Skip Main Navigation
Skip to Content

Lake Arbor Restoration Project

Construction is ongoing. There is additional pedestrian and construction traffic in the area where there are trail closures. Please use caution and drive slowly near the construction zones around the lake. 

The City has ongoing wildlife protection efforts and continues to mitigate issues with the fish and odor around the lake. Many wildlife have been relocated to the center of the lake and many fish were moved to other locations before the project began. The City is working to remove as many of the fish as possible. Please find additional details below. Thank you for your patience during this work to improve the area. 

Project Overview

Lake Arbor is being restored. The primary goal is to improve public safety by stabilizing the banks. Through sediment removal west of the pedestrian bridges, unpleasant odors near the lake's western side will be reduced. The City has partnered with the Mile High Flood District (MHFD) to design and construct the repairs to this facility that flows into Little Dry Creek.

*Click the image to enlarge.

project site plan outlining the trail, pond dredging and storage areas for construction


Upcoming Impacts

  • Wildlife protection: The City and contracted partners have been taking extra care to protect fish, turtles and all other aquatic wildlife during the course of the project. This has included transplanting hundreds of fish and turtles into the center of the lake as we bring the water level down.
    • Waders and wood pallets were used to access these remote areas in the mud, and protect the wildlife while we move down the shoreline. The utmost caution continues in order to protect wildlife. The crews are very diligent and concerned about saving as much wildlife as possible.  
    • This work will be ongoing throughout the project.
  • Fish update: Due to cold snaps and fluctuating temperatures, the warming and melting of ice has kick-started fish metabolism earlier than usual, causing more to come to the surface for extra oxygen while the underwater processes catch up to create more dissolved oxygen. 
    • Prior to the project, between 2000-3000 fish were salvaged from Lake Arbor and relocated to other nearby lakes to minimize impacts to the population. 
    • The city is working to remove any additional fish that have died due to the changing temperatures. 
  • Odor update: Extra aeration and water treatment measures have been taken to mitigate the odor. 

Phase 1 

  • Uncovering the lake drain pipe to prepare for partial draining and dredging of the lake 
  • Crews will begin draining the lake by two and a half feet for future dredging
    • Draining is estimated to take 3 weeks

Phase 2: week of February 27

  • Construction around the lake shoreline. 
  • Beginning in the northwest corner of the park, construction will move to various segments of the trail.
  • Visit the contractor's website for additional updates, photos and videos of ongoing work and progress at

*Click the image to enlarge.

map of northwest section of the trail and pavilion closure at lake arbor


What to Expect

  • Lake water level will be dropped by about 2 feet to stabilize the shore and clean the shallow areas.
    • Edges of the lake will look different if you visit the park during the project.
  • Fencing along the work zones throughout this process. 
    • Temporary closures to segments of the path.
  • Additional construction noise during working hours (7am-5pm)
  • The odor may get worse as the edges are exposed.
    • Winter time construction may help mitigate this.
  • Refilling can only happen during the irrigation season in the spring/summer months. This may extend into the fall depending on water availability.

Project Timeline

Fall 2022: Repair outlet channel downstream of the lake (complete)

Winter 2022: Survey and re-locate fish and other aquatic life (complete) 

January 2023: Assess and repair lake outlet pipe for drainage effort (complete)

Early to Mid 2023:

  • Begin draining lake water level down approx. 2 feet (in progress)
  • Shoreline stabilization and western pond dredging (5-6 months)
  • Initial re-vegetation around the lake 

2024: Final re-vegetation around the lake.

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
    • 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 did the project take so long to begin?

  • The City is legally required to determine any existing water rights that may impact the project. This was a lengthy process that has concluded and allowed the project to move forward.

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. 


  • Use “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

  • Limit the amount of water entering street gutters and storm drains. 
  • Using a bucket and water to reduce the amount of water used. 
  • 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. 



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