River Projects

Cedar Cove

Project Description

The Cedar Cove reach of the Big Thompson River lies in a canyon pocket, where the steep, narrow upstream canyon walls open up and the valley flattens before constricting once again. During large flood events, such as in 1976 and more recently in 2013, this section of the river deposits and stores sediment and debris carried down from upstream, creating unpredictable changes to the river’s profile and water flow. Approximately 3,600 linear feet of the Big Thompson River corridor was rehabilitated in the Cedar Cove project through a combination of channel grading, in-channel and bank stabilization features, and revegetation efforts.

This project was designed with community and technical expert input in 2016, and was constructed from July 2017 through November 2017.

Get Involved

Interested in helping with ongoing stewardship of this site? Help us manage weeds and enhance native plant communities on our upcoming volunteer day on April 13th, 2019. Support for ongoing monitoring and management of these sites is always in need, help BTWC now

Cedar Cove

Project Outcomes

project length: 3,600 linear feet of river enhanced

14 landowners participated

43 in-stream structures installed

830 linear feet of bioengineered banks

3160 willow and cottonwood plants installed

1512 native container plants installed

4.5 acres seeded with native plant mixes

Cedar Cove

Before and After

Before (2014)

Post-flood emergency repairs at Cedar Cove created a rock-lined, uniform channel that was isolated from its floodplain. This allows little opportunity for natural water absorption in future flood events as well as poor wildlife habitat.


The Cedar Cove project realigned the river through this section, created benches that reconnect the river to its floodplain, and installed large rocks, logs, and native plants to provide bank stabilization and a variety of habitat features.

This simulation, produced by Stantec, was created to help community members and the project technical team and partners visualize and plan for another 100 year flood event in the Cedar Cove area. This visualization shows a section of river that was restored by the Big Thompson Watershed Coalition, after the 2013 flood that caused major damage to the area’s ecology, infrastructure (including homes, roadways, and bridges), and communities.