Sunshine Creek is an ephemeral stream and tributary of Boulder Creek that was severely impacted by a 100-year flood in September 2013. Birch Ecology worked with private landowners in the City of Boulder to restore and enhance this urbanized reach following the flood.
Birch Ecology assembled and managed a team of professionals to complete the restoration, including Steve Belz of Black Creek Hydrology who developed the geomorphic design for the stream channel and oversaw its construction. In addition, our ecologists delineated the wetlands and obtained wetland permits from the City of Boulder and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; developed and implemented the revegetation plan; provided construction oversight; and managed the process of obtaining the floodplain permit and retaining wall permits.
Today, the project reach is a mosaic of boulders inter-planted with a diverse native riparian and wetland plant community. Large, natural river boulders embedded in the banks provide the aesthetic of an eroded alluvial fan. Trees, shrubs, and grasses help to stabilize the banks, and wildflowers bring seasonal washes of yellow and purple blossoms that attract native pollinators. Runoff from surrounding pavement seeps between boulders and into planting pockets where roots and soils filter and take up the water. The layering of native plant life provides for wildlife habitat, and creates an opportunity for the residents and passerby to connect with the ecology of the region. In addition to the design and implementation of the restoration project, Birch Ecology continues to provide monitoring and stewardship of the restored stream corridor and is partnering with the adjacent landowners to expand the restoration.