Foothills Drainage Basin#
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The Foothills Basin is centrally located in Fort Collins. It covers about 3,750 acres generally between Taft Hill and Ziegler roads and Horsetooth and Drake roads. The basin is mostly developed with commercial development along College Avenue and mixed-use residential in the remainder of the basin. The basin drains from west to east through open channels or a storm sewer system to the Fossil Creek Reservoir Inlet Ditch (FCRID). Three irrigation canals intercept stormwater to transport it out of the basin, but runoff spills into the basin when their capacity is exceeded.
Drainage between Taft Hill Road and the Foothills Mall is characterized by street and storm sewer flow with some grass-lined channels and detention ponds. The main Foothills channel begins downstream of Stanford Road. This channel is generally well-defined with a low base flow. The City of Fort Collins constructed a regional channel east of Timberline Road to carry stormwater runoff from the entire Foothills Basin.
As with some of the other basins throughout Fort Collins, Foothills Basin was developed based on previous master plans and using stormwater design criteria. Because of this, portions of the basin can handle a 100-year storm.
While past improvements have helped reduce the floodplain in the basin, some localized problems still exist. The recommended Plan of Improvements includes enlarging ponds and extending pipes to mitigate some of the damage due to a 100-year storm. Once all the recommended improvements are in place, there is still the potential to damage an estimated 15 structures in a 100-year storm.
Basin Stormwater Master Planning#
The original master plan was completed in 1981. Fort Collins Utilities mapped a new floodplain for the basin as part of a comprehensive update of the City’s stormwater master plans in early 2003. The new floodplain map reflects the higher rainfall standard adopted by City Council in 1999. A comprehensive update to the basin Selected Plan of Improvements is currently underway in 2020.
Since the Foothills Basin was developed according to the original 1981 master plan and the Storm Drainage Design Criteria, many of the recommended stormwater improvements have been completed. Because of this, most of the basin can handle a 100-year storm event. However, some localized flooding problems exist:
- Warren Farms detention pond located at the northwest corner of Horsetooth Road and the Burlington Northern Railroad
- Nelson Farm detention pond located northwest of the corner of Lochwood Drive and Horsetooth Road
- Southmoor Village ponds located near Boltz Drive and Lemay Avenue
- Oxford Apartment pond located near Oxford Lane and Lemay Avenue
Foothills Capital Improvement Projects#
Stormwater capital improvement projects are identified in the Basin Master Plans and are intended to help alleviate flooding during a 100-year storm event. Capital Improvement Projects completed in the basin include:
- Foothills Channel
- Warren Farms Pond
- Manhattan and Blue Mesa Ponds
- Nelson Farm Pond
- Southmoor Pond
- North Tributary Pipeline