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Environmental Health and Water Quality

Water quality and environmental health are critically important to Platte to Park Hill: Stormwater Systems. The stormwater detention area and 39th Avenue Greenway and Open Channel will provide opportunities for natural filtration and ultraviolet purification from sunlight, ultimately improving the quality of water entering the South Platte River.

Open stormwater drainage in the form of naturalized waterways like those being integrated throughout the Platte to Park Hill program are a nationally recognized engineering best practice. This type of green infrastructure provides opportunities to create recreational community spaces and naturally improve water quality. Additional information on approaches to stormwater management is available at the Center for Watershed Protection.

 

City Park Golf Course

Integrating stormwater detention in golf courses is a very common practice because of the many environmental, public safety and recreational opportunities it provides. In fact, City Park Golf Course already has a smaller level of natural stormwater detention integrated into it.

Outside of major storms, the integrated detention area within City Park Golf Course will remain mostly dry and fully compatible with golf operations. In addition to reflecting the course aesthetic, the planting and vegetation in the detention area will provide opportunities to:

  • Better control stormwater and minimize public safety risks
  • Improve water quality through natural filtration
  • Improve natural ecosystems, plant diversity and wildlife habitat
  • Protect the course from damage from major storms
  • Preserve existing healthy trees whenever possible
  • Plant new trees to ensure the character of the course well into the future

Throughout the redesign process, the City is placing a priority on avoiding impacts to large stands of healthy trees – especially those on the edge of the course. However, it is likely that some trees will need to be replaced. The redesign process will include working with arborists and City of Denver Forestry on strategies to minimize impacts based on a comprehensive inventory of course trees and their current condition.

For those trees that do need to be removed as part of the project, the City’s policy is to replace the level of tree canopy coverage, not number of trees. This means that, rather than replacing one large tree with one smaller one, one large tree is typically replaced by multiple smaller trees that create the same level of canopy coverage.


39th Avenue Greenway and Open Channel

Open drainage systems in the form of greenways and open channels naturally clean stormwater as it flows. Green infrastructure like the 39th Avenue greenway offers opportunities to:

  • Better control stormwater and improve public safety
  • Improve water quality
  • Increase plant diversity
  • Improve natural ecosystems
  • Create 12 acres of new recreational open space, including a bike/pedestrian trail and other community amenities

The planting and vegetation surrounding the open channel will provide natural filtration to improve water quality. Additionally, open channels help remove water borne contaminants by exposing them to sunlight and are generally safer than large underground pipes as they slow and control stormwater across wider channels and gentler banks.

green vegetation along Weir Gulch banks

Vegetation at Weir Gulch provides water filtration benefits

 

park features with green open space

Recreational and green space come together at Greenway Park

 

As part of a community-focused and benefits-driven process, the City is currently working with local residents to identify design guidelines for the greenway.