About the project
Freestone was contracted by Denver Water, Trout Unlimited and Devils Thumb Ranch to restore 1 mile of the Fraser River above Tabernash, CO. Project objectives were to create a 2-stage channel that would provide diverse fish habitats at both high and low flows and reduce the opportunity for stream temperature increase, and increase sediment transport. The project reach is subject to flow depletion through trans-basin flow management. Prior to design and construction, the channel displayed poor width to depth ratios, minimal habitat diversity and limited riparian vegetation. Freestone performed all baseline conditions evaluation, design, permitting, construction and post construction monitoring. Project Highlights included 1 mile of high/low flow habitat features including deepening of pools, enhancement of riffle structures and narrowing of channel through point par construction. Over 2000 willow stakes were planted along the newly constructed stream course as well as over 60 juvenile cottonwood trees which collectively will provide cover and maintain stream temperatures. Freestone also designed and installed footbridges to allow for recreational and angling access to protect the riparian corridor of the fully functioning stream course. Annual monitoring reflects a stable and improving fishery. Studies carries out by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife show an overall increase of 88% in the fish population throughout the project area since construction.
This project highlights Freestone’s ideals of restoring rivers from a human altered state back to their natural function. By utilizing the altered stream flows and recognizing the unique flow regime associated with this section of the Fraser River we were able to successfully bring this fishery back to life and help it become a sustainable recreation area.