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Protect Natural Floodplain Functions#

Protect Wetlands, Waterways, and the Banks of Rivers and Streams … They Protect You#

Flooding is a natural process. A healthy ecosystem along the river relies upon frequent inundations to survive and thrive. Floodplains help reduce flood damage by allowing water to spread out over a large area. This reduces the speed of floodwater as it is soaked up in wetlands like a sponge, lowering peak flows downstream and improving water quality. More than 2/3 of the 100-year floodplain along the Cache la Poudre River is preserved as parks and natural areas. During the 2013 flood on the Poudre River, damages to structures were minimized by the preservation of these open spaces which allowed water to spread out and slow down.

You can experience natural beauty and wildlife habitat that helps Fort Collins be flood ready at over 17 conserved natural areas along the Cache la Poudre River. Learn more.

There are many City-conserved open spaces that also reduce flood hazards along Spring Creek, Fossil Creek and other drainages. Sometimes you don’t even realize that the main purpose of the area is for flood control because it serves a dual purpose as a natural area.  Red Fox Meadows is an example of one of these multi-purpose facilities.

Open space along waterways provides natural flood and erosion control, in addition to a place for us to enjoy the outdoors. Look for birds such as kingfishers, great blue herons, redtail hawks, great horned owls and a diversity of migratory songbirds that use stream corridors, too.

Only rain down the storm drain.

You may think it is OK for little things to be put down the storm drain, but it all adds up and can create problems.  Our storm drains run directly into our lakes and streams and eventually to the Cache la Poudre River. To help keep them clean, properly dispose of motor oil, pick up pet waste and use car washes instead of washing your car at home,

Do not dump or throw anything into ditches or streams. Obstructions and pollution of our waterways and ditches are violations of City Code.

Report any debris or dumping in ditches or streams to Fort Collins Utilities at 970-221-6700  or email

Learn more about stormwater quality

Did You Know?

Using low water-using plants that provide seasonal colors and textures for year-round beauty can help save on irrigation costs.

Algal blooms appear in waterbodies under certain environmental conditions. Mid-summer through early fall is when they most commonly occur.

Washing machines are most efficient when fully loaded.