Floodplain - Lower Willow Creek Restoration Project

The Lower Willow Creek Restoration Project


Lower Willow Creek in 2011 (before work began) and in 2013 (after Phase 1).


The Lower Willow Creek Restoration Project is a collaborative project between the City of Creede, the Willow Creek Reclamation Committee, and Creede Resources Inc. to reclaim the lower Willow Creek floodplain from historic mining activities.  To achieve this, the two entities formed the Lower Willow Creek Restoration Company (LWCRCo) to jointly oversee the activities of the project and manage and administer the funding for the project.  In 2011, the LWCRCo entered into a Voluntary Cleanup Plan (VCUP) with the State of Colorado to provide regulatory oversight during cleanup/reclamation activities.  In 2012, the LWCRCo began Phase 1 of the project to construct a new creek channel that would reduce interaction with contaminated soils, improve sediment transport, improve energy dissipation, and improve aquatic, riparian and terrestrial habitat. 


The overarching goal for the Lower Willow Creek Restoration Project is to reclaim the Lower Willow Creek Floodplain by restoring the physical, chemical, biological and aesthetic qualities as an integral part of the Creede Community.  The LWCRCo will achieve this goal by careful planning and implementing a phased approach that will be funded and completed as opportunities arise.  The end use of this property will be to provide passive open space recreation opportunities for the visitors and residents of Creede alike.

Phase 1: Construct a new single threaded channel: Construct a new channel that reduces creek contact with mine waste and associated heavy metals to improve water quality as Willow Creek passes through the Lower Willow Creek Floodplain.

OBJECTIVE 1: Improve physical and chemical conditions of the lower Willow Creek Floodplain

OBJECTIVE 2: Improve ecological function of the site by increasing sinuosity, installing stabilization structures, and improving sediment transportation.

Phase 2: Implement Best Management Practices for Revegetation: Improve outcome for revegetation success on the Lower Willow Creek Floodplain by importing soil and planting/seeding appropriate species. 

OBJECTIVE: Improve biological and aesthetic conditions on the Lower Willow Creek Floodplain.

Phase 3: Create Open Space and Foster Passive Recreation Opportunities for the Creede Community:

OBJECTIVE: Promote the use of the Floodplain Property by the Creede Community



Since 1999, the WCRC has worked in cooperation with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, US Forest Service, Colorado Forest Service, and Colorado State University Cooperative Extension to evaluate revegetation options for riparian and floodplain areas.  These trials have incorporated various species of trees, shrubs, and grasses, as well as soil amendments.  Discussions of these trials and preliminary evaluations are provided in the following report:

2007 NRCS Lower Willow Creek Stream Restoration: Planning Study - Please Contact Us for a copy of this study

Final Report for Phase I for CDPHE Non Point Source Program


Final Report for Phase I Colorado Water Conservation Board Water Supply Reserve Account