Watershed and Forest Health

Colorado Big-Thompson Project water supplies are nearly entirely dependent upon snowmelt from high-elevation watersheds along the Continental Divide in Northern Colorado. Forest health and fires within these watersheds have dramatic effects on the quality of watershed runoff and the ability of C-BT water supplies to meet municipal, industrial, and agricultural water needs.

Northern Water worked with other agencies to help restore forest and watershed health following forest fires in Northern Colorado in 2012 and 2013 through post-fire responses. The C-BT Headwaters Partnership formed following these fires to proactively address forest and watershed health in the future. Several forest-fuels treatment projects are underway as a result of this group’s efforts and Colorado Department of Natural Resources grant funding. In 2013, Northern Water managed a study to determine the impacts of the 3,500-acre Fern Lake Fire (in Rocky Mountain National Park) on water quality in the upper Big Thompson River. 

Recently, our watershed and forest health endeavors played a role in reducing the impacts of the Golf Course Fire in Grand County during the summer of 2018. Click here to read the Colorado State Forest Service's summary of those efforts. 

Fern Lake Fire The Fern Lake Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park burned 3,500 acres in 2012-2013. Northern Water managed a study to determine the impacts of the fire on water quality in the upper Big Thompson River.

Northern Water Post-Fire Responses

Northern Water assists local, state and federal agencies in response to fires that occurred during the devastating wildfire seasons in 2012 and 2013. Learn more» 

C-BT Headwaters Partnership

The devastation of Northern Colorado wildfires led to the formation in 2012 of the C-BT Headwaters Partnership, which is pursuing efforts to restore forests and watersheds and protect water supplies.
Learn more» 

Fern Lake Fire Water Quality

Northern Water managed a study in 2013 to determine the impacts of the Fern Lake Fire on water quality in the upper Big Thompson River. Learn more» 

Current Wildfire Tracking

Information and links to any current wildfires in Northern Water watersheds will be listed on this page. Learn more»