River Projects

Wild Natural Area & Neighbors

Project Description

Reach 28 is located the river canyon and  the City of Loveland. This project was made possible by the interest and commitment of property owners at Sweetheart Winery, private landowners, and a future City of Loveland public area, to be called Wild Natural Area. This 5,000 foot long segment of the Big Thompson suffered extensive damage from the September 2013 Big Thompson River floods. The flood caused approximately ten feet of sediment to deposit in the historical channel, forcing the flooding water to break a new channel through adjacent private lands. This new breach tore through the majority of mature riparian vegetation, leaving the channel banks destabilized, prone to erosion, and the habitat overall degraded. This section of the river currently consists of a uniform, shallow overly-widened river that provide minimal habitat diversity and wildlife benefit. Emergency repairs were conducted following the 2013 flood, however property owners and other partners still seeked long term solutions to enhance the resilience of this section of river. In 2017, the BTWC received grant funds to create the final design, receive project permits, and hire design-build contractors. This month, March 2019, construction will begin on this site! 

Project goes to construction in March 2019 and is planned to be completed by summer 2019.

Join Us

for our River Restoration at Reach 28 completion celebration planned for Summer 2019! Future site management and monitoring will be dependant on funding. Stay tuned for volunteer opportunities to help us manage this site long-term.

Wild Natural Area & Neighbors

Project Outcomes

Establish a riparian habitat corridor

Enhance floodplain connectivity

Create bed form diversity

Build flood resiliency

Re-establish appropriate river dimension, pattern, profile and flows 

Reclaim  natural plant communities and lands damaged by flooding

Provide habitat availability for aquatic wildlife communities (mainly fish)

Reach 28

Before and After the Flood

Before (2012)

The pre-2013 flood river corridor (highlighted green) provided diverse habitat types for aquatic wildlife, a gently curving river to slow water flow, and a lovely gallery of mature cottonwoods.

After (2014)

During the flood, approximately 10 feet of sediment was deposited in the original channel, forcing the water to forge a new path. This process uprooted mature vegetation that stabilized the river banks, eroded an overly wide and shallow channel, and reduced wildlife benefits of the area.

Wild Natural Area Gallery

Our Project Partners