The Chatfield Reservoir Mitigation Company (CRMC) and Muller Engineering Company (Muller) were awarded an American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado (ACEC Colorado) Engineering Excellence Award for their work on the Chatfield Storage Reallocation Project.
As Colorado’s Front Range population continues to grow and agriculture seeks renewable irrigation supplies, so does the demand for water storage. To address this critical need, nine water providers along Colorado’s Front Range formed the CRMC. They were united by a goal of reallocating 20,600 acre-feet of space in a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) reservoir at Chatfield State Park (the Park), which was built primarily for flood control in 1975 but included a small amount of water supply storage. The USACE determined that this reservoir could accommodate the additional water supply storage without compromising the flood control function by raising the operating water level up to 12 feet. While the increased storage provides a renewable water supply for present and future generations, raising the water levels to meet the demand was anticipated to create impacts on the riparian environment of the South Platte River and Plum Creek as they enter the reservoir. CRMC hired Muller to develop plans to mitigate the environmental impacts.
The Muller team designed and oversaw the construction of this highly innovative environmental mitigation project. Muller’s project work focused on $33 million of environmental mitigation work along the South Platte River and Plum Creek, a critical component of the overall $167 million water supply storage project at the Park.
Key highlights of the project include:
- Restoration of 1.3 miles of severely eroded Plum Creek with riffle-pool stream complexes, natural meandering planforms, restoration of secondary channels, and rehydration of wetlands.
- Mitigation along the South Platte River, including restoration of Titan Lake and the Willow Creek tributary and extensive overbank shaping to expand riparian shrub and forest areas.
- Planting 4,000 trees and 80,000 woody plants on 240 acres.
- Innovation that allowed 85% of environmental mitigation to take place within the Park.
- A feature story in the US Army Corps of Engineers prestigious publication “Engineering with Nature, An Atlas Volume 2.”
Projects that receive an Excellence Award are qualified to submit the award on a national level.