Aerial view of the NFCR with pins marking 2022 monitoring locations.

Summer 2022: Monitoring and Restoration in the North Fork of the Colorado River

UCRWG targeted the North Fork of the Colorado River (NFCR) for some much-needed monitoring and restoration work in 2022 through a generous grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) and local nonprofit Fire on the Mountain.

Heavily impacted by the 2020 East Troublesome wildfire, the NFCR feeds into Shadow Mountain Reservoir and is a critical piece of watershed health in the Upper Colorado River basin.

Project goals included:

1. Creating a baseline of  hydrogeological (ground water) conditions in the NFCR. Local Principal Scientist Tiffany Gatesman of Gatesman Environmental Consulting and Engineering conducted sampling and analysis at four different locations along the North Fork throughout the summer and fall months to monitor water quality. This helped us understand what sort of challenges the North Fork is facing and how to design targeted restoration projects to address watershed needs.

2. Implementing restoration projects based on preliminary monitoring. We teamed up with Grand Environmental Services to design and implement science-based restoration projects to improve water quality on several properties impacted by the fire. Projects included:

–  Erecting wildlife fencing to protect new plant growth

–  Planting willow to stabilize streambanks

–  Spreading mulch on severely burned soil

3. Analyzing the downstream impacts of restoration projects on watershed health to ensure that we’re taking the right approach.

Our work culminated with an interactive Watershed Assessment Story Map that allows users to zoom into specific areas for a better understanding of local conditions and recommendations for restoration strategies in the NFCR.

Click on the link below to dive in and learn about the post-wildfire conditions in the North Fork!

If you are prompted to log into ArcGIS Online anytime while viewing the story map, just hit “cancel” and you should be able to proceed as normal. Let us know if you have any issues or questions about the story map, including interest in getting involved with restoration work on your property or helping others.

NFCR Watershed Assessment Report

Thanks for visiting the map, we appreciate your time and comments!