THK Associates, Inc. has been involved with the successful design and installation of a fish passage structure located in the City of Fountain, Colorado on a Colorado Springs Utility diversion structure. The existing 8' high diversion structure was retro-fitted to allow the migration of high plains fish species throughout Fountain Creek, with specific consideration given to the threatened Arkansas Darter and a species of concern, the Flathead Chub. The two species were analyzed in laboratory swimming performance testing at Colorado State University for their capabilities in navigating obstacles for stream migration. Capture and tagging was also completed in an effort to monitor the movement of the species in Fountain Creek as it exists presently. Future monitoring will continue to gauge the use of the passage by the two species. The THK team and Colorado Springs Utilities used metrics from the swimming performance testing to develop this unique fish ladder and created a structure that will allow the species to successfully navigate the diversion and restore historical migration patterns.
The fish passage structure has been installed and is a great success. Before the structure was installed, this dam created a barrier to the fish. The great blue herons which migrate to Colorado every year had an easy meal before the fish passage was installed. Now, the Arkansas Darter and Flathead Chub have free access to Fountain Creek and are no longer a free meal!