Shop Creek Restoration
Metro Denver, CO
National award-winning creek restoration project
Urbanization within the Shop Creek drainage basin caused severe channel erosion, creating downstream sedimentation and phosphorous pollution problems in the Cherry Creek Reservoir, a major recreation area in Aurora, Colorado. Shop Creek became a lifeless canyon that cut through the dry plain and provided no ecological, recreational, or visual benefits.
The solution developed by the Wenk Associates and the engineering team was a radical departure from standard approaches to stream channel design. The project employs an unusually redundant system that treats the runoff in both a pond and a wetland system, cutting the phosphorous runoff from the creek in half, and transforming a heavily eroded creek bed into 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. The project has been published widely, as a cover article for Landscape Architecture Magazine in 1991, and in numerous books and articles on landscape design, ecologically-based planning and design, and sustainable materials.
“Shop Creek was one of our earliest (perhaps our first) water quality improvement project and has been very successful over the past two decades.”
Ken MacKenzie, Project Manager
Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (2015)