… Is good for the city
Life for this city started with the South Platte River, and yet for decades we turned our back to it. But that’s changing. The South Platte is now seen as an extraordinary opportunity for recreation and for reconnecting with nature. And following years of research and planning, The River Mile has embarked on a $100 million effort that will reinvigorate this section of the river. Restoring its depth, flow and habitat. Significantly reducing flood risk. And making the river a thriving place for all sorts of native species … including humans.
The fun andfriendly river
When we’ve finished the restoration, the South Platte will invite more people to play, to fish, to paddle, or simply to sit and take a deep breath of nature. Here’s how:
Let it flow
If our research has brought to light one main idea, it’s that to the greatest degree possible, you should let a river do what it wants to do. Rivers want to meander, creating a variety of depths and conditions. Places that run deeper and colder to provide habitat for fish. Other places that run faster and shallower to help aerate the water. Also, rivers don’t like dams, which cause sand to build up and increase the risk of flooding.
This is why renovation work at The River Mile will include dredging six to eight feet of sand, narrowing and deepening the river. It’s also why we’re taking the dam and whitewater area at Confluence Park and relocating and redesigning it, creating a whitewater recreation feature that lets the South Platte naturally flush away excess sand as it gives people more ways to enjoy the river.
The South Platte is being re-energized as a thriving habitat for trout, humans and all kinds of living things.
Meanwhile, on the riverbank …
Much of our work to rehabilitate the river isn’t actually in the river. We’re also cultivating shoreline plant communities to include a greater diversity of native and pollinator-friendly plants that can support a wider variety of animals. And enhanced wetland areas will help filter stormwater entering the river from surrounding neighborhoods.
With this holistic restoration plan, river and riverbank become a symbiotic ecosystem. Just like nature intended.