Harvard Gulch is one of the three waterways being studied as part of the Denver Urban Waterways Restoration Study. The study sponsors include the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (UDFCD), and the City and County of Denver (CCD). The study area for Harvard Gulch stretches from Colorado Boulevard east to the South Platte River. The condition of Harvard Gulch varies between an open channel, concrete channel, and underground in pipes. The study will identify cost-effective plans to restore habitat and ecological function, reduce flood risks, and improve recreation.
The Denver Urban Waterways Restoration Study will develop an understanding of existing conditions, evaluate a broad range of options, and select a preferred plan based on benefits and costs.
The study began in early 2015. Completion of this phase is anticipated in early to mid 2017. This study is not a design process. The goal of the study is to identify a preferred alternative that would eliminate 100-year flooding along Harvard Gulch. The outcome of the study will become a final alternative — for example, a channel, pipe or other, which may vary throughout the study area. The results of the study will assist the city in obtaining funding for any future project. The study will continue into 2019. There are no guarantees that there will be funding available at the end of the study.
The UDFCD assisted the City and County of Denver by conducting a floodplain study for Harvard Gulch and Dry Gulch Tributary. A floodplain study is referred by floodplain administrative officials as a Flood Hazard Area Delineation study (FHAD). The result of a FHAD study will identify and update the flood risk potential and floodplain boundaries due to both changes that are caused by humans (such as construction for developments) and natural changes that occur over time within a drainage basin of a major waterway like Harvard Gulch. The Army Corps of Engineers is using the preliminary results of this study to help inform the Urban Waterways Restoration Feasibility Study’s team to formulate alternatives to reduce the flood risk, as well as identify opportunities for ecosystem restoration, habitat and recreation.
Public Meeting — August 2016
The materials from the most recent Integration Plan meeting have been updated to include a summary of the meeting discussion and revise example graphics to clarify draft elements.
Feedback Boards and sample ideas (PDF)
Revised to remove draft markings in certain areas; no impacts to individual parcels have been determined and will not be known until a project is funded and well into engineering design.
This document was presented at the Integration Plan Public Meeting for Harvard Gulch on August 31, 2016, and has been edited to incorporate comments during that meeting and to clarify draft elements of the graphic examples.
As part of a comprehensive understanding of the waterways, the City and County of Denver is conducting a study to identify neighborhood enhancement opportunities in and around Harvard Gulch. Neighborhood enhancement opportunities include trail connections, improved access areas, additional neighborhood connections to the Gulch, and recreation activity opportunities. Outcomes of the study will be incorporated into the preferred plan developed as part of the Denver Urban Waterways Restoration Study.
The city encourages all residents to be aware of flood risks and take precautions to protect their lives and property. Learn more at denvergov.org/flood to understand flood risks in your area and get information on what you need to do to stay safe.
Flood Insurance Information from official NFIP/FEMA website: www.floodsmart.gov
Until a new floodplain is adopted by FEMA, Preferred Risk Policies (PRP) are available in areas outside the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as currently shown on FEMA published Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). FEMA SFHAs are shown as Zone A, AE, AH, AO, etc… on the FIRM. Areas outside the SFHA are designated as Zone X. Below are links to information on Flood Insurance Rates:
City & County of Denver Floodplain Ordinance (see Chapter 4)
The study team has completed two rounds of public meetings for the Feasibility Study. In the first round of meetings, in Fall 2015, we gathered information about existing conditions at the waterways from local businesses, residents, and recreational users. During the second round, in Jan/Feb of 2016, the public had the opportunity to review and give feedback on the recommendations for each of the waterways.
Public Release of the Draft Feasibility Study is tentatively scheduled to be in 2018.
Check back for information about the next round of public meetings.