Apr 22, 2021

The Colorado Lottery recognizes the City of Thornton’s Big Dry Creek Pilot Project Floodplain Restoration with a Starburst Award.

A $1,745,000 project, Lottery funds were used through a $75,000 planning grant and $100,000 Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Habitat Restoration grant to the City of Thornton. This enabled the city to restore approximately 25 acres of Big Dry Creek Open Space, an important natural resource and ecosystem for east-west wildlife migration. Due to erosion and noxious weeds, Big Dry Creek’s floodplain had been severely compromised. GOCO funding was used to improve conditions along the creek and create overflow wetlands that will reduce flood hazards and protect water quality. These restoration efforts have also helped improve critical habitat for bald eagles, black‐tailed prairie dogs, peregrine falcons, red foxes, and great blue herons, among other species.

While the City of Thornton had already created ‘pearls’ of open spaces along the South Platte River and Niver Creek, Big Dry Creek was the last remaining open space 'pearl' needed to create a complete system of open space corridors in Thornton. Big Dry Creek provides outstanding opportunities for passive recreation and wildlife habitat and encompasses almost 300 acres of open space areas that have been preserved through acquisition by Thornton and Adams County.


More than $10.5 million in Lottery funds are represented in 11 winning projects distributed statewide through grants via Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), the Conservation Trust Fund (CTF), Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), and Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST).

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