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DENVER (KDVR) — Stakeholders for the South Platte River infrastructure improvement project met on Thursday, taking the next step in determining the future of a 6.5 mile stretch of the river.

More than $550 million in infrastructure investments will tackle flood risk management, river recreation and habitat restoration.

“With the South Platte River Project, we intend to make the largest ever investment – over $550 million – in the restoration and conservation of the South Platte River ecosystem,” Mayor Hancock said. “This is an infrastructure investment that will drive economic opportunity through equity and the creation of 7300 good-paying local jobs, support our neighborhoods through flood mitigation and creating new green space, and take climate action and repair environmental justice.”

A collaborative of nearly two dozen stakeholders from private, public, philanthropic and political organizations are involved in the project. The Greenway Foundation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the City and County of Denver are some of the stakeholders involved.

Flood risk management for the 450 acres project will reduce flood risk in vulnerable communities. Protected areas include a 3.5-mile section of Weir Gulch and Harvard Gulch. The improvements will reduce or eliminate flood insurance requirements for 360 properties, according to city officials. 

Improved habitat for birds along the South Platte River will improve the Central Flyway, an international flyway for migratory birds.

“The South Platte River is a critical watershed at the heart of the Denver metropolitan area. This historic investment will restore and protect the South Platte while also creating good-paying jobs and promoting environmental equity across communities bordering this vital waterway,” said Governor Jared Polis.