South Platte River and Tributaries Program

An aerial of the South Platte River adjacent to Sun Valley Homes.

The South Platte River and Tributaries Project (Urban Waterways) will restore a 6.5-mile portion of the South Platte River between 6th and 58th Avenues and reduce flood risks along the Weir Gulch and East Harvard Gulch tributaries. The project will restore and reconnect important river habitats and provide flood protection for homes and structures near the waterways.

Project Goals

  • Ecosystem restoration along the South Platte River (SPR)
    • Restore approximately 160 acres of critical riparian corridor and wetland habitat
    • Restore nearly 100 acres of aquatic habitat
  • Flood risk mitigation (FRM) along the SPR:
    • Remove the floodplain designation for approximately 100 structures
  • FRM Plan along Weir Gulch:
    • Implement channel and culvert widening
    • Improvements on adjacent properties
    • Remove the floodplain designation for more than 300 structures
  • FRM Plan along Harvard Gulch:
    • Improvements on adjacent properties
    • Remove the floodplain designation for more than 150 structures

The City and County of Denver, along with our partners at the Army Corps of Engineers, Mile High Flood District, and the Greenway Foundation are developing implementation plans for this work.

map of central Denver highlighting Weir Gulch to the west, Harvard Gulch to the south, and the South Platte River north to the city boundary

Project Background

A Feasibility Study began in May 2014 with the final Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) released in April 2019. Read the Report

On July 29, 2019, Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Commanding Generals and 54th U.S. Army Chief of Engineers signed the recommendation plan (called the Chief's Report) to move the project forward and allow it to be eligible for Congressional authorization and appropriation.

The study is sponsored by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Mile High Flood District (MHFD), City and County of Denver (CCD) and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed three public meetings in summer 2018 to present and receive comment on their recommendations for the South Platte River, Harvard Gulch and Weir Gulch. The public comment period was open through August 28, 2018.

South Platte River Partners

Mayor Michael B. Hancock joined The Greenway Foundation and nearly two dozen other stakeholders on December 3, 2021 in committing to reclaim the South Platte River through major infrastructure investments. The Mayor announced the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to unite multiple stakeholders, the first step in making this historic investment in one of the most vital waterways in our state. Watch the press conference: