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Camp Creek work in Garden: Strategic 'hole in the ground'

As hikers and a biker pass by on the Foothills Trail next to 30th Street, heavy equipment from the City Street Division clear dirt left over from Camp Creek flooding last September, in preparation for a 1-acre sediment basin that will be built there.
Westside Pioneer photo
       Heavy-equipment vehicles from the City Street Division have started removing dirt left behind from last September's flooding in preparation for a new sediment basin that will be built for Camp Creek in the Garden of the Gods.
       Visible from 30th Street, the work is taking place at the north end of the city park.
       According to Tim Mitros, the city's stormwater manager, the basin will be about one acre in size. The creek will flow into the roughly 10-foot-deep basin down a roughly 45-degree slope, set with large rocks to avert erosion. The idea is not to detain water in a flood, but to slow it enough that much of the dirt it's carrying can settle out.
       “It will be more or less a hole in the ground,” Mitros said. “But it will be a planned place for the dirt to go. The last time [September], it went all over the Garden of the Gods.”
       Another part of the project will be to construct a ramp from the road down into the basin so that city equipment can go in as needed to load up trucks with sediment and haul it away, Mitros said.

An aerial photo taken by the Civil Air Patrol shows the sprawl of sediment at the north end of the Garden of the Gods Park after last September's flooding. Note how the Foothills Trail abruptly ends.
Courtesy of Tim Mitros
       The Navigators, the nonprofit entity that owns the Glen Eyrie property just north of the Garden, is letting the city use one of its roads for access to the site.
       The plan is to keep the basin operating for 10 years, or until the burn area from the 2013 Waldo Canyon Fire grows back. “Eventually, Camp Creek upstream will get revegetated and we won't have this problem,” he explained. “The need will go away.”
       The sediment removal is expected to take about two weeks. After that, the city plans to contract with the Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP), a Lake George-located watershed-restoration nonprofit, to build the basin, with a hoped-for completion before June.
       The project is separate from the continuing city/consultant study of future upgrades to the Camp Creek drainage that recently narrowed its alternatives to three. See story. The effectiveness of the sediment basin will not be affected by that process, Mitros said.
       The city has estimated that last year's floods dropped 1,500 cubic yards of sediment (about 150 truckloads worth). Ten truckloads had to be removed last fall to reopen the dirt-covered Foothills Trail that parallels the creek and 30th Street.
       The current sediment is being hauled to the Flying W Ranch property. The former Western-theme amusement park, church and eating establishment burned in the Waldo fire. Its owners plan to use the dirt in building up an area for a parking lot as part of a future ranch rebuilding effort, Mitros said. Otherwise, the city would have to truck the dirt to the city's east side and store it, which would be more expensive and less helpful, he elaborated.
       The overall project cost has been set at $350,000. According to a city press release, it is one of four emergency repair projects that received outside funding after the September 2013 floods. The breakdown is 75 percent from the National Resource Conservation Service's Emergency Watershed Protection program, 12.5 percent from the Colorado State Office of Emergency Management and 12.5 percent in city matching funds.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 3/4/14- Projects: Flood Control)

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