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Resilient St. Vrain Project Wins Sustainability Award
The first two completed reaches of the City of Longmont’s Resilient St. Vrain project have been selected as the 2018 winner of the “Sustainability” award for a large community given out by the Colorado chapter of the American Public Works Association (CO APWA). The award will be presented Oct. 29 at the Colorado chapter’s annual conference.
CO APWA described the sustainability award as recognizing “efficient delivery of infrastructure in an environmentally and socially responsible way that ensures the best choice in the long term.” Award criteria included innovation, achievement, transferability and cooperation.
Resilient St. Vrain is Longmont's extensive, multi-year project to fully restore the St. Vrain Greenway and improve the St. Vrain Creek channel to protect people, property and infrastructure from future flooding.
Early in the design process, the project was evaluated using the City of Longmont’s Sustainability Evaluation System (SES), a tool that provides a structured way to address social, environmental, and economic considerations in order to help make more informed and transparent decisions about plans, projects or programs. Evaluating projects using the SES is promoted in the City’s Sustainability Plan.
As a result of that evaluation, nine rock drop structures over the length of City Reach 1, from Main Street to east of Martin Street, replaced a previous irrigation ditch diversion that was a barrier. These drop structures provide grade control and water diversion, add fish passage that had been lacking, and provide in-channel recreational opportunities for visitors with inner tubes or small boats. Construction of these in-channel boating facilities also helps Longmont complete the formal water court process related to the Recreational In-Channel Diversion (RICD) obtained in 2004.
Additional Natural Channel Design elements—such as the re-sourcing of removed trees as rootwads to create additional fish habitat—were incorporated into the engineering process as well as a result of the SES.
“Completing Sandstone Ranch Reach and City Reach 1 and reopening the St. Vrain Greenway in these areas has been a successful start to the Resilient St. Vrain project,” said Dale Rademacher, General Manager of Longmont’s Public Works & Natural Resources department. “This work illustrates the ability of the City of Longmont to turn the tragedy of the 2013 flood into success, while keeping the environment and wildlife as important project priorities as well.”
Other members of the award-winning project team include engineering and design firms Jacobs (formerly CH2M), MIG, Confluent Design, Recreational Engineering Planning and Biohabitats, along with contractors L&M Enterprises (Sandstone) and Zak Dirt (City Reach 1).
The entire Resilient St. Vrain Project is anticipated to take approximately 10 years to complete, at a cost of $120 million to $140 million. Funding for the project comes from a variety of federal, state and local funding sources, including $20 million in voter-approved stormwater drainage bonds. Exploring partnerships with groups such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offer additional innovative funding possibilities. Longmont continues to seek funding sources to complete approximately $60 million of project costs upstream of Sunset Street.
For more information, visit LongmontColorado.gov/ResilientStVrain or call 303-651-8416.