At a Glance

Resiliency study helps municipality restore function and resilience along Colorado’s Cache la Poudre River.

Project Description

In 2004, as part of an effort to protect natural and cultural resources, the Larimer County Natural Resources Department purchased a 160-acre property now known as River Bluffs Open Space. Past channelization and road building had left this 0.75-mile reach of the Cache la Poudre River disconnected from its floodplain and remnant oxbow channel wetland. During high flows in 2013, when discharge exceeded 7,000 cfs, the river was unable to spread throughout the floodplain, causing damage to the river channel.

Biohabitats assisted Larimer County in securing funding and then, working with Anderson Consulting Engineers, helped conduct a study to explore the feasibility of restoring the channelized reach to a more natural condition and reconnecting it to its floodplain. The feasibility study included groundwater monitoring, evaluation of geomorphic characteristics, and assessment of hydraulic data. Biohabitats delineated wetlands and assessed vegetation to better understand the structure of the existing riparian community and potential improvement and also conducted a review of potential permitting requirements.

After collecting this baseline information, the project team outlined site constraints and restoration opportunities, which resulted in a final document that presented an analysis of potential restoration and resiliency improvements, including conceptual drawings and cost/benefit analysis. The entire project process included meetings and input from a Technical Advisory Committee.



Southern Rocky Mountain

Physiographic Province



South Platte River

Expertise Areas

Ecological Restoration


Larimer County Colorado


Larimer County, Colorado, United States

Project Team
  • Anderson Consulting Engineers