Sign In
South Platte River Stream Restoration and Habitat Enhancement
South Platte River Stream Restoration and Habitat Enhancement
​​​​​​​Led By

Matt Kondratieff​ and Eric Richer 

Study Areas

Charlie Meyers SWA Project, South Platte River (ongoing)

Badger Bas​in SWA Project, South Platte River (2011)

Taryall Project, Tarryall Creek (2005)

Dream Stream Project - Phase 4, South Platte River (2004)

Aurora Project, South Platte River (2003)

Hartsel Project, South Fork of South Platte River (2002)

Knight-Imler Project, South Fork of South Platte River (2002)

Dream Stream Project - Phase 3, South Platte River (2001)

Antero Project, South Fork of South Platte River (1999)

Dream Stream Project - Phase 2, South Platte River (1998)

Dream Stream Project - Phase 1, South Platte River (1993)

Buckley Ranch Project, South Platte River (1991)

Research Objectives

  • To rehabilitate and enhance fish habitat in the Upper South Platte River basin

  • To evaluate the effectiveness of stream restoration and habitat enhancement treatments

  • To utilize creel surveys to evaluate angler experience in restored areas​

Project Description

Much of the fish habitat in the South Platte River in South Park is degraded due to historic land-use practices, such as grazing, mining and willow removal. Stakeholders can restore these degraded habitats by restoring stream functions and enhancing habitat, which will, in turn, increase the number of trout in the stream and produce larger fish.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife helped initiate the Vocational Heavy Construction Technology (VHCT) program in an effort to restore fish habitat along the South Platte River. This Colorado Department of Corrections program trains student inmates in the operation of heavy equipment. This program helps inmates find employment in the construction industry once they have completed their sentences. The VHCT program has been a great success, improving the lives of the inmates and restoring critical fish habitat. Approximately 200 inmates have been rehabilitated through the program with a re-offense rate for program graduates of 12 percent, which is considerably lower than the 60 percent re-offense rate for the Colorado Penal system.

CPW identified South Park as an ideal location to implement the program because the agency owns or leases over 25 miles of public fishing waters in the Upper South Platte River basin, which is in close proximity to the Buena Vista Correctional Facility. Through this program, CPW has restored ten miles of public waters within the Upper Platte River basin. Inmates implemented more than 20 different habitat treatments in South Park. Treatments include the use of boulders, tree stumps, logs and riparian re-vegetation. In-stream construction is currently underway on the Charlie Meyers SWA, also known as the Dream Stream, and should be completed by fall 2016.  ​

Project Status

Ongoing​

Associated Publications

Kondratieff, M. C. 2015. Vocational Heavy Construction Technology Program: A Comprehensive Plan Including Program Needs and Future Directions​.