How is the health and ecology of the Cache la Poudre River, today? The City of Fort Collins’ State of the Poudre River project seeks to answer this question scientifically.
Everyone is invited to learn more about the health of the Cache la Poudre River through two new publications, the Poudre River Report Card, and the State of the River Report, plus a new online mapping tool to explore river health spatially.
The River Health Report Card is a summary of the in-depth State of the River Report. The online mapping tool allows users to explore river health results by specific locations. A healthy Poudre River corridor provides many important social, environmental, and economic benefits to the community. The City of Fort Collins’ 2016 Strategic Plan establishes key goals related to sustaining a healthy and resilient Cache la Poudre River. The State of the River project is a new tool to benchmark progress towards these goals.
Fort Collins is involved in a variety of projects and planning efforts that affect the river. This work is typically designed to mitigate stress or to enhance particular benefits such as consistent and clean water supplies, flood mitigation, fish and wildlife habitat, and diverse recreational opportunities. To date, there has not been a way to measure the collective impact of the City’s efforts on the overall health of the river. To address this need, the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department and City of Fort Collins Utilities Watershed Program have developed this first holistic ecological assessment of Poudre River health.
The Poudre River, in the study area from near Gateway Natural Area to Interstate 25, received an overall grade of C. This grade indicates that even though the Poudre has been altered and degraded by a variety of local and system-wide stresses that impair its health, it continues to support basic elements of a functioning river ecosystem.
Six key indicator groups were used to evaluate river health: flows, sediment, river channel, water quality, aquatic life and riparian corridor.