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.
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.
The plan will help protect our valuable resource by: