Waltonia & Mountain Shadows

Project Description

In both the 1976 and 2013 flood events, the communities of Waltonia and Mountain Shadows were heavily impacted by flood damage. Known for their 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 2015 Natural Resource Conservation Service assessment 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 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 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. After three seasons of construction this set of projects was completed in May 2018.

Fun Fact

BTWC began a new project with the Waltonia community in 2022. This time a forestry project! The narrow community and steep canyon walls that surround it make it a priority for wildfire mitigation work. You can learn more about this project on the Waltonia Forestry project page

Project Photos

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 Today

Waltonia Today

Waltonia & Mountain Shadows

Project Accomplishments

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