River Projects

North Fork Projects at Drake

Project Description

This project is located at the confluence of the North Fork and main stem of the Big Thompson River near the Town of Drake, and contains several private properties and local businesses. The 2013 flood event produced large deposits of sediment and debris which completely blocked the US 34 bridge, and damaged private and public infrastructure from roadways to hotels, homes, and campgrounds. Restoring immediate access was a top priority after the flood, but emergency measures executed without a holistic vision left the reach severely degraded and in need of significant additional investment to repair. The North Fork Project consisted of sediment and debris removal to improve capacity of the river to pass higher flows; streambank stabilization and sediment redirection using innovative bioengineering techniques (engineering with rock and logs) along river banks, beds, and floodplain; and river habitat enhancement through native plant revegetation and habitat complexity installation.

This project had a blazing construction timeline of only 87 days from February to April 2017!

Get Involved

Stay tuned for upcoming volunteer days to help us with ongoing site management including monitoring project progress, controlling weedy non-native plants, and installing more native plant species.

North Fork

Project Outcomes

project length: 2,100 linear feet

1,150 linear feet of overflow channels and berms

5 in-stream structures

2,500 linear feet of bioengineered streambanks

3,636 willow and cottonwood live stakes planted

899 container plants

3,000 cubic yards of sediment removed

North Fork

Before and After

Before (winter 2013)

North Fork of the Big Thompson river just after the 2013 flood event show large deposits of sediment and debris carried from downstream and deposited on the bank shores of this site.

After (Summer 2017)

Post-construction photo of the same vantage point show successful growth of vegetation to the water’s edge with new river bed and bank contours that provide bank stability, reduce erosion, and sustain diverse aquatic and terrestrial wildlife habitat.

North Fork Gallery