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Boulder Creek Restoration

Boulder Creek Restoration

The City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks Department (OSMP) has begun a major restoration project that will improve native fish habitat in Boulder Creek and restore natural areas surrounding the creek. This ecological project also will repair damage from the 2013 floods by returning Boulder Creek to its pre-flood channel, and will include the planting of more than 11,000 native trees and shrubs. These plantings will help improve the creek’s sustainability and resiliency, and help mitigate damage to private and public property during future floods. These efforts are occurring in two areas east of Boulder.

Valmont/Pearl Parkway and 61st Street: This project will repair flood damage and will return Boulder Creek to the course it ran before the 2013 floods. As part of this effort, OSMP plans to install in-stream features to help improve fish habitat. OSMP also plans to restore creek habitat and surrounding natural area by planting more than 10,000 native trees and shrubs. In addition, the project will add bank protection along steep creek banks and realign the creek to protect the bridge on 61st Street. When completed, this project will improve the creek’s stability and resiliency to lessen damage during the next flood. OSMP anticipates completing this project by late June.

61st Street and Boulder Creek bridge: This project will repair flood damage and improve fish habitat. It also will include planting of 1,000 native trees and shrubs to help restore natural areas surrounding Boulder Creek. Like the Valmont/Pearl Parkway and 61st Street project, this restoration effort will help to mitigate future flood damage in the area. OSMP anticipates completing this project by late May.

These restoration projects are supported by various partners who have provided funding or in-kind services. Partners include:

Colorado Water Conservation Board
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Environment for the Americas 
Green Ditch Company

As part of this restoration project, OSMP has strived to retain as many non-native and native trees as possible. However, some trees need to be removed to help improve the creek’s stability and to reduce the likelihood that areas along Boulder Creek experience the same breaches that occurred during the 2013 floods. Much of the material from removed trees will be put into the project, creating in-stream habitat for fish and floodplain habitat for small mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

OSMP recognizes the connection our community has with the landscapes and ecological communities we conserve and restore. The department is mindful of community feelings when removing any vegetation from the land. OSMP removes native and non-native trees when they pose a risk to visitors and motorists, or if they are in conflict with other open space efforts. In general, OSMP does not remove any trees or shrubbery that federally protected species feed on or use for shelter. When OSMP does remove trees, it strives to replace them with shrubs and trees if possible. For restoration projects along Boulder Creek, the removal of native and non-native trees will be supplemented by the planting of more than 11,000 native trees and shrubs.