Not a Watershed, just a shed.

Think You Know What a Watershed Is?

What is a Watershed?
Image Credit: Delaware County Conservation District

We’ve all heard the term “watershed”.  Think you know what a watershed is? Some people think it’s the building we keep the garden hoses and watering cans in. Others believe it’s the shed out back housing the pool supplies. Perhaps it’s just a safe place to store extra water bottles in case of an emergency. While these may all be good guesses they miss the mark by miles. Here’s a hint: We all live in one and we all depend on their health to provide us clean water.
So, what is a watershed?   A watershed, sometimes referred to as a drainage basin, is an area of land where all of the water that is under it, or drains off of it collects into one location such as a stream, river, lake or wetland.

Why is Watershed Health Important?

Watersheds supply drinking water, recreation and habitt for everyone

These water bodies, and the forests and wetlands that house them, supply our drinking water. They  supply water for agriculture and manufacturing. They provide habitat to countless plants and animals.  Last but not least, watersheds offer numerous recreational opportunities. Do you like to fish, raft, hike, or just get outside and enjoy our beautiful state? We know you do. That’s why Peaks to People Water Fund is working to protect our watersheds and secure clean water for Northern Colorado communities.

How is Peaks to People Protecting our Watersheds?

Water Fund Mechanism

In order for watersheds to function properly the land the water drains from must be healthy.  Overcrowded forests and heavy fuel loads put our watersheds at risk of massive wildfires.  The High Park Fire of 2012 proved how vulnerable we are to wildfire, burning nearly 90,000 acres in Northern Colorado and negatively impacting local water supplies for months.

The aim of Peaks to People Water Fund is to improve watershed health and protect water resources on the northern Colorado Front Range.

1. We use sophisticated tools to target areas of highest wildfire risk and impact to water resources.
2. We implement forest management activities that are designed to enhance forest resilience to wildfire by changing forest structure and reducing fuel loads.
3. We conduct ecological monitoring before, during and after forest treatments.
4. We collaborate with multiple stakeholders and facilitate peer to peer learning by transferring knowledge from scientists to practitioners.

Watershed Health is Important to Everyone

Whether you own forested land in the Big Thompson or Cache la Poudre watersheds, work in a water-dependent industry or are simply just concerned about the condition of our forests and water supply, we encourage you to get involved. Healthy forests and rangelands are not only important for individual landowners, they’re important for the greater good of the Big Thompson and Cache la Poudre watersheds. When we work together to thin the footprint of the forest, the collective impact of the treatment reduces wildfire risk and protects our water quality and quantity, habitat, economic health and recreational opportunities for everyone.