Swan River Restoration Project Blog

Updates on construction and project milestones.

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May 27

Construction Commencing on the Swan River Restoration Project

Posted on May 27, 2016 at 3:13 PM by Jason Lederer

We are excited to announce that Swan River Restoration Project construction kicks off next week! The Summit County Open Space and Trails Department, along with numerous project partners, are working together on a multi-phase project to restore a more than 2-mile-long stretch of the Swan River valley near Breckenridge approximately between Muggins Gulch and Parkville. 

Swan River Restoration Project Location

About half of this distance is on land jointly owned by Summit County and the Town of Breckenridge. Project planning started over a decade ago, and we are excited to see restoration construction commencing on the first mile of stream.

The Swan River restoration area is broken up into four reaches (A, B, C, and D). This first restoration phase will occur on Reach A, between Rock Island Road and approximately 500 feet downstream of the Tiger Road crossing at Muggins Gulch, and is estimated to take two years to complete.  Restoration design elements include:

  • Over a mile of new meandering stream channel, replacing the existing 2,140 feet of channel that looks and acts like a roadside ditch
  • A series of 22 pools, riffles, and glides to create a diversity of aquatic habitat for fish, insects, and a healthy self-sustaining ecosystem
  • Creation of a 65-foot-wide floodplain and over 16 acres of riparian and upland habitat
  • A realigned channel passing through a new Tiger Road crossing designed to pass peak flows
  • Trail and trailhead improvements that allow public access for fishing, recreation, and aesthetic enjoyment

In addition, over 63,000 cubic yards of excess dredge gravels are being removed from the site for beneficial reuse throughout Summit County. 

Swan River Restoration Reaches

Summit County is currently working with the design-build team of Ecological Resource Consultants/Tezak Heavy Equipment (ERC/Tezak) to construct this first restoration phase. Collaborating for over a decade, ERC (based out of Evergreen, Colorado) and Tezak (based out of Canyon City, Colorado), have completed over 40 stream restoration and fishery improvement projects spanning over 34 miles of constructed stream improvements throughout Colorado. For the last two years, ERC/Tezak has worked with the U.S. Forest Service and the Blue River Watershed group on a Tenmile Creek restoration project near Copper Mountain.

This blog will be updated regularly to provide information about activities currently occurring on the site, as well what to expect in the near future. Work is scheduled to commence as early as May 31, 2016. Mobilization and site preparation will occur first, followed by excavation, site grading, and restoration activities.  During the week of May 30, 2016, the design-build team will be primarily mobilizing machinery to the site. Work is scheduled to continue through November 2016, followed by a winter shut-down period, before recommencing in spring 2017. It is anticipated that restoration work on this phase will be completed by the end of 2017.

Additional information about Swan River Restoration Project is available at RestoreTheSwanRiver.com as well as on the Open Space and Trails Special Projects website. If you have additional questions about the restoration project, you can contact Summit County Open Space and Trails Director, Brian Lorch or Open Space and Trails Resource Specialist, Jason Lederer, or call 970.668.4060.