Earth Day -- April 22, 2015

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SDS Marks Earth Day with Spotlight on Environmental Improvements

Earth Day brings focus to how we are protecting the environment and being good stewards of the planet.  One of the key values of the SDS project has been to build the project in an environmentally responsible manner. 

Here are some of the ways the project has protected or improved the environment:

Environmentally Responsible Tunnel
This month, SDS concluded constructing a tunnel to house water pipe crossing under I-25, two railroad tracks, frontage roads, and most importantly underneath environmentally sensitive areas. This approach saved nearly 400 trees that would have required removal under traditional surface construction, including several dozen mature trees. These large trees stabilize the creek and provide habitat for herons, hawks, and white-tailed deer. The tunnel also limited disturbance to wildlife in the area that is dotted with more than 14 heron nesting locations.

Fountain Creek Improvement Project
The Fountain Creek Improvement Project serves as a great demonstration project to restore and improve the watershed. An SDS mitigation requirement, the project realigned the creek to restore natural water flow.  Additionally, SDS:

  • Enhanced 28 acres and a half mile of creek;
  • Created six acres of new wetlands along the creek; and
  • Added 53,000 plugs of wetland plants, 144,000 willows and 5,000 Cottonwood and Ash trees to the area

Wetlands Improvement Project
In 2011, SDS with the help of 65 community volunteers, performed the first of its wetland improvements at a site near Fountain Creek north of Clear Springs Ranch. More than three years later, the site is flourishing. The new wetland area added 4,500 diversified plants, shrubs and trees, creating a thriving wildlife habitat along Fountain Creek.


“We always said SDS will provide benefits to the Fountain Creek corridor,” said John Fredell, SDS Program Director. “These projects demonstrate that building a water project can bring tremendous environmental benefit. And for SDS this is just the beginning.  Once water starts flowing, there will be $50 million to fund more improvements on Fountain Creek.”


These projects are just a few examples of many regional commitments that Colorado Springs Utilities has fulfilled as we construct SDS. For more details, visit

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