The Highlands Ranch Metro District is embarking on four channel stabilization projects, three in different areas of Big Dry Creek and one at Dad Clark Gulch.
The four projects, which will cost the district a total of $921,600, will keep water quality standards on par with requirements set by the Colorado Department Of Public Health and Environment, and also will help prevent erosion from damaging trailheads, water and sewer lines.
“We realize the open space is a huge amenity in our community and we want to be able to protect it as much as we can,” said Forrest Dykstra, HRMD manager of development engineering, who has been overseeing district stabilization projects for 15 years. “Erosion can move upstream about 100 feet in just a few short months.”
Dykstra said while there are numerous stabilization projects they would like to work on, due to financial limitations they have to pick and choose, and the ones that threaten park space, culverts, sewer lines and water lines take top priority even if the amount of erosion is not as severe as elsewhere.
“In all the soil types we have in this area, the constant flow of water will result in erosion if the channel is steeper than 1 percent,” said Public Works Director Jeff Case.
Being a community with pretty steep topography means the district is constantly at work on such projects, he explained. In order to correct the issue of erosion, a stair-step effect is created through the placement of boulders, special concrete, or other organic materials that allow the water to cascade in a more controlled way. The type of material is typically selected to keep the aesthetic consistent with area geography.
The exact locations and timelines where work will be taking place are as follows:
• Big Dry Creek: Adjacent to Cheese Ranch Park. Study just began and will conclude mid-summer with construction spanning from 2014-2015.
• East Big Dry Creek: East of Quebec Street. Study concluded, project to begin and end this summer.
• West Big Dry Creek: North of Cresthill Lane. Study underway and work planned to begin in the fall and to be completed in 2014.
• Dad Clark Gulch: The future Historic Park by the Highlands Ranch Mansion. Six-month project planned to begin in the fall and finish up in late winter, early spring.