The Cherry Creek watershed is an important component of the MS4 permit requirements for several of the SPLASH entities. Permittees, including SEMSWA, Arapahoe County, Centennial, and Greenwood Village, and the special districts of ACWWA, ECCV and Inverness WSD have special provisions in their permit to implement program activities to assist in achieving the water quality standard for the Cherry Creek Reservoir.
The Cherry Creek Watershed covers an area of 285 square miles, with its headwaters starting in northern El Paso County Colorado and extending to the South Platte River. Historically, most of the watershed was grasslands, with areas of shrublands and forest. The watershed is now rangeland, agricultural, or developed, with many natural areas remaining. The area is generally rolling hills, and some rock outcroppings. Most of the area is covered with sediments derived from glaciation of the Front Range.
The majority of the basin is in Douglas County, one of the fastest growing counties in the country. Cherry Creek starts in a primarily agricultural area that also has significant protected areas including Douglas County Open Space Property and Castlewood Canyon State Park. Cherry Creek drains from south to north, with State Highway 83 paralleling the Creek to the east much of the way. Suburban residential development begins occurring around Castle Rock and Franktown about midway through the watershed. From Parker north, the watershed becomes increasingly urbanized; including extensive developed areas in Aurora and Arapahoe County, with the watershed area in Denver fully developed. While a large portion of the lower watershed is urbanized, there are still areas with rural or natural character including Cherry Creek State Park, and other open space areas. The State Park is also the site of Cherry Creek Reservoir, the largest man-made lake in the watershed. The Creek drains into the South Platte River in central Denver.
Cherry Creek Reservoir at Sunset
Cherry Creek Watershed Organizations
The Cherry Creek Stewardship Partners (www.cherry-creek.org) is an informal association of a broad range of stakeholders interested in promoting effective stewardship of the Cherry Creek watershed, bringing together stakeholders from the land use jurisdictions, the state and federal resource management agencies, conservation, recreation and historic preservation groups, and the business community.The Partnersemerged from the first Cherry Creek watershed forum, held in 1999. ThePartnershave organized and presented six well-attended annual conferences addressing issues such as open space, recreation, and stream and reservoir water quality in the Cherry Creek watershed, as well as opportunities for the future.The need for cross-jurisdictional coordination and communication on watershed issues in the Cherry Creek basin emerged as the number one priority at the October 2000 watershed conference—Shaping A Legacy for the Cherry Creek Watershed.The Partners meet this need with extensive representation by the local communities, as well as being the first active group that represents both the upper and lower portions of the watershed. The Partners provide regular information-sharing forums, while at the same time providing an opportunity for participants to consider ways to coordinate and participate in projects and activities that affect water resources and recreational components of the watershed. Primarily, ad hoc work groups, composed of staff from the land use jurisdictions, local, state and federal management agencies, and consulting firms, join interested citizens to carry out stewardship activities.
Presently, the Cherry Creek watershed and the Reservoir are managed by the Cherry Creek Basin Water Quality Authority (www.cherrycreekbasin.org) under a legislative mandate for water quality control, and as such, the regulatory water quality component is in place. The Control Regulation for the Cherry Creek Reservoir prescribes the BMPs that are to be used in the Cherry Creek watershed to reduce phosphorous loads to the streams and the Reservoir.
The Vision of the Cherry Creek Basin Water Quality Authority (the Authority) is to integrate watershed goals for community development, water supply, recreation, wildlife habitat and open space with the Authority’s water quality mission.” “The Authority’s mission is to ‘maintain beneficial uses in the Cherry Creek Reservoir by preserving its water quality’. The water quality goals support the overarching Cherry Creek Reservoir watershed vision that provides the foundation for the Watershed Plan 2003. Its goals include:
Meet the phosphorus goal for the reservoir of 40-µg/L of total phosphorus
Maintain and enhance beneficial uses of the reservoir.
Achieve the 15-µg/L chlorophyll standard in the reservoir.
Meet the evolving Cherry Creek TMAL for total phosphorus.
Reduce sediment loads from the watershed.
Maintain and enhance overall diversity of habitat in the watershed.
Promote good stewardship of water resources through incentives to public and private interests
Permittees: Southeast Metro Stormwater Authority (SEMSWA) including Centennial, Inverness WSD, and East Cherry Creek Valley WSD, Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority (ACWWA); Arapahoe County; Englewood; Littleton; Glendale; Greenwood Village; Cherry Hills Village; Columbine Valley; E-470 Authority; Goldsmith Metro District; Cherry Creek State Park and Colorado Department of Transportation.
SPLASH, 7437 S. Fairplay Street, Centennial, CO 80112