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North Basins

South Platte

The South Platte begins in the mountains surrounding South Park and flows down through renowned tailwater fisheries in Elevenmile, Cheesman, and Waterton Canyons to reach the Denver metropolitan area and then continue across eastern Colorado. The river is a work horse – its water supports cities, agriculture, and recreation – but along with tributaries including Clear Creek, Bear Creek, and Boulder Creek it is also a priceless natural resource that Colorado TU and its chapters have long worked to conserve, protect, and restore.

Threats, Programs & Projects

Restoring the Urban South Platte. While reaches like the “Dream Stream” and Cheesman Canyon are well known, the South Platte through metro Denver has often been an undervalued resources.  Denver TU is working with a wide array of partners to change that, and behind their signature “Carp Slam” event are working to build awareness and raise funds to restore habitat and create a true “home river” through the Denver area.

Improving habitat in Clear Creek. Colorado TU’s West Denver Chapter has been hard at work on its home waters on Clear Creek – completing restoration of the “Golden Mile” reach and now preparing to move further up Clear Creek to restore habitat through the Canyon Reach project – collectively, the projects are putting more than a half-million dollars of restoration in place to benefit the river.

Gross Reservoir enlargement. Denver Water has proposed enlarging Gross Reservoir on South Boulder Creek. The project raises many concerns as it would rely on significant new diversions from the already overtapped Colorado River headwaters. Colorado TU continues to advocate for appropriate protections for the Colorado, but also supports Denver’s proposal to address the reservoir’s Boulder Creek impacts by creating a “conservation pool” reservoir to help store and deliver water from existing Front Range water supplies to address low winter flows in South Boulder Creek.

Boulder Creek Rogers Park project. Boulder Flycasters completed work on the Rogers Park reach of Middle Boulder Creek, helping create a healthier river habitat and along the way earning recognition as the winner of the Boulder County Pinnacle Award for Public Involvement. Future efforts will tackle other reaches within the Boulder Creek watershed.

South Platte Protection Plan. In the aftermath of the Environmental Protection Agency’s veto of the Two Forks Dam project, studies began on possible designation of the South Platte as a wild and scenic river. Colorado TU worked with other conservationists, water users and local governments to craft a local alternative – the “South Platte Protection Plan” – to create a shared vision for protecting the river into the future. After nearly 10 years, the Plan continues to work to protect flows, fund restoration, and provide recreation along the South Platte corridor.

Buffalo Peaks Ranch restoration. The Middle Fork South Platte through Buffalo Peaks Ranch provides public angling thanks to agreements with the City of Aurora, its owner – but the river was overwide and provided poor habitat for fish. Thanks to a large-scale restoration project conducted by Colorado TU with funding support from the Division of Wildlife’s Fishing is Fun program, the river is healthier and the fishery is another jewel for the South Platte watershed.