Two flood mitigation projects in Colorado Springs were recognized by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) for efforts to find impactful and innovative ways to protect our community from flooding.
Garden of the Gods detention facility
The Garden of the Gods detention facility, located in the far northeastern corner of Garden of the Gods Park, protects downstream communities and the Garden from flash flooding. Several areas along Camp Creek are still at risk for flash flooding and construction of the flood mitigation facility supports previous downstream channel stabilization work and significantly advanced ongoing recovery efforts following the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012.
Because preserving the park’s iconic view is a key goal, the project will blend into the natural environment. As vegetation in the area matures, nearly all of the dam will be covered with soil and 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
Thanks to active community engagement to develop solutions to reduce flood risks, a long-term solution was set in motion to improve public safety for downstream communities, the Garden and Rock Ledge Ranch, and to eliminate expensive flood insurance requirements for about 100 residential property owners. Work also included restoring two popular trails, all while maintaining native species unique to the area.
For more information, visit ColoradoSprings.gov/GoGDetention
Pine Creek Improvements
Work was recently completed to stabilize and restore an approximately 1,750-foot section of Pine Creek that was severely degraded from increased flows along the channel. This project incorporated natural elements to strengthen the creek’s banks — a first in Colorado Springs — to restore the natural channel and stream system, preserve area vegetation, and stabilize the channel to protect surrounding properties from catastrophic floods. The natural vegetation along the revitalized creek creates additional aquatic habitat, improves water quality, and significantly reduces the amount of sediment being carried downstream.
Both projects were made possible, in part, by FEMA Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation Grants. The work of Wilson and Co., for design efforts on the Garden’s detention facility, and HDR, for their work on the Pine Creek improvements project, helped to design innovative solutions to mitigate flooding while preserving the natural beauty of these areas.