The Cache la Poudre River has been called the heart of Fort Collins, and the City of Fort Collins has been focusing on improving the river’s health. A new 4-minute time lapse video showcases the restoration project at North Shields Ponds Natural Area including the removal of the Josh Ames Diversion structure. The project was led by the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department and supported by local breweries and the Colorado Water Trust who secured Colorado Water Conservation Board grant of $300,000 with support from the South Platte Basin and Metro Basin Roundtables. Odell Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing Company, Pateros Creek Brewery, Zwei Brüder Brewing, and Funkwerks Brewery contributed nearly $37,000 in matching dollars to support the collaborative project. The video is posted at http://youtu.be/lu_TI_uJ9n8
and there is a link at http://www.fcgov.com/naturalareas
The North Shields Ponds/Josh Ames Diversion Dam Project included the restoration of a ½ mile of the riparian corridor, wetlands and aquatic habitat as well as reconnection of the floodplain to the river and the removal of the Josh Ames Diversion Dam, an unused structure that spanned the Poudre River (just upstream of the North Shields Avenue Bridge). The concrete diversion stretched from bank to bank, creating a dam approximately eight feet high that trapped sediment and backed up water, increasing water temperatures and evaporation and impeding fish passage. A new trail provides access to the project area and North Shields Ponds Natural Area is open. The restoration will continue this spring including plantings of native trees, shrubs and wetland plants. Citizens will be invited to volunteer to help with plantings and on-going care soon; if you are interested, please contact Catherine Dillon, Service Learning Educator, , 970-219-1106.
The project is part of the Fort Collins community’s vision for a healthy working river outlined in the City’s 2011 comprehensive plan. The City is implementing over 25 projects focused on the river corridor which will happen in the next few years. See http://www.fcgov.com/riverprojects
to learn more.
"This has been a great win-win project, showcasing the strength of public-private partnerships and that river restoration projects can enhance Colorado’s heart and soul assets, like the Cache la Poudre River, while protecting all water users," explained Amy Beatie, Executive Director for the Colorado Water Trust.
The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department partnered with the Colorado Water Trust to facilitate the fundraising, engineering, and final deconstruction of the structure. The Colorado Water Trust is a private, nonprofit organization that engages in voluntary efforts to restore and protect streamflows in Colorado to sustain healthy aquatic ecosystems. These efforts include water acquisitions, other creative transfers of water, and on-the-ground physical solutions such as removing old diversion structures that no longer serve their original purpose.
The grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board was made possible only through support of a diverse group of water interests active in the South Platte and Metro Basin Roundtables, including representatives of Larimer County, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, City of Loveland, City of Greeley, and the Greenway Foundation. Odell Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing Company, Funkwerks Brewery, and Pateros Creek Brewery contributed nearly $37,000 in matching dollars.