Great Ecology Welcomes Abbi!
March 7, 2024
Sudden Oak Death
March 21, 2024

Blog & News

March 14, 2024

International Day of Rivers: Go With The Flow

Author: Zoë Bross
Try to go with the flow today in celebration of the 27th anniversary of the International Day of Rivers! This celebration, created by the global non-profit International Rivers, “affirm[s] that rivers are vital and need our protection.” International Rivers is dedicated to uplifting the environmental health of rivers and nearby communities, with the goal of protecting the planet’s most vulnerable people and freshwater resources.
The Nile, Mississippi, Yangtze, Euphrates, Colorado, Amazon, Ganges, Rio Grande, Thames, Hudson, Seine are all big names in the world of rivers. Have you noticed, many major cities have a river running through it or nearby? Rivers give cities access to fresh water, irrigation capabilities, transportation, trading, sewage, and power—all of which are ecosystem services. In the United States, most people live within a mile of a river or stream, according to the NOAA.
Great Ecology has provided ecological services for many river and riparian corridor restoration projects in our 22+ year history. Many of our projects, especially those involving urban green spaces along riverfronts and concrete to natural channel stormwater conversions (aka daylighting), have additional positive impacts on river health and regional ecology. Habitat restoration that restores river tributaries and/or provides natural filtration of stormwater runoff play an important role in keeping rivers in dense urban areas healthy. Let's take a look at a few of our favorites!

Globeville Landing Park Stream Restoration & Outfall Ecological Design

Location: Denver, CO
Project Partners: Merrick & Company; The Architerra Group
Great Ecology served as the ecological consultant on the Merrick & Company team for the design and restoration of the Montclair Creek stormwater outfall as part of the Globeville Landing Park redesign project. The Creek lost most of its ecological function due to decades of impacts from urbanization and had mostly served as a concrete stormwater conveyance system. The Park is located in a dense, urban historically marginalized neighborhood and part of the Vasquez Boulevard and I-70 Superfund Site.
Great Ecology provided ecological and design expertise, as well as construction oversight, on the daylighting of the stormwater system. This included creation of the stream open channel to replace the concrete stormwater system, park integration, and floodplain reconnectivity that restored the ecological function of the Creek within Globeville Landing Park. The open channel features native vegetation and provides natural filtration for stormwater as it meanders through the stream before entering the South Platte River. The revegetation approach within the channel included an innovative strategy that modified soil chemistry to minimize the establishment of invasive weeds and encourage native species growth. The new channel design was based on the ecological functionality of native streams and rivers, and provides the local historically-marginalized community with a valuable natural resource.
The Park is now frequently used by residents of nearby communities as well as those who utilize the South Platte River trail for recreational and commuting purposes.

Cherry Creek Greenway

Location: Denver, CO
Project Partners: Muller Engineering; Stream LA; Pinyon Environmental
Great Ecology provided ecological guidance to the Muller Engineering team for the redesign and stabilization of a one-mile reach of Cherry Creek in Denver, CO. The reach from Iliff Avenue to Quebec Street had experienced significant vertical and horizontal movement as the result of increased urbanization and routinely high flows resulting from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintenance of Cherry Creek Dam upstream from the project site. The substrate in the reach is predominantly sand which further complicates stabilization options.
Great Ecology provided an ecological assessment of the corridor, including collecting soil samples, provided ecological design recommendations, develop seed and plant mixes, soil recommendations based on existing site conditions, and biostabilization and revegetation construction oversight.
The final Cherry Creek Greenway design reconnected the redesigned floodplain with the channel and added water quality stilling basins at stormwater outfalls to further reduce peak flood events and improve water quality by infiltration and plant uptake. It also added new trails and bridge crossings to increase recreational uses of the corridor.
If you steward or manage land that includes a river or stream, and you’d like to better understand the ecosystem services it provides, its health, and how to improve its health, reach out to us! We’d love to talk.