On the banks of Fountain Creek, about 50 people gathered yesterday to see a project that has turned back time. The Fountain Creek Improvement Project, completed as part of the Southern Delivery System (SDS), restored the creek banks to a more natural pattern, helping slow water flow through this stretch during storms and reducing erosion and sediment being carried downstream.
Colorado Springs Utilities recently completed the improvement on a 28-acre site at Clear Spring Ranch, located south of the city of Fountain.
Over the years, multiple factors have contributed to instability in the creek’s natural flow pattern, causing bank erosion and sedimentation – not only in this location but also throughout the watershed. By returning the creek to a more natural flow pattern, crews reshaped the way in which water entered a bend in the creek to help reduce the speed and the force of the water.
In addition to creek bank improvement, six new acres of wetlands were created to provide habitat for abundant area wildlife. A regional trail also is under construction adjacent to the project.
Contractors who assisted with the project included Matrix Design and local businesses Wildcat Construction Company, Inc. and Seedmasters, Inc. To revegetate the area and start the wetland's growth, Seedmasters installed 53,000 plugs of wetland plants and grasses, 144,000 small willows and a combination of 5,000 small cottonwood and ash trees, all installed by hand. Many of the young trees were started from mature trees on the Clear Spring Ranch property.
Merv Bennett, Utilities Board Chair, and Gary Bostrom, Chief Water Services Officer, Colorado Springs Utilities, unveiled an engraved boulder that was installed at the site to commemorate the improvement done on the creek. Guests of the event also wrote messages on river rocks to represent their vision of Fountain Creek.
“This is just the beginning of good things that will come to Fountain Creek as a result of SDS,” said Bennett.
“It is our hope that the Fountain Creek Improvement Project will serve as a model for future improvements to other areas along the creek, and we are pleased be a part of this significant commitment to increase the overall health of the watershed,” said Bostrom.
View video to see how the Fountain Creek Improvement Project works.