5 Ditches Project

Phase 2: McDonald Ditch Implementation Project

Program Stats

Instream Infrastructure Improvement Program

Phase 3: Prairie Ditch Implementation Project

The Five Ditches Project has four main subprojects: the Centennial Ditch, the Rio Grande #2 Ditch, the Consolidated and Pace Ditches, and the San Luis Valley Canal. When the project is complete, three diversion dams will have been improved and four headgates will have been replaced. Streambanks are also being restored at each of the project sites. As of Spring 2018, the projects at the Centennial and Rio Grande #2 Ditches have both been completed. Visit the 5 Ditches Project page to learn more about this project.

February, 2015: Pouring concrete along the back wall of the new McDonald Ditch diversion dam.

Phase 1: Plaza Planning Project

Phase 3 of the Plaza Project addresses issues facing the aging and inefficient Prairie Ditch diversion and headgate. The objectives of Phase 3 are to: (1) Improve diversion efficiency and reduce maintenance by replacing the aging Prairie Ditch headgate, installing automated water gates, and replacing the Prairie Ditch diversion dam; (2) Enhance water quality by reducing erosion and sediment input; (3) Improve riparian condition by stabilizing up to 1,000 feet of streambanks in the project area; (4) Increase the capacity of the Rio Grande to transport sediment; (5) Improve aquatic and wildlife habitat; (6) Enhance local recreation by including fish and boat passage in the new diversion dam; (7) Promote public involvement in water improvement activities through public outreach and education. The diversion dam structure was completed in Fall/Winter 2015, and the headgate and trash rack were completed Spring 2016. 

In 2010, the RGHRP began working with the McDonald Ditch (McDD) Company to address concerns surrounding the aging and inefficient McDD diversion and headgates structures. The McDonald Ditch Implementation Project (Phase 2) includes the reclamation of a 2-acre wetland, stabilization of 2,000 feet of streambanks, and replacement of the McDD diversion dam and headgate with a new concrete diversion that allows for increased diversion efficiency and a headgate with automated gates. Construction on Phase 2 began December 2014 and the new concrete diversion dam and headgate were completed in Spring and Fall 2015. The new pipeline was completed in Spring 2016. The completed project resulted in improved diversion efficiency, reduced maintenance, and improved Rio Grande Compact administration.

Quick Facts

9 Ditch Companies

8 Diversion Dams

10 Headgates

$4.1 million

Phase 1 was administered by a partnership with the McDonald Ditch Company. The RGHRP worked with stakeholders to determine the primary issues in the area, identify remediation methods, and develop an implementation plan (The Plaza Plan) to improve the health and function of the Rio Grande in the Sevenmile Plaza area. The identified issues include streambank instability in the 2.8-mile project reach, a degraded wetland, and aging, hazardous, and inefficient diversion structures. The RGHRP raised $50,000 through the NRCS CPP, $200,000 through the NRCS CCPI program, and $295,000 from the Colorado Water Supply Reserve Account for Phase 2 of the Plaza Project, the first phase of implementation of the Plaza Plan.
In addition to its streambank stabilization and riparian restoration program, the RGHRP works with ditch companies to address concerns surrounding aging and inefficient diversion dams and headgate structures. The RGHRP has worked on two main projects; the Plaza Project, which was completed in the Spring of 2017, and the Five Ditches Project, which is currently underway.