Peaks to People Water Fund is working to protect water resources in Northern Colorado by restoring forests to reduce the risk of severe wildfires. The forest restoration projects we fund not only protect water from sedimentation and debris, but also improve forest health and habitat, decrease firefighting costs, and reduce home loss and infrastructure damage. By synergizing with local stakeholders to protect the health of watersheds, we can ensure that the natural resources our communities rely upon will remain healthy, vibrant, and economically productive for decades to come.
Our Work Matters
Water funds provide a unique opportunity to bring diverse groups of water users together to achieve the common goal of protecting our greatest resource – water. At Peaks to People our goal is to generate sustainable funding from new and unique sources to proactively increase the pace and scale of forest restoration in the Big Thompson and Poudre River watersheds. Through the water fund mechanism, downstream water users invest in the restoration of the lands that produce the water they depend on. Implementers, such as watershed coalitions, conservation districts and numerous other public and private entities can then utilize the Water Fund mechanism to support their work on the ground.
Our Strategy is Unique
We follow a strategic process to ensure we continually add value to the important restoration work already underway in Northern Colorado.
- Connect downstream beneficiaries and stewards (including landowners and others that are involved in natural resource management in the watersheds) to set strategic water supply protection goals.
- Obtain new and significantly scaled sources of funding for forest health treatments.
- Identify priority places for restoration and cost-effective risk reduction treatments.
- Create consistency in monitoring standards and measures of success.
- Track and report on the outcomes of forest health treatments in the watersheds.
Our Innovation Benefits Everyone
Our Watershed Investment Tool is a key component to identifying priority places for wildfire risk reduction and forest restoration. It enables us to quantify the effectiveness of management activities and understand cost-effectiveness (i.e. reduced sedimentation per dollar spent) of treatments for individual beneficiaries. The tool also informs program goals by identifying the required forest management actions and budget needs to meet risk reduction objectives.
When we track progress towards stakeholder goals we can determine if the work being done is occurring at scales that matter. Our Watershed Health Outcomes Tracker is a sophisticated, web-based software which allows implementers, landowners and funders to track proposed and active projects designed to improve forest health and protect water supplies in Northern Colorado. Our tracker generates fact sheets for each project which include: key accomplishments (performance measures), changes in fire behavior, funding, photos and other relevant information. Performance measures demonstrate cost effectiveness and improve transparency of publicly-funded investments.
Restoring our forested watersheds to a healthy state is a daunting challenge but together we are working towards solutions. With a sound strategy, backed by science, and supported through collaboration, we can make our forests more resilient to wildfire and protect our water supplies.