At a Glance
By combining their energies, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, their consultant, eight tribal members, and twenty four ecology students improved stream habitat and connected as a community.
As part of their water quality and stream restoration efforts, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe selected Biohabitats to design and build stability and ecological habitat improvements for approximately 3,000 linear feet of Beaver Creek near Bayfield, Colorado. Biohabitats put together a design approach that not only dealt with the high, eroding banks but also created vital wetland habitat and increased the vegetated riparian buffer. The project included site assessment, final construction design of stream grading and planting, permitting and coordination with tribal regulations, management of workers from the tribe, construction, oversight of our grading contractor, and plant installation. Biohabitats worked closely with the Tribe to ensure timely permit review and to track stream water levels so they could take full advantage of the limited low-flow construction window between snowmelt and irrigation return runoff events. As a result, Biohabitats successfully completed construction on schedule.
Biohabitats’ design approach involved building low vegetated benches to stabilize the toes of severely eroding banks, provide high-flow energy dissipation and increased riparian buffer. It also included cutting off a series of highly eroded and overly-tight bends and creating an oxbow wetland in the existing channel. As part of the construction, Biohabitats hosted an ecology lab class from Fort Lewis College for one day and managed their volunteer planting efforts. Beaver Creek was Biohabitats’ fifth design-build project for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.