River Projects

Waltonia and Mountain Shadows

Project Description

In both the 1976 and 2013 major flood events, the communities of Waltonia and Mountain Shadows were heavily impacted by flood damage. Known for its mountain homes that line the river edge, many seasonal and year-round homes were threatened, damaged, or completely lost by rising water levels and the flush of sediment and debris. The Natural Resource Conservation Service assessment in 2015 identified the three projects in this area as high priority to restore. Nearly 1 mile of river corridor was restored by BTWC and project partners in 2017 and 2018 to improve upon the emergency response armoring and repair efforts conducted directly after the flood. These projects reshaped and reinforced eroding river banks to provide additional stability and safety to the land and riverside homes; added resiliency to state and local infrastructure used by hundreds of residents and millions of annual visitors to the Big Thompson river (55,000 of which are anglers) and its source in Rocky Mountain National Park; and perhaps most importantly, solidified a sense of healing for the communities impacted by the 2013 flood by restoring recreational access and the wild beauty of the area.

This massive undertaking lasted 3 seasons. It went to construction in October 2017 and was completed by May 2018.

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.

Waltonia and Mountain Shadows

Project Outcomes

project length: 4,920 linear feet

25 participating landowners

57 in-stream structures

3,805 willow and cottonwood live stakes planted

4,639 container plants installed

4.3 acres seeded

Waltonia and Mountain Shadows

Before and After

Before (winter 2013)

Post-flood photo of a house in the Mountain Shadows reach. The flood scoured banks and tore away vegetation, and experienced severe erosion such as what is seen here, threatening to undermine the home.

After (Summer 2017)

After the project, the banks are graded back and protected with buried rock, erosion control matting, and existing and new native vegetation. Notice the staircase replaced in construction that was washed out of the post-flood river bank.

Waltonia and Mountain Shadows Gallery