I do a lot of work for MDT here in Montana and following the 2011 floods up here we have had a lot of reconstruction projects, mostly bridge replacements (no entire channel realignments or road rebuilds) but in my opinion a great avenue to pursue is the USCOE permitting process. The temporary disturbances mentioned to shore up and rebuild roadways will need to be addressed, at least we usually needed to here.
Several things to think about is that MDT had huge plans to restore large stretches of river/streams associated with bridge replacements, their rationale was to gain stream mitigation credits with USCOE for use on future projects. Ultimately their budgets were stretched so thin with the number of projects that in almost every case, they abandoned the restoration plans and simply replaced the bridge and did nothing to the stream (other than in the immediate vicinity of the bridges). This includes leaving debris in the stream if it couldn't be reached with a machine from the project site. If you can get CDOT to think stream mitigation credits they may be more interested in spending money outside of the right-of-way, but be warned that they will undoubtedly plan big and scale back as budgets are realized, it's the nature of the beast.
Secondly, MDT has a lot of engineers, they design many of their projects in-house and typically contract out large or problematic projects that will tax their own resources too much, but ultimately their engineers review and approve nearly every design aspect we submit. I am certain the CDOT operates similarly and has an army of engineers on staff.
Caspermike was searching for the term hydraulics, (Hydraulics - encyclopedia article about Hydraulics.
). Hydraulic engineer's perfom much of the design work to engineer stable stream streches through impacted areas (bridges, roadside bank armoring, etc.) Im sure CDOT has hydraulic engineers that work with rest of the design team to build structures and roadways that will withstand "normal" flood events (100 year, etc.) not the stuff you guys saw this year.
I think it's great to get involved in the design process and it will make a difference in the end. All of our projects here include public meetings and comment sessions where interested parties can voice their opinions to project management and the design team. Many comments are ridiculous and are probably simply ignored, but others when well thought out and articulated often get consideration. But I do think it's important to have realistic expectations, this rebuild process will be lengthy and expensive and CDOT's primary responsibility is to build a good, stable road. The environmental concernes, while important and mandatory thanks to the clean water act, are secondary. You will need to think of creative ways to get channel alterations/restoration incorporated into design in my opinion, especially in areas not directly affected by road reconstruction.
One last thing to think about
: Coarse woody debris (the scourge of boaters) is incredibly important to the biologic and geomorphic health of mountain streams, advocating the removal of such will quickly get you on the bad side of the project biologist, so think of creative ways to keep wood in the stream while keeping it safe to boat.