The City of Fort Collins hired Ayres Associates to develop an overall vision for the Fossil Creek Basin and site design for the restoration of approximately 2,500 feet of Fossil Creek from the confluence with Mail Creek downstream to Lemay Avenue.
The project received top priority in a Colorado State University study commissioned by the City that looked at potential stream management and rehabilitation work on 10 streams in the City. The City’s overall Stream Rehabilitation and Enhancement Program has the following goals:
- Improve the environmental, social, and economic health of the watersheds in the City.
- Create sustainable aquatic, riparian, and terrestrial habitat within the City’s streams.
- Improve aquatic habitat connectivity throughout each basin.
- Improve water quality within the City’s urban streams.
- Integrate stream improvements into the existing City master plans for land use, natural areas, parks, and trails.
This reach of Fossil Creek has incised and developed an increasingly meandering path over the past 60 years, leading to bank erosion and an increase in sediment in the channel, which has degraded aquatic habitat. The solution involves realigning the most tortuous stretches into a less sinuous channel. Stabilization of steep banks will be accomplished through regrading to create wider riparian wetlands, some buried rock protection along the toe of slopes, and the creation of rock/cobble riffles. Where adjacent park or neighborhood infrastructure is too close to the steep banks to allow for regrading, the banks will be stabilized with vegetated mechanically stabilized earth lifts planted with willows.