Benefits, Development & Implementation
Watersheds connect terrestrial, freshwater, and coastal ecosystems. They also provide ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, water supply, filtration, and purification. Colorado watersheds support multi-objective uses for both consumptive and nonconsumptive water supply. Approximately 80 percent of Colorado’s population relies on forested watersheds to deliver municipal water supplies. Watershed health management strategies that protect this domestic supply will also protect other uses in the watershed.
Colorado’s mountain watersheds have a strong influence on the quality and quantity of water. Watershed geography includes physical aspects, such as climate and geology, and ecological aspects, such as stream biology; but it also examines the relationships between humans, land and water. Healthy watersheds provide ecosystem services that benefit ecological processes, local and state economies, and social stability. Ecosystem services include flow regulation, flood attenuation, water purification, erosion control, dilution and flushing of contaminants, and habitat protection.
The following organizations engage in developing and implementing watershed plans in the Colorado Basin:
- Upper Colorado Watershed Group: http://ucrwg.org/
- Blue River Watershed Group: https://www.blueriverwatershed.org/
- Eagle River Watershed Council: http://www.erwc.org/
- Middle Colorado Watershed Council: https://www.midcowatershed.org/
- Roaring Fork Conservancy: http://www.roaringfork.org/
- Grand County Learning By Doing: https://www.grandcountylearningbydoing.org
The Colorado Basin identifies 14 collaborative watershed groups that are actively engaged in improving watershed health. Primary watershed health concerns in the basin include wildfire risk and the evolving forest landscape; both have the potential to impair water supply. The basin supports watershed wildfire assessments, and there are currently 18 Community Wildfire Protection Plans within the basin.
℅ Colorado River Water Conservation District
201 Centennial Street, Suite 200
Glenwood Springs, Colorado 81601
Protecting Agriculture, Environment, Recreation & Water Supply for Western Colorado.