Urbanization in the Shop Creek drainage basin had caused severe channel erosion, while downstream, sedimentation and phosphorous pollution had become significant problems in the Cherry Creek Reservoir. Most of the channel damage had occurred in visually and ecologically sensitive areas of the Cherry Creek State Recreation Area adjacent to the reservoir.
The solution developed by Wenk Associates and an engineering team is a radical departure from standard approaches to stream channel design. The project transformed a heavily eroded to a vital and inviting demonstration of self-sustaining and diverse upland and wetland ecology.
The project has received national and state engineering and landscape architectural design awards for its innovative response to a broad range of engineering and ecological issues.
Soil-cement drop structures were designed and the channel aligned to visually blend into the prairie landscape.
Extensive areas of wetlands were created between the drop structures to mitigate those lost in construction, and to create significant new areas of wildlife habitat.