Bear Creek is a major tributary of the South Platte River that flows from its headwaters on Mount Evans about 42 miles until it meets the South Platte in Sheridan. Bear Creek offers a great recreational resource to neighborhoods throughout the Denver-metro area, with extensive parks, natural areas and a paved multi-use path. Unfortunately, Lower Bear Creek is considered “impaired” for recreational use due to E. coli contamination. It is also threatened by trash, oil and grease, and nutrient pollution.

A watershed plan for Lower Bear Creek was financially and technically supported by the Water Quality Control Division at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

See also:
Water |   Air   |  Land  |  Climate

LBC Watershed Plan Area Map

The Lower Bear Creek Watershed Plan

With the assistance of the National Park Service RTCA, Groundwork Denver facilitated a steering committee of stakeholders to guide the watershed planning effort from 2012 to 2014. Our work includes water quality and watershed data collection, stakeholder engagement through volunteerism, and community outreach and education.  The watershed plan will be available online upon approval by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

If you live, work or play near Lower Bear Creek, your participation is important!  Contact Rachel Hansgen, Program Manager at 303-455-5600 or rachel@groundworkcolorado.org for more information.

Lower Bear Creek “Urban Water Tale”

Lower Bear Creek Watershed Plan Partners

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

National Park Service, RTCA

Environmental Protection Agency

City of Lakewood

Denver Department of Environmental Health

Denver Parks and Recreation 

City of Sheridan

Metropolitan State University of Denver

Urban Drainage and Flood Control District

Trout Unlimited Cutthroat Chapter

Jefferson County 

River Watch

Jefferson County
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
National Park Service
Intern gathering field measurements in Lower Bear Creek.
Environmental Protection Agency
River Watch Colorado
Volunteers picking up trash along Lower Bear Creek.
Denver City and County Department of Environmental Health
Trout Unlimited Cutthroat Chapter
City of Lakewood
Metropolitan State University of Denver
City of Sheridan

Lower Bear Creek Water Quality Map

How to use this map:

Icons are located at sites of E. coli sampling along the Lower Bear Creek. A red icon indicates that the site is not safe for recreation, based on the EPA’s limit of 126 colony counts per 100 mL of water. A green icon indicates that the most recent sample tested below this level. Click on the icon to learn more about each site!