​​Estes Valley ​Watershed Coalition

What are we Doing that's New?


R (Risk) = P (Probability) x C (Consequence)


We are taking a risk-based approach to planning and this is new in the U.S. The Dutch have 30 years under their "Make Room for the River" program. Post Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, VT & NY have started,
and now Colorado.


Master Planning for Resiliency


The master plan considers both hazard reduction and stream health to identify truly resilient solutions, rather than static treatments that only hardens the river,


Flood and Geomorphic Risk


Most of the damage caused by the September 2013 flooding occurred outside of our mapped 100-year floodplain areas. We were harmed by channel avulsions (new channel paths) and landslides. These are geomorphic hazards.


To make sound decisions for flood recovery and restoration, we must fully understand the geomorphic processes that drive stream behavior. Understanding river processes allow us to predict response to treatments and to work with our rivers not against them and for solutions that will stand the test of time.

The Master Plan will not


  • Develop detailed design or implementable construction documents for the specific recovery or restoration projects.

  • Make recommendations for flood damage repairs or secure funding for individual properties.
  • Allow small projects within the overall plan to be permitted or implemented in problematic piecemeal fashion.

The Master Plan will


  • Start the coalition on a successful path to maximize future funding opportunities for needed recovery and restoration projects.
  • Create a long-term implementable vision for the Fall River Corridor for recovery and restoration.
  • Create prioritized lists of scientifically defensible recovery and restoration projects that have been shaped by and have the support of the community.
  • Create a strategy to reduce the impact of future flooding on the community of Estes Park and its economy.
  • Develop strategies to restore the river’s ecological health and resiliency.
  • Recommend aquatic and terrestrial (riparian) wildlife habitat improvement and restoration—including fish passage improvements.
  • Recommend river channel stabilization, relocation, and/or reconfiguration.
  • Identify wetland and riparian areas to protect and restore.
  • Recommend recreation network expansions and improvements, including trail and/or maintenance access development.
  • Employ qualitative and quantitative risk assessment tools that distill extensively complicated factors into information the town can use to make informed long‐term and short‐term recovery and planning decisions.
  • Incorporate public input into the development of the Master Plan including volunteer engagement.
  • Guide future Fall River Corridor recovery and restoration projects.
  • Outline project prioritization and cost estimation.
  • Will coordinate current exigent project efforts into long‐term planning.

​Master Planning

The Stream Corridor Master Plans should guide the coalition towards prioritization and implementation of stream recovery and restoration projects that protect life and property from flood and erosion hazards. The ultimate result of master planning efforts and subsequent project implementation is increased resiliency in our Community, economy, and river systems.


The Master Plans were collaborative in nature, drawing on the expertise of engineers, fluvial geomorphologists, ecologists, fisheries biologists, and risk experts, and informed by input from impacted home and business owners and the community at large. These experts created a working idea for the community to build off of. 

Now we are using those ideas to create more realistic plans, gather financial support through grants and gain momentum to repair the damage caused by the 2013 floods and create a resilient economy, community, and rivers.