Skip to content

Lake George Dam Removal

The area near the entrance to Elevenmile Canyon will be undergoing a restoration over the next several months.  Between July 16 and December 31, 2023, the Lake George Dam will be removed to restore this section of the South Platte River.  

Photo courtesy of Cassime Joseph and KOAA

The Project, conducted in partnership between the Coalition for the Upper South Platte River and Colorado Springs Utilities, will enhance the South Platte River.  The overall objective is to “restore aquatic habitat and improve water quality.” This restoration will, in fact, impact approximately 45 miles of the South Platte River between Elevenmile and Cheesman reservoirs.

The Restoration Project

The removal of the dam and restoration of the channel will begin take place when the flows are lower, typically between August 1 and November 30.  The project will take place in stages. First, sediment behind the dam will be removed. The concrete structure will then be removed, broken apart, and hauled off.  

Improved Fish Habitat

Once the dam is removed, the stream will be restored to a more natural state to improve fish habitat. Rock vanes, trees, sedge mats, and willows will allow for a healthier system. In addition, the stream gradient will allow for easier fish passage and migration. Natural stream channel structures above and below the dam location will also support natural stream processes.

This proposed project is great news for not only that part of 11 mile canyon, but for the entire stretch. Restoration and habitat improvement greatly encourages resident fish to thrive and would also give migrating fish a chance to move freely throughout the canyon. The proposed access improvements would also create more desirable recreation points, ultimately making use of this otherwise ‘dead’ area.

Jon Easdon, Director of Services

Improved Access

The area will include several other enhancements. A new vault toilet will be installed. The parking lot will be improved with approximately 10 delineated parking spots and ADA accessibility. The trail from the parking lot to the stream will also be ADA accessible. 

More Info

If you would like to read more about the decision and specifics, please see the Decision Memo from the USFS.

We’ll keep you posted on the project’s progress here and on our Elevenmile Canyon Fishing Report.

Leave a Comment