UPDATE: Colorado congressional members request USDA help in protecting watershed during wildfires

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and the congressmen whose districts are near the raging wildfires in Colorado have requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture help protect the water supply from the Cache la Poudre River from being compromised.

“Communities in Larimer and Weld counties, like Fort Collins and Greeley, receive at least some water supplies from the Poudre River, which pulls water from high mountain reservoirs,” wrote Gardner and U.S. Reps. Joe Neguse and Ken Buck. “There are currently five reservoirs that are highly susceptible to erosion and potential sediment from the Cameron Peak wildfire.”

The members of Congress urged the USDA to coordinate with state and local governments to repair any infrastructure in the watershed prior to the spring snowmelt in order to protect drinking water and irrigation.

Also on Friday, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, Gardner and Neguse sent a separate letter to the U.S. Forest Service to ask that it work on watershed repair for the public lands burning in the Cameron Peak fire, a reiteration of a request made earlier in October.

The Daily Camera reported on Thursday that panelists at a BizWest-organized event spoke of likely significant changes to watersheds after the fires are extinguished. Jared Heath, with Fort Collins Utilities, said the water supply of northern Colorado’s largest city would be better off because it draws from two separate sources.

“That dual-supply system provides the city with some options when wildfires occur,” he said. “The biggest threat to our utility is if both supplies were to be impaired at the same time.”


By: Michael Karlik

Colorado Politics