Fish Creek Watershed Wildfire Protection Plan

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What Are We Doing?

The City of Steamboat Springs and Mount Werner Water & Sanitation District received a Colorado Water Plan grant to develop a Critical Community Watershed Wildfire Protection Plan (CWP2) for the Fish Creek Basin. This plan looks before, during and after a wildfire to protect the critical drinking water water supply and infrastructure as well as overall watershed health. 

Why Does It Matter?

Wildfires burn vegetation and alter soil properties, causing rainfall to run-off rather than soak in to the soil. With the loss of vegetation and root systems, landscapes can easily erode. Consequently, rainfall in burned watersheds often produces floods that carry debris, sediment, ash, and contaminants into water sources. 

This has implications for water supply. Sediment fills reservoirs, decreasing storage capacities. Debris, sediment, ash and contaminants lower water quality, making the water more difficult and expensive to treat and make safe for drinking and cause unwanted tastes and odors.

Project Area

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Protecting Our Water

The plan will help protect our valuable resource by:

  • The foundation of the plan is an analysis of expected fire behavior based on forest conditions and weather patterns to identify the areas with Fish Creek Basin the greatest wildfire hazard potential.
  • The wildfire hazard analysis will be incorporated into a watershed risk assessment that uses predicted fire behavior along with watershed characteristics (terrain and soil properties) that identify areas within Fish Creek basin that present the greatest risk to water quality should wildfire occur.
  • The identified areas of concern will be evaluated along with existing forest management plans, knowledge from fire experts and information from land users to prioritize fuels mitigation projects.
  • Expected water quality impacts will be analyzed to identify improvements and/or modifications that can be made to the water treatment facility and reservoir operations to address post-fire water quality.
  • Ultimately, the assessment will produce a priority list of forest management and water quality projects designed to protect municipal water supplies.
  • The CWP2 is being developed in collaboration with stakeholders and land/ resource management agencies through the summer of 2019. Partnerships formed through the planning process will help to facilitate project implementation.

Contact Us

  1. KRH
    Kelly Romero-Heaney
    Water Resources Manager
    City of Steamboat Springs
    970-871-8205
    Email Kelly Romero-Heaney

    Frank Alfone
    Frank Alfone
    General Manager
    Mt. Werner Water
    970-879-2424
    Email Frank Alfone
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Timeline

Timeline

Meetings Presentations

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Meeting March 2019

Project Partners

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Routt County
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CO State Forest Service
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Wildfires Burning Across Valley