Uniting for Resilience: Championing Collaborative Efforts in Northern Colorado

Peaks to People Water Fund is spearheading an initiative to bolster collaboration among agencies within the Big Thompson Watershed in Northern Colorado. Our goal? To proactively mitigate wildfire risks and their impacts through strategic forest and riparian restoration projects, alongside active community engagement.

The Birth of the Big Thompson Watershed Health Partnership (BTWHP)

Big Thompson river landscape in the Roosevelt National Forest in Colorado. Stones are visible through the clear water

In the fall of 2022, we took a significant step by bringing together partner agencies dedicated to minimizing wildfire risks in the watershed. This initiative quickly blossomed into the Big Thompson Watershed Health Partnership (BTWHP). Remarkably, what began as a modest assembly of members swiftly expanded, evolving into a robust partnership of over a dozen active public and private agencies within just a few months. This rapid growth is a testament to our collective dedication to safeguarding the well-being and ecological integrity of this region. It also underscores the power of unity in addressing the multifaceted challenges wildfires present.

Fueling the Fight Against Wildfires: A Financial Boost

The summer of 2023 marked a significant milestone for our efforts. The Northern Colorado Fireshed Fund, established in collaboration with the National Forest Foundation and the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest, awarded approximately $975,000 in funding to six local organizations, including Peaks to People Water Fund. This financial boost is instrumental in empowering us to continue steering the BTWHP, dramatically increasing our capacity to effect landscape-scale transformations within the Big Thompson watershed.

Strengthening Collaborative Efforts for a Healthier Forest and Community

Despite the BTWHP’s relatively recent formation, the enthusiasm and dedication among our partner agencies is palpable. There’s a shared eagerness to improve our collaborative work, both at the watershed and individual project levels. Through our unified endeavors, we aim to fortify forest health, diminish wildfire risks, and protect the essential water supplies and communities nestled within the Big Thompson.

Embarking on a Journey Towards a Resilient Landscape

Currently BTWHP members are collaborating on two substantial landscape scale projects aimed at reducing wildfire risk to the watershed. Peaks to People is working closely with partners from the Colorado State Forest Service and Larimer County Office of Emergency Management and others to develop a Potential Operational Delineations (PODs) dashboard for the watershed. PODs are spatial units or containers defined by potential control features, such as roads, streams, and ridge tops. The goal is to create a dashboard for each POD in the watershed so we can have targeted conversations regarding the size and type of treatments occurring within and around each POD, funding needed to complete work, ownership and community readiness.

Additionally, Peaks to People is collaborating with the Big Thompson and Estes Park Watershed Coalitions and the Larimer Conservation District and a variety of other stakeholders to sponsor a Wildfire Ready Action Plan (WRAP) through the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Once completed, this Plan will guide BTWHP member agencies in implementing identified pre and post-fire projects.

With the strong momentum and enthusiasm behind our partnership, we are optimistic about the future. We have embarked on a historic journey in the Big Thompson Watershed, united in our efforts to create a more resilient landscape.


BTWHP members include Peaks to People Water Fund (PPWF), Big Thompson Watershed Coalition (BTWC), City of Greeley Water & Sewer (GWS), Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS), Estes Valley Fire Protection District (EVFPD), Estes Valley Land Trust (EVLT), Estes Valley Watershed Coalition (EVWC), Larimer County Conservation Corps (LCCC), Larimer Conservation District (LCD), Larimer County Natural Resources (LCNR), Larimer County Office of Emergency Management (LCOEM), Loveland Fire Rescue Authority (LFRA), Loveland Water and Power (LWP), Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Northern Water (NW), The Ember Alliance (TEA), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), U.S. Forest Service Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest(USFS- ARP).

To learn more or get involved contact us today!