Garden of the Gods Flood Mitigation Facility

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About the Project

Work to construct a large stormwater detention and sediment collection facility in the far northeastern portion of Garden of the Gods Park will take place between June and December 2019 (weather permitting). Construction work will not impact traffic in Garden of Gods Parks and the Foothills Trail is expected to remain open throughout the majority of the construction process. The Foothills Trail will be reconstructed along the eastern side of the project area. The Dakota Trail will be reconstructed over the project dam, restoring the connection to the Foothill Trail. 

The facility will serve to protect Garden of the Gods Park, Rock Ledge Ranch and downstream neighborhoods by significantly reducing the risk of flooding along Camp Creek downstream of the site in large storm events.

After construction of the detention facility is complete, it is expected that about 110 properties along the 31st Street corridor can be removed from the FEMA regulatory floodplain through a map revision process. Owners of properties removed from the FEMA floodplain will have an option to carry flood insurance at a reduced rate, but will no longer be required by the federal government to carry flood insurance.

Several areas along Camp Creek are still at risk for flash flooding and construction of the flood mitigation facility to support previous downstream channel stabilizations efforts allow us to continue to make significant headway in our ongoing recovery efforts following the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012.

The Waldo Canyon Fire created an increased risk for flash flooding along Camp Creek and North and South Douglas creek watersheds. City officials worked to identify and obtain funding for flood mitigation efforts along both watersheds.  In the fall of 2013, the City of Colorado Springs launched the Camp Creek Drainage Improvement Project that involved significant neighborhoodA geographic sub-area within the city that contains but is not limited to residential land uses. The extent of a neighborhood is variable and may be defined by tradition, organizational boundaries, period of building and development, or subdivision patterns. Neighborhood boundaries may include such features as major streets or other physical elements. participation to thoughtfully plan short-term and long-term solutions to protect the Camp Creek corridor from flooding and erosion to improve public safety. 

Preservation of iconic park view from the Garden of the Gods Visitor’s Center:

Because preserving the park’s iconic view while protecting it and downstream communities from flooding is a key goal, the project will blend into the natural environment. When complete, nearly all of the dam will be covered with soil and planted with native grasses and shrubs similar to the existing vegetation on the site. 

The flood mitigation facility will temporarily store a portion of the Camp Creek floodwaters during high flow events before releasing the water downstream at a lower flow rate over a period of time to reduce flooding. High flow events from burns scars carry large volumes of sediment. The facility will include an area to capture sediment, improving water quality before the water is released into the channel that runs through the park, Rock Ledge Ranch and the 31st Street corridor.

In fall 2018, the City’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department conducted an archaeological excavation in an area near the planned flood mitigation facility site focusing on a landfill associated with Colorado Springs Founder General William J. Palmer. With the completion of the archaeological excavation and continued study of artifacts that were recovered, construction of the flood mitigation facility can proceed as planned.
 

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links to PDF of project renderings

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Project Funding

The project is funded through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the State of Colorado and the City.  The project will pave the way for downstream projects by reducing the flows in Camp Creek through the 31st Street corridor. This will allow for reconstruction of the 31st Street portion of Camp Creek with a channel design that incorporates naturalistic elements that were deemed important to the surrounding neighborhood during extensive community participation in 2013-14. 

The City applied for a grant for the stormwater detention facility in late summer of 2014 and received notice of the grant award in late spring 2016.

Construction Timeline: Mid-June 2019 through December 2019 (weather dependent).
Total Project Cost: 8,914,355   

  • 75 percent Federal Share:     6,685,767   
  • 12.5 percent State Match:     1,114,294 
  • 12.5 percent City Match:    1,114,294 

Wilson & Co. was selected to design the project and serve as the consultant construction manager during its construction.