WINDY GULCH PROJECT
October 2005 – November 2006
Windy Gulch enters Willow Creek just upstream of the town of Creede. A flood control study funded by the Colorado Water Conservation Board found that a metal culvert in Windy Gulch, just upstream of Willow Creek, was undersized and could not convey a 100-year flood. Flooding at the culvert would cause waters to flow into historic downtown Creede and potentially cut off emergency access to the local fire station. A problem was also found in a levee near Windy Gulch. This levee directs Willow Creek into a flume that conveys the water through downtown Creede. The levee did not have the required freeboard allowance to remove downtown from FEMA floodplain maps.
The Willow Creek Reclamation Committee (WCRC) implemented the Windy Gulch Improvement Project to:
1. Replace the culvert with one that had capacity to convey a 100-year flood.
2. Ensure flume forebay levees had a full three-foot freeboard above 100-year flood levels.
A 3-foot rise by 10-foot wide precast concrete box culvert was installed in Windy Gulch. Headwalls and wingwalls were cast to contain a 100-year flood through the culvert. Several rock weirs were placed by hand upstream of the culvert to stabilize the newly cleared channel. Rock was also placed by hand just downstream of the culvert to control erosion. An excavator was used to reshape the downstream channel, and two large weirs were placed using 3ft diameter rocks. These weirs should control down-cutting of the exit channel and prevent undercutting of the culverts during large floods. A pilot channel was formed through the downstream channel and weirs to convey the typical low flows of Windy Gulch. Banks were reseeded and willow stakes were placed on outside bends.
The Windy Gulch Project was funded by the Colorado Healthy Rivers Fund (formally known as the Colorado Watershed Protection Fund).