COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Work to construct a large stormwater detention and sediment collection facility in the far northeastern portion of Garden of the Gods Park will begin in mid-June 2019. The project will take approximately six months to complete. 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.
Construction vehicles will travel along 30th Street to deliver materials and haul off a portion of the soil excavated to form the reservoir needed to be used for temporary storage of stormwater and sediment. Portions of the excavated soil will be used to construct a wide dam at the downstream side of the reservoir.
The flood mitigation facility will be constructed along Camp Creek which flows through Garden of the Gods, Rock Ledge Ranch and the center median of 31st street downstream of the project site. The facility will significantly reduce 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 Federal Emergency Management Agency’s regulatory floodplain through a FEMA flood 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.
“We are excited to take this important step in addressing the increased flash flood risk along Camp Creek and to remove over 100 homes from potential risk. Several areas along Camp Creek are at risk for flash flooding and construction of the flood mitigation facility and previous downstream channel stabilizations efforts allow us to make significant headway in our ongoing recovery efforts following the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012,” said Engineering Manager Mike Chaves, City engineering division.
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 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.
During high flow events, the flood mitigation facility will temporarily store a portion of the Camp Creek floodwaters 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 completion of the archaeological excavation, and continued study of artifacts that were recovered, construction of the flood mitigation facility can proceed as planned.
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.
Following an increased risk for flash flooding along Camp Creek and North and South Douglas creek watersheds from Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012, 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 with extensive community participation to thoughtfully plan short-term and long-term solutions to protect the Camp Creek corridor from flooding and erosion to improve public safety. For more information about the drainage improvement plan and complimentary projects visit www.ColoradoSprings.gov/CampCreek.