Ayres provided engineering services to restore Lykins Gulch from its current flow path in irrigation ditches to a dedicated channel outfalling at St. Vrain Creek. Years of agricultural activity had removed the natural drainage connecting Lykins Gulch to St. Vrain Creek. About 150 acres at the lower end of the watershed were in the floodplain, posing what seemed to be insurmountable challenges to restore the natural drainageway alignment, reconnect the riparian corridor, and manage flood flows.
The project involved evaluating alternative channel configurations and lake routing methods, designing irrigation ditch crossings, providing a fish barrier between Lykins Gulch and St. Vrain Creek, relocating an existing road, and preparing final design construction drawings for the new drainageway channel and creek outfall. Ayres designed a 1-mile-long natural channel to discharge into St. Vrain Creek. The meandering channel was built through a farm field and a private lake. A multi-use greenway path was built along the channel, providing a critical link to the St. Vrain Greenway trail system. The coordination of the project included 25 separate agreements.
The American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado awarded the project its 2013 Engineering Excellence Honor Award. The Colorado Chapter of the American Public Works Association gave the project a 2012 Project Award in the Drainage and Flood Control Category, and the Colorado Association of Stormwater and Floodplain Managers gave it a 2012 Honor Award for Outstanding Achievement.