At a Glance

Ecological function is restored to a flood damaged river corridor.

Project Description

In 2013, the Big Thompson River and its North Fork experienced extreme flooding that devastated the community and caused two deaths along with extensive property and infrastructure damage. The flooding also severely degraded the river corridor’s ecological, scenic, and recreational values.

To help develop resilient river restoration solutions, Biohabitats provided ecological restoration planning services for the Big Thompson Watershed Coalition’s Priority Reach Restoration Planning project. As a subconsultant to Stantec, Biohabitats assisted with data review and field assessments, stakeholder and public engagement, design coordination and technical guidance, and 30% design development for three reaches.

Biohabitats also helped conduct ecological surveys to determine potential natural vegetation types and identify geomorphically appropriate vegetation types. Biohabitats reviewed baseline ecological mapping collected during field surveys to collaborate on restoration targets and trajectories. After contributing to the development of preliminary conceptual design plans, Biohabitats provided input on proposed plan form alignment, representative cross sections, channel profile, and other design elements.

Rooted in understanding the river and its formative progressions through natural stream evolutionary processes and anthropogenic activities within the watershed, the restoration design was crafted to work with natural processes of the stream and incorporate local, native materials wherever possible.



Southern Rocky Mountain

Physiographic Province

Southern Rockies


Big Thompson

Expertise Areas

Ecological Restoration, Water


Big Thompson Watershed Coalition


Larimer County, Colorado, United States

Project Team
  • Stantec