Gardner, Colo. colleagues urge USDA help mitigate impacts of wildfires on drinking water

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) joined two other Colorado lawmakers in requesting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) coordinate with their home state and local governments to help protect drinking water supplies that rely on the Cache la Poudre River.

The members of the Colorado congressional delegation sent an Oct. 8 letter sent to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and Kevin Norton, acting chief of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, urging that water supply protection be handled by mitigating erosion impacts, sediment loading and debris caused by the ongoing Cameron Peak Fire in northern Colorado. 

“There are currently five reservoirs that are highly susceptible to erosion and potential sediment from the Cameron Peak wildfire burning in the area that could impact the larger area’s drinking and irrigation water,” wrote Sen. Gardner and U.S. Reps. Joe Neguse (D-CO) and Ken Buck (R-CO).

As Colorado continues to manage threats from multiple wildfires across the state, Sen. Gardner and his colleagues noted that the lack of moisture across the state has caused system-wide stress on water systems. 

“Working to restore and make any necessary infrastructure repairs to the Poudre River watershed in advance of next spring’s snowmelt may well prove to be vital in protecting drinking and irrigation water supplies for communities across Larimer and Weld counties,” according to their letter.

Sen. Gardner and the lawmakers wrote that they “firmly believe we must continue to work together at the federal, state and local level on wildfire resiliency during and following the fires.” 


Ripon Advance