Our communities depend on our forests to provide clean and plentiful water. Therefore, our health and our wealth require coordinated, proactive management of our watersheds. A key component of the forest management work being done by Peaks to People Water Fund, and our partners, is reducing the risk of wildfire through fuels reduction. When the severity of wildfires is decreased, the threats to water quality, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and local economies decrease as well. Fuels management projects decrease the threat of wildfire by reducing forest density and removing ladder fuels that move fire from ground to crown; from slow to fast spreading; from manageable to uncontrollable. These projects, which are thoughtfully planned and executed, can include both mechanical treatment of fuels and/or prescribed fire.
Peaks to People is currently co-funding a forest management project in Lory State Park, where dense forest connects directly with Horsetooth Reservoir. This project builds upon past and planned work at Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. In 2012, the park was partially burned by the High Park Fire. The fire burned into previously treated areas, which were successful at modifying fire behavior. The increased spacing between the crowns of the trees stopped the fire from continuing through the canopy. Our Watershed Investment Tool confirmed that this is a high priority for protecting water resources. Work will commence in these areas late 2019 or 2020.
Performance Measures are calculated using Peaks to People Water Fund’s Watershed Investment Tool. For more information on these measures visit: https://outcomes.peakstopeople.org/PerformanceMeasure/Index
|Performance Measure||Expected Value|
|Fuels Reduction/Forest Restoration||157 acres|
|Active Crown Fire Reduced||116 acres|
|Reduced Erosion||4422 metric tons|
|Reduced Sediment Delivered to Streams||2611 metric tons|
|Avoided Sediment in Water Supplies||2437 metric tons|
|Reduced Sediment Impacts to Water Supplies||258 metric tons|
|Reduced Sediment Costs to Water Supplies||76176 dollars|
|Avoided Home Loss (number)||0.05 number|
|Avoided Home Loss ($)||16821 dollars|
|Crucial Wildlife Habitat Protected from Severe Wildfire||131 acres|
|Parks and Open Space Protected from Severe Wildfire||157 acres|
Both the frequency and severity of wildfires have been increasing in the Western United States. We can change this pattern by working together on the landscape. Proactively managing the fuels that feed wildfire by restoring our forests to a more natural state has a proven history of success in Lory State Park and across the arid mountain west. Peaks to People is proud to be a part of this project and to be working with multiple stakeholders to ensure its success.
Lead Implementer: Colorado State Forest Service
Funders: Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado State Forest Service, Northern Water, Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed and Peaks to People Water Fund
Other Organizations: Colorado Big Thompson Project