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Lake Arbor Restoration Project

What's Happening Now 

Updated 9/26/22 - Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Colorado Parks & Wildlife may be present in a boat on Lake Arbor assessing the fish population in preparation for the project. Fish may need to be transferred to another lake during the project.

Project Overview

The City's engineering consultant, Murraysmith, is finalizing design plans to restore Lake Arbor. The City has partnered with the Mile High Flood District (MHFD) to design and construct the repairs to this storm drainage facility that flows into Little Dry Creek. The project's primary goal is to improve public safety by stabilizing the banks. Also, through sediment removal west of the pedestrian bridges, unpleasant odors that park users experience near the lake's western side will be reduced.

Project Timeline


  • Planning & design consultation
  • Corps of Engineers regulatory determination & pre-existing water rights
  • Obtaining necessary permits

Fall 2022

  • Repair outlet channel and pipe south of the lake for drainage effort.
  • Colorado Parks & Wildlife to assist in removing fish from the lake in anticipation of water level being lowered.

Late 2022-Early 2023 *Tentative

  • Shoreline stabilization and western pond dredging. 

Early-Mid 2023 *Tentative

  • Construction complete. 
  • Begin refilling lake.


  • Re-vegetation around the lake.

What to Expect

  • The lake water level will be dropped by about 2 feet to provide the space to stabilize the shore and clean the shallow areas to mitigate the odor.
    • Please be aware that the edges of the lake will look relatively different if you visit the park during the project.
  • The odor may get worse as the edges are exposed.
    • Winter time construction may help mitigate this.
  • There will be fencing along the work zones throughout this process. 
    • Expect temporary closures to segments of the path.
  • Refilling can only happen during the irrigation season in the spring/summer months. This may extend into the fall depending on water availability.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this project necessary?

  • The main goals of the Lake Arbor Shore Stabilization Project are to 1) repair the eroded shorelines to improve public safety near the trails and 2) remove large sediment deposits within the western pond. 
  • In addition, algae and unpleasant odors have been a consistent problem around the lake, especially during the hot, summer months. In order to mitigate these issues, the project will install features to improve water quality. These include: 
    • A stable rock and vegetated shoreline to reduce erosion along the lake’s edge
    • Wetland plants and grasses around the lake perimeter
    • Additional trees to provide shade and cooler temperatures over the water surface 
    • More aerators that help elevate oxygen levels to break down algae in the lake

What causes odor issues at the lake? 

  • The odor has a variety of possible causes including contaminants from stormwater run-off in the surrounding neighborhoods, goose and other animal feces, and the shallow nature of the water which allows algae to grow more easily. 

Why was the project delayed for so long?

  • The City is legally required to determine any existing water rights that may impact the project. This was a lengthy process that has concluded.
  • Currently, construction permits are under review by the Colorado State Dam Engineer and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Why isn’t dredging the main goal of the project anymore?

  • Dredging is a very disruptive and costly process. This would have required a full drain and refill of the lake extending the length and cost of the project with no guarantee that dredging would solve the odor problem. 
  • The City could not guarantee the ability to refill the lake completely after draining. This could result in the lake remaining dry for a long period of time.
  • Shoreline stabilization can be completed without dredging and is a higher priority due to the safety considerations near the trails. 
  • The process being used will effectively stabilize the shores and help return Lake Arbor to the original state in which it was created.
  • Further dredging of the lake will still be considered in a future phase after monitoring the shoreline improvements. This would be completed in a manner that is less disruptive and would not require draining the lake.

Will the fish and other creatures in the lake being impacted by construction?

  • The City is working with Colorado State Parks and Wildlife to assess the aquatic species in the lake and assist with salvage and relocating so they are not impacted by construction activities.

What can residents do to help maintain the lake quality and reduce odor issues?


  • Use natural, slow-release nitrogen or low phosphorus fertilizers to help keep drainage ways clean.
  • If you need to use fertilizers or pesticides, follow the instructions on the label. 
  • Do not apply fertilizers or pesticides before it rains. This will not allow the fertilizers or pesticides to fully penetrate through the soil. 

Clean up pet waste

  • Ensure that you always pick up after your pet and dispose of waste appropriately. 


  • Utilize certain “barrier” and drought-tolerant plants on your property that can help retain run-off water, improve nutrient uptake, and reduce the amount of contaminants going downstream to the lake. Shrubs and trees that perform well in the semi-arid state of Colorado include:
    • Western or northern catalpa
    • Gambel oak
    • Silver fountain butterfly bush
    • Arnold red honeysuckle
    • Yellow flowering or golden currant

Car Washing

  • Be mindful when washing your vehicle in paved areas. Limit the amount of water entering street gutters and storm drains. 
  • Using a bucket and water to reduce the amount of water used or visiting a local car wash can help mitigate this issue. 
  • Consider using a local car wash facility, as they are often required to have systems to better handle runoff and, in some cases, recycle and reuse water. 

Are there opportunities for involvement in the project?

  • Please check back, toward the end of the project we hope to coordinate a volunteer effort for neighbors to help replant the vegetation around the lake.


For questions about the Lake Arbor project, please contact the City through Ask Arvada or call the Engineering Division, 720-898-7640.