John Stokes, Director, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department, email@example.com, 970-221-6263
Amy Beatie, Director, Colorado Water Trust, abeatie@ColoradoWaterTrust.org, 720-570-2897
The Cache la Poudre River has been called the heart of Fort Collins, and the City of Fort Collins has been focusing on improving the river’s health. A healthy river is also key for another Fort Collins staple … beer! Local breweries and the Colorado Water Trust have come together to support a restoration project at North Shields Ponds Natural Area led by the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department. The Colorado Water Trust secured a grant of $300,000 from the Colorado Water Conservation Board, with the diverse support of members of the South Platte and Metro Basin Roundtables, to remove the Josh Ames Diversion Dam. Odell Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing Company, Pateros Creek Brewery, and Funkwerks Brewery are contributing nearly $37,000 in matching dollars to the Colorado Water Trust to support the collaborative project.
The North Shields Ponds/Josh Ames Diversion Project includes the restoration of a ½ mile of the riparian corridor, wetlands and aquatic habitat as well as reconnection of the floodplain to the river and the removal of the Josh Ames Diversion Dam, an unused structure that spans the Poudre River (just upstream of the North Shields Avenue Bridge). The structure has been abandoned for 30 years. The concrete diversion stretches from bank to bank, creating a dam approximately six feet high. This dam collects sediment and backs up water, increasing water temperatures and evaporative water loss and creating a barrier to fish passage. The project is part of the Fort Collins community’s vision for a healthy working river outlined in the City’s comprehensive plan and over 25 projects focused on the river corridor which will happen in the next few years. See fcgov.com/riverprojects to learn more.
“This has been a great win-win project, showcasing the strength of public-private partnerships and how projects that restore rivers can be done in a way that enhances Colorado’s heart and soul assets like the Cache la Poudre River while protecting all water users,” explained Amy Beatie, director Colorado Water Trust.
The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department is partnering with the Colorado Water Trust to facilitate the fundraising, engineering and final deconstruction of the structure. The Colorado Water Trust is a private, nonprofit organization that engages in voluntary efforts to restore and protect streamflows in Colorado to sustain healthy aquatic ecosystems. These efforts include water acquisitions, other creative transfers of water, and on-the-ground physical solutions such as removing old diversion structures that no longer serve their original purpose.
The grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board was made possible only through support of a diverse group of water interests active in the South Platte and Metro Basin Roundtables, including representatives of Larimer County, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, City of Loveland, City of Greeley and the Greenway Foundation. Odell Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing Company, Funkwerks Brewery, Pateros Creek Brewery and Zwei Bruder Brewing are contributing nearly $37,000 in matching dollars.
Learn more about North Shields Ponds restoration project here.