Mountain Loop Recreation Area and Shoreline Stabilization

Arapahoe County, Colorado

The Mountain and Lake Loop shoreline stabilization project is part of the Cherry Creek Basin Water Quality Authority’s (CCBWQA) effort to reduce phosphorus pollution in the Cherry Creek Reservoir in Cherry Creek State Park near Denver. The specific objective in this project was to reduce the soil and bank erosion along the reservoir’s perimeter which causes soil to be washed into the reservoir, carrying with it high levels of phosphorus and degrading water quality. The 2300 feet of shoreline at the State Park’s Mountain and Lake Loop recreation areas were experiencing severe erosion, large cut-banks, and degradation of the shoreline due to impacts from heavy recreational use, wave action, ice push, and runoff from parking areas and roads. The project team’s primary stabilization approach was to design improvements and shoreline stabilization measures that harnessed natural processes to stabilize and protect existing shoreline while also enhancing the visitor experience. The design solution centered on the creation of a strategically located rock jetty which, given the direction of the prevailing wind and wave action, induced sedimentation along the eroded stretches of shoreline, building up the previously eroding area and protecting them from erosion and ice-push. The proposed solution, implemented in a subsequent project phase, functioned as planned, and reduced erosion, developed better beach areas, reduced operational and maintenance requirements, and greatly improved the ecological and recreational value of the shoreline.

A Stream principal was the overall project manager, lead designer and landscape architect while with Wenk Associates.