project goal was to employ a natural channel restoration approach that worked with the natural tendencies of the stream system while preserving existing vegetation and providing adequate stabilization to protect against catastrophic flood events. The project corridor is extremely constrained by the golf course and an adjacent development, which limits restoration opportunities.