Environmental Health


Conserve, create and enhance ecosystems and natural spaces within Fort Collins, the GMA and the region.

ENV 1.1 - Publicly Controlled Open Lands

Maintain a system of publicly controlled natural areas to maintain the integrity of wildlife habitat and conservation sites, protect corridors between natural areas, conserve outstanding examples of Fort Collins’ diverse natural heritage, and provide a broad range of opportunities for educational, interpretive and recreational programs to meet community needs.

ENV 1.2 - Land Conservation and Stewardship

Continue to acquire, manage, maintain and enhance public open lands and natural areas in accordance with the City’s Natural Areas Master Plan to ensure the protection of plants and animals in need of conservation and their associated ecosystems; support biodiversity; control the invasion and spread of non-native plants; improve aesthetics; and provide opportunities for appropriate public use. Avoid disruption and minimize impacts to natural areas caused by energy production, electrification and communication systems.

ENV 1.3 - Nature in the City

Conserve, protect and enhance natural resources and high-value biological resources throughout the GMA by:

  • Directing development away from natural features to the maximum extent feasible;
  • Identifying opportunities to integrate or reintroduce natural systems as part of the built environment to improve habitat in urbanized areas and expand residents’ access to nature;
  • Utilizing green infrastructure to manage stormwater and increase greenspace in public right-of-ways and as part of public and private development; and
  • Supporting the use of a broad range of native landscaping that enhances plant and animal diversity.

ENV 1.4 - Conflict Management

Manage conflicts between people and public open lands through site design, public information and education, and plant and animal population management techniques.

ENV 1.5 - Access to Nature

Design trail routes in open lands to limit ecological impacts. Determination of type of trail or suitability for access will be made through an analysis of potential ecological impacts and city- and region-wide recreation opportunities. Special attention will be given to environmentally sensitive and context-sensitive trail design, location and construction. Mitigation strategies will be pursued to reduce or eliminate environmental impacts if a new trail is built. Ensure that development activities provide and maintain access to public open-land areas, where appropriate.

ENV 1.6 - Wildlife Corridors

Conserve and enhance wildlife movement corridors through a network of public open lands and natural habitat buffers along natural features such as streams and drainageways.


Become a carbon- neutral community by 2050 and improve the community’s resilience to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

ENV 2.1 - Affordability, Reliability, and Sustainability

The community’s commitment to carbon neutrality is predicated on preserving and enhancing the quality of life of Fort Collins residents. Prioritize strategies that optimize the affordability of living and thriving in Fort Collins, continue the high standards of reliability the community enjoys, and advance toward carbon neutrality. Critical to the success of achieving the climate action goals will be ensuring that solutions are designed by and for all residents, including underserved and underrepresented communities.

ENV 2.2 - Integrate Mitigation and Resilience Actions

Continue to implement, monitor and periodically update the CAP, including strategies for reducing carbon emissions and climate change risks in City operations and all major planning efforts. Promote actions in the community that improve the community’s resilience to climate change.


Transition from fossil to renewable-energy systems.

ENV 3.1 - Renewable Electricity Supply and Integration

Encourage the Platte River Power Authority (PRPA) to provide 100% renewable electricity supply by 2030 and continue to integrate distributed energy resources while maintaining affordability and reliability.

ENV 3.2 - Efficient Buildings

Support continuous improvement in efficiency for existing and new buildings through incentives, reporting requirements and energy codes.

ENV 3.3 - Electrification

Support a systems approach to transition from the use of natural gas to renewable electricity in buildings and for transportation.


Protect human health and the environment by continually improving air quality.

ENV 4.1 - Priority Air Pollutants

Focus on high-priority air pollutants, as identified in the Air Quality Plan, considering such criteria as health impacts, community concerns, air pollution trends, compliance with current state and federal standards and ability to affect improvements at the local level.

ENV 4.2 - Air Pollutant Sources

Implement a full spectrum of options—including engagement, incentives and regulation—that focus on prevention of air pollution at the source.

ENV 4.3 - Regional Pollution

Work with local and regional partners to identify and mitigate sources of transported pollutants that influence our local air quality.

ENV 4.4 - Ozone Attainment

Support attainment of Federal standards for ozone by implementing programs and policies that reduce local emissions of ozone-causing pollutants, and supporting legislation and policy that reduces regional transport of ozone and ozone-causing pollutants. Coordinate with key partners such as the Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC).

ENV 4.5 - Indoor Air

Provide public information regarding potential indoor air quality concerns and promote behavior change and public action to reduce potential risks in homes, schools and workplaces.

ENV 4.6 - Vehicles and Non-Road Engines

Promote efforts to reduce fuel consumption and associated pollutant emissions from vehicles and non-road engine sources, such as lawn and garden equipment.

ENV 4.7 - Monitoring and Reporting

Monitor, characterize, track and report ambient air pollutant concentrations to increase awareness of air quality issues and better identify opportunities to improve local air quality conditions and reduce emissions.


Create a Zero Waste system.

ENV 5.1 - Reduce, Reuse, Refuse

Provide education and promote the City’s goals for reducing all types of waste at the source. Encourage the use of durable and reusable goods to avoid low-quality, high-polluting products such as single-use disposables and items with a short usable life span. Find the highest and best use for waste materials.

ENV 5.2 - Regional Watershed

Collaborate with regional governments on infrastructure and policy development, as well as other entities in the educational and nonprofit sectors, for innovation and implementation. Seek partners in the business community to help lead toward a Zero Waste system that supports economic health and community prosperity, including attracting and retaining business in the recycle/reuse sector. Facilitate the creation of local end markets for materials through use of TIF and zoning that enables recycling-processing businesses to operate. Consider potential and existing recycling and waste-recovery activities as opportunities to enhance local revenue generation and create jobs.

ENV 5.3 - Landfill Diversion

In the interest of transforming these otherwise wasted resources into marketable commodities, divert recoverable materials from the landfill, based on the hierarchy for materials management. In particular, divert organics (such as yard trimmings and food scraps), construction and demolition materials, curbside recyclable materials and hazardous materials from landfill disposal.

ENV 5.4 - Culture Change

Continue to identify and develop viable strategies designed to help residents and businesses live and operate more efficiently and sustainably to achieve a Zero Waste system for the community. Better understanding of the costs of overconsumption and connecting solutions to shared values will support a population that appreciates connected communities more than stuff.

ENV 5.5 - Sustainable Materials Management

Employ a sustainable materials management (SMM)approach to holistically address the root causes of solid waste and the link between consumption and climate change. View the production, acquisition, use and disposal of goods and food as an integrated system with impacts and opportunities for improvement along the entire chain.


Manage water resources in a manner that enhances and protects water quality, supply and reliability.

ENV 6.1 - Water Resource Planning

Partner and collaborate with water service providers to ensure adequate, safe and reliable water supplies in accordance with the Water Supply and Demand Management Policy. To the extent feasible, coordinate on supply and storage development and demand modeling.

ENV 6.2 - Water Conservation and Efficiency

Continue and enhance water conservation, efficiency and education programs in accordance with the City’s Water Efficiency Plan. Consider new and revised land-use and site-planning standards to reduce water use in both new and redevelopment projects. Where possible, coordinate on programs and services to create consistent experiences for users regardless of their location and water service provider.

ENV 6.3 - Droughts and Vulnerability

Develop drought and vulnerability planning that takes into consideration the future impacts of climate change; potential demand changes from increased urban and multifamily developments; and other hazards and vulnerabilities, such as disruption of supplies due to wildfires. Partner and collaborate with water service providers in the GMA.

ENV 6.4 - Development along Waterways

Use development regulations, such as setbacks from natural features and performance standards, to conserve and protect natural resources along the Poudre River, Spring Creek, Fossil Creek, Boxelder Creek and other waterways. Redevelopment in areas with natural resource values or potential natural values will consider the creation or enhancement of those values with an emphasis on natural attributes.

ENV 6.5 - Watershed Approach to Stormwater Management

Design stormwater systems to minimize the introduction of human-caused pollutants. Pursue educational programs and demonstration projects to enhance public understanding of pollution prevention efforts. Design tributary systems for water quality control with appropriate use of buffer areas, grass swales, detention ponds, etc. Include receiving water habitat restoration and protection in stormwater master plans in conjunction with habitat-mapping efforts.

ENV 6.6 - Low Impact Development

Pursue and implement Low Impact Development (LID) as an effective approach to address stormwater quality and impacts to streams by urbanization. LID is a comprehensive land planning and engineering design approach with a goal of minimizing the impact of development on urban watersheds through the use of various techniques aimed at mimicking predevelopment hydrology.

ENV 6.7 - Best Management Practices

Utilize stormwater facility design criteria that follow national Best Management Practices (BMPs).

ENV 6.8 - Public Lands

Utilize public lands, such as street rights-of-way, for the design of multifunctional stormwater facilities by maximizing the carrying capacity of streets with curb and gutter, and by modifying design standards to promote infiltration or detention where appropriate depending on area specifics. Emphasize the development of a linked surface stormwater system that reinforces the City’s open lands policy and reduces the need for large stormwater pipes.


Manage the Poudre River’s diverse resources and functions to create a sustainable river ecosystem.

ENV 7.1 - Ecological Resilience

Support a healthy river ecosystem that has the capacity to persist and adapt over time in the face of natural and human-caused challenges. Protect or enhance opportunities for natural processes to drive ecosystem renewal by:

  • Working to quantify and provide adequate in stream flows to maintain the ecological functionality and recreational and scenic values of the Cache la Poudre River through Fort Collins;
  • Ensuring sufficient water volumes at appropriate times to support all of the diverse functions of the Poudre River;
  • Maintaining natural area protection buffers along both banks of the Poudre River;
  • Considering vertical and lateral channel stability with new development and redevelopment to ensure that adequate setbacks are provided to account for lateral migration of the Poudre River channel across the floodplain and vertical degradation; and
  • Restoring or enhancing degraded or disturbed areas to improve natural habitat conditions, biodiversity, and aesthetic and recreational values.

ENV 7.2 - Siting and Design of Recreational Features

Locate and design recreational features within the Poudre River Corridor in a way that avoids or minimizes impacts to natural areas, wildlife habitat, water quality and other environmental values. Place emphasis on integrating natural, environmental, historical and cultural values within new public recreation sites.

ENV 7.3 - Visual resources

Locate and design development and/or recreational facilities within the Poudre River Corridor to best maintain or enhance views of the Poudre River, its natural setting, the protected corridor features, and the foothills and mountains.

ENV 7.4 - Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area

Protect historic landmarks and significant cultural landscapes within the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area by using land acquisition, local landmark designation, conservation easements, land use policies, and development and design standards. Support and provide historical, cultural and environmental learning opportunities in accordance with adopted goals for the area.

ENV 7.5 - Gravel Mine Reclamation

Collaborate with gravel mining interests to develop innovative approaches to gravel mine reclamation that will provide wildlife habitat, restoration of native landscapes, recreational opportunities, water storage and other public values.


Create and maintain a safe, healthy and resilient urban forest.

ENV 8.1 - Health of the Urban Forest

Practice sound arboriculture practices, including diversification of species; monitoring and managing insect and disease impacts (e.g. emerald ash borer); and preparing for unanticipated events such as drought, extreme weather and the long-term effects of climate change.

ENV 8.2 - Public Safety

Increase public safety throughout the urban forest by sustaining a frequent pruning rotation and regular tree-risk assessments. This would include efforts to reduce the creation of conflict between trees and pedestrian and vehicular movement through “right tree, right place.”

ENV 8.3 - Growing Assets

Ensure protection of existing trees when new or redevelopment takes place through collaboration with other City departments and on-site landscape contractors. Trees appreciate in value as they age and provide aesthetic, economic, social and environmental benefits to the entire community and nearby people and development.

ENV 8.4 - Community Education and Outreach

Continue to provide the community with balanced and objective information to assist them in understanding the challenges, alternatives and solutions to achieve a healthy and resilient urban forest.


Protect human health, safety, wildlife habitat and the environment by limiting light pollution and protecting our night sky.

ENV 9.1 - Community Outreach

Develop consistent messaging to increase awareness of the benefits of outdoor lighting best practices in all sectors of the community.

ENV 9.2 - Community Education and Technical Assistance

Provide technical assistance and educational programming to encourage outdoor lighting best practices on private properties and in neighborhoods. Support neighborhood organizations and other community groups in retrofitting existing light fixtures to reduce light pollution.

ENV 9.3 - Outdoor Lighting

Use development regulations to promote best practices: lighting only where needed, lighting only when needed, shielding lights and directing them downward, minimizing glare and light trespass, selecting lamps with warmer color temperatures, and selecting the most efficient lighting methods for both energy and lighting purposes.