Bear Creek Dam and Reservoir (Bear Creek Lake) sits within Bear Creek Lake Park, a popular destination for Denver metro area residents for biking, camping, fishing, equestrian use, swimming and even archery. Bear Creek Lake sits at the confluence of Bear Creek and Turkey Creek and was completed in 1977 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The primary function of Bear Creek Lake is flood control. Following the 1965 floods that devastated the area, dams and reservoirs were planned to prevent future catastrophes. Bear Creek Lake can currently store more than 57,000 acre feet (AF) of water.
Much like the Chatfield Reservoir expansion currently underway, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) is looking to expand the storage of Bear Creek Lake in preparation for the doubling of the state’s population anticipated by 2050. Colorado’s Water Plan identified a water supply gap in the South Platte River Basin between 204,000 and 310,000 AF.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted a reconnaissance study in 2015 to determine how much additional storage could be added to Bear Creek Lake without compromising its flood control capacity. The study concluded 20,000 AF of storage may be available for reallocation. Though the CWCB is in the initial stages of the storage reallocation project, they’re pursuing committed partners to the project and environmental studies with the Corps of Engineers to investigate the reallocation.
For more information on the Bear Creek Lake Reallocation Project, contact the Colorado Water Conservation Board.