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Idylwilde Dam Removal Complete

Contact(s): Reghan Cloudman


FORT COLLINS, Colo.– Idylwilde Dam, located in the Big Thompson Canyon off State Highway 34 on the Roosevelt National Forest, was damaged by the September 2013 flood. The U.S. Forest Service has worked closely with the City of Loveland on the removal of this dam.

Contract crews have removed the dam infrastructure and reconstructed the stream channel and floodplain. The stream channel was placed near where it likely historically had been in relationship to the valley. Approximately one-quarter of a million cubic yards of material trapped by the dam was removed. This material was used by both the Colorado Department of Transportation and Larimer County as fill to repair several flood damaged roads, including Highway 34.

This was a complex project due to the challenges of working with multiple agencies on an accelerated timeline during the aftermath of the flood, especially with winter conditions.

“The cooperation between the City and my staff has been outstanding, along with the work of the contractors,” Canyon Lakes District Ranger Kevin Atchley said. “Everyone has understood the importance of the work getting done quickly while also getting it done well.”

Not everything is completed. This fall during lower water levels revegatation of the river banks and floodplain will take place and hydrologists and biologists will determine if any additional stream work is needed to improve fish habitat.

Before the 2013 flood, the Forest Service had been working with the City of Loveland and the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) regarding the Idylwilde Dam. The City was considering a number of options regarding the dam, including continuing with the relicensing or surrendering the license (decommissioning).  The Forest Service will continue its work with the City and FERC to comply with all necessary laws and work through the surrender of license process.

Idylwilde was also popular for recreation in the canyon. One objective of this project is to make sure the public has an enhanced fishing experience with quality fish habitat. The big horn sheep viewing area also remains in the parking area.

The Idylwilde Dam removal is just one part of the flood recovery work happening on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District. For additional information about flood recovery on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland, check the web at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/floodrecovery.

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/news-events/?cid=stelprd3805718