Save South Boulder


To reduce flood hazards and restore and protect the natural ecosystem of the South Boulder Creek floodplain and its Open Space values.

Who Are We?

An all-volunteer, citizen advocacy group including residents from the following neighborhoods:

  • Tantra
  • Martin Acres
  • Martin Park
  • Frasier Meadows
  • Hyview

  • Arapahoe Ridge
  • Park East
  • Majestic Heights
  • Keewaydin Meadows
  • Table Mesa
  • Greenbriar and others

Our Goals:

  • To protect the neighborhoods in the South Boulder Creek watershed from major flood events.
  • To protect and restore open space lands, wildlife habitat, and recreation values in the South Boulder Creek watershed.
  • To preserve the character and quality of life of neighborhoods in the South Boulder Creek watershed, which are potentially threatened not only by flooding but also by development of the Flatirons-CU South property.
  • To protect these neighborhoods and institutions from health and safety hazards posed by CU’s development, significantly increased traffic and traffic congestion.

Where is the open space we are talking about?

308 Acre Parcel

“CU South” is a 308 acre parcel located in South Boulder near Highway 36. From this map we can see that at least 168 acres have open space other designation right now. It is worth noting that even the low and medium density residential areas also have additional land-use designations as open space.

What We Know:

  • This is not a done deal!
  • Land use designation needs approval by all 4 bodies to be changed (City Council, Planning Board, Planning Commission, County Commissioners).
  • CU has been unsuccessful with all previous attempts to develop the land.
  • Citizen advocacy groups have been involved with each attempted development.

There Is History:

The history goes back to 1952 (print this out and have handy to refer to when CU took it over and how shady it was, the various attempts to develop it, and the various citizen advocacy groups who appeared to help voice concerns and prevent a land use designation change.

Denver Post 10/18/1996

1979 Pre-Mining

FEMA 100-yr


1988 Post-Mining

FEMA 100-yr


November 1997 letter from Gilbert F. White to CU Regent Bob Sievers

We need a title/year for this slide - does anyone know how to label it???

Riparian Corridor:

A riparian corridor1 is a unique plant community consisting of the vegetation growing near a river, stream, lake, lagoon or other natural body of water. It serves a variety of functions important to people and the environment as a whole by:

  • Preserving water quality by filtering sediment from runoff before it enters rivers and streams.
  • Protecting stream banks from erosion.
  • Providing a storage area for flood waters.
  • Providing food and habitat for fish and wildlife.
  • Preserving open space and aesthetic surroundings.

1. What is a Riparian Corridor? (2017). Retrieved from

Boulder Daily Camera August 11, 2000

Destroying the Wetlands
Activities of the University of Colorado
on the Flatiron Property - June 2001

Bulldozed Wetlands

Underground aggregate drains are being constructed to lower the water table and dry up existing wetlands.

Aggregate stockpiled for additional underground drains

Additional Wetland Areas
to be Drained


Boulder is the state’s number one community for flash flood risk.

The city has a long history of floodplain management planning, dating back to a plan designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead in the early 1900s that indicated the need to preserve the floodplains as natural open space.

CU’s South Campus is comprised of the depleted Flatiron Gravel Pits. Much of the property was in the 100-year floodplain of South Boulder Creek before 4,000,000 cubic yards of sand and gravel were removed from the site, further lowering the t
opography by 15 feet.

220 acres of CU South is currently designated for Open Space in the BVCP.

Boulder has done an excellent job of designing its Open Space lands in a way that offers flood protection and restores riparian environments.

Another major benefit of preserving floodplains is keeping development from flood-prone areas and minimizing losses from major floods.

CU has demonstrated that it does not abide by the above sound environmental design principles:

  • CU acquired a flood-prone depleted gravel pit at the foot of the 140 square mile South Boulder Creek drainage basin.
  • The university gutted an environmentally sound reclamation plan and contoured the property to accommodate maximum future development.
  • It added a 6,000-foot earthen levee to the reclamation plan to divert floodwaters.
  • CU bulldozed and drained emerging wetlands.

Boulder scientists see huge increase
in future extreme downpours

By Charlie Brennan Boulder Daily Camera Dec 05, 2016

A new study by scientists at Boulder's National Center for Atmospheric Research indicates that at the end of this century, the number of summer storms producing extreme downpours could increase by more than 400 percent across parts of the United States - including sections of the Southwest, the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Coast.

The study, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, also finds that the intensity of individual extreme rainfall events could increase by as much as 70 percent in some areas.

What Is The Project’s Current Status?


  • South Boulder Creek Flood Mitigation Plan was accepted in April 2015 by City Council.
  • This allows CU and the City to evaluate the land use designation and discuss annexation as part of the BVCP update.
  • The city is currently conducting a suitability analysis to inform land use changes.

Alternative D:

  • 3-stories high.

  • Conservatively estimated to cost $22 million.

  • Expected to take up to 5 years to complete.

  • Has been designed with the 100 year flood in mind.

  • A high-hazard dam: failure would lead to probable loss of life and property.

A Better Alternative:

  • City acquires the land or arranges for a swap.

  • Remove existing berm on the South and East sides of the property.

  • Use low-lying areas from gravel mining as retention ponds.

  • Construct a series of levees.

  • Can be designed with the 500 year flood in mind.

  • Safer, faster, more cost-efficient.

What Can I Do?

The time is now!

  • Email City Council, Planning Board, County Commission, and County Planning Commission members.
  • Attend city/county meetings and study sessions.
  • Submit letters to the editor to the Daily Camera, the Boulder Weekly and the Colorado Daily.
  • Talk to your neighbors!
  • Email to be added to our distribution list.
  • Follow us on Facebook:

Thank You!

Copy of Save SOBO Presentation wi gw.pptx - Google Slides