New state program is protecting water from wildfire 

Summit County river lovers are hoping to shore up the Blue River against wildfire. 

“We saw when the Poudre burned a few years ago, and then subsequently flooded, the vast ecological damage that was done in that drainage,” says Vanessa Logsdon with Blue River Watershed Group. “That really was an eye opener for the state.” 

Logsdon knows it seems counterintuitive to guard a river against wildfire.  

But rivers are more than water alone. They feed mountain ecosystems and transportation. Look at the widespread damage from the Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon, where fires and subsequent mudslides threatened I-70, the Colorado River, and natural attractions like Hanging Lake. 

Blue River Watershed Group could soon be tapping into a new “wildfire ready watershed” initiative from the Colorado Water Conservation Board. 

“They’re looking into all the ways that they can help protect our roads, our bridges, but also rivers,” Logsdon says. “Protecting those ecosystems, the fish, and the communities that live alongside those rivers and rely on that clean water. 

“This reduces the impact of post-fire hazards,” she says of the program. “It’s goal is to identify the most vulnerable watersheds, and develop and implement strategies to lessen the long-term effects that wildfires have on our stream corridors.”