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Environmental degradation and costly land-use mistakes can be minimized along the Front Range Urban Corridor, Colorado, if geomorphic constraints on land development are considered before development begins. Here, a varied geomorphic setting of plains, valleys, and mountains and a genial but semiarid climate foster a sensitive ecologic balance. Urbanization centered on Denver is spreading across the Colorado Piedmont and into the bordering mountains, and the geotechnical consequences of development are as complex as the geomorphic setting. Impacts arise when land development disturbs certain fragile soils (such as loess, eolian sand, and expansive clay), when excavation unbalances metastable hillslopes, when the extraction of industrial commodities (gravel, clay, stone, coal) interacts with geomorphic processes, or when urban development alters the hydrologic regimen. To minimize adverse environmental impacts, land development should proceed cautiously in areas where geomorphic processes having undesirable results are active or are likely to be activated.

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