- Cache La Poudre River: Colorado’s First Wild and Scenic River – Rose Laflin & Brian Werner, published in the Citizen’s Guide to Colorado’s Environmental Era, 2005
This document is a brief (4-page) summary of the history of the designation of (1) the Wild and Scenic portion of the Cache la Poudre River, and (2) subsequently the National Heritage Area.
- History of Agricultural and Urban Water Use in Fort Collins – Public Lands History Center at CSU
This website explores the history of human use of the Cache La Poudre River during the last 150 years.
- History of Water Law and Water Development in the Cache La Poudre River Basin and the Rocky Mountain West – Author and date unspecified
This scanned document (an appendix to an another report) discusses the antecedents to and eventual compromise between Fort Collins and Greeley area farmers that led to the formalization of “first in time” water rights that became the basis for Colorado’s (and much of the arid west’s) prior appropriation water law. It also discusses some other allocations systems, such as the Wyoming administrative approach.
- Irrigation, settlement, and change on the Cache La Poudre River – Rose Laflin, 2005
This extensive ‘Special Report’ of the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute covers the early history of the Poudre basin, early water development activities for agriculture, the development of water law, the evolution of the “Working Poudre”, continued competition for water, and the continued challenges faced in the basin. The report contains an extensive bibliography, a glossary of water-related terms, and a set of historical and contemporary photos.
- Irrigation Development in Northern Colorado: A Brief History of How Water Influenced the Development of the Fort Collins Region – Brian Werner, no date specified
This short piece discusses early individual and cooperative efforts to develop the water resources in the Poudre basin, including storage reservoirs and trans-mountain diversions.
- Ag to Urban Water Transfers: Current Practice & Alternatives – Rich Belt, date unspecified
This is a PowerPoint presentation outlining the current practices (e.g., buy and dry) and potential future alternatives (e.g., rotational fallowing, interruptible supply, deficit irrigation) for ag to urban water transfers, and the challenges of those alternatives.
- Opportunities and Limitations for Ag Water Conservation in Colorado – Reagan Waskom, date unspecified
This is a PowerPoint presentation outlining the potential for ag water conservation, but highlighting the physical and legal constraints as well as likely basin scale and economic impacts.
- Agricultural water in Larimer County: Issues and Opportunities – Larimer County Agricultural Advisory Board, no date specified
This is a PowerPoint presentation outlining the opportunities for, and regional benefits of, maintaining water for ag in the face of continued transfers of that water for municipal purposes.
- Agricultural/Urban/Environmental Water Sharing: Innovative Strategies for the Colorado River Basin and the West – MaryLou Smith & James Pritchett, 2010
This is a pamphlet developed by the Agricultural/ Urban/ Environmental Water Sharing Work Group of the Western Governors’ Association that outlines recommendations for preserving water for agriculture throughout the West in the face of continued transfers of that water for municipal and other purposes.
- Can agricultural water conservation and efficiency provide the water needed for Colorado’s future? – Colorado Agricultural Water Alliance, 2009
This brochure was commissioned by the Colorado agricultural water alliance to spell out in common terms what agricultural water can be conserved and transferred to other uses and what agricultural water cannot be legally transferred to other uses.
- City of Fort Collins Water Efficiency Plan – City of Fort Collins Utilities, 2015
This document relays the per capita water use goals and methods to monitor the achievement of those goals for the City of Fort Collins. It also includes population and water demand projections, discusses potential water supply projects, and lists other water loss goals. View the timeline and updates of this plan here.
- Summary, City of Fort Collins Water Conservation Plan – Laurie D’Audney, 2011
This presentation lays out conservation options available under the Water Conservation Plan given above.
- Greeley’s Water History – City of Greeley Water Department, no date specified
Webpage chronicling major milestones in the Greeley region’s water development, including ditch, reservoir and transmountain development, the unfolding state and federal legal structures, and municipal water development and treatment.
- Halligan-Seaman Water Management Project – City of Fort Collins, updated 2019
This webpage covers the proposed Halligan-Seaman reservoir expansions, including a project purpose and description, the environmental impact statement process, the partnership between Fort Collins and Greeley on the project, and the expected environmental benefits.
- Thoughts on Urban Water Conservation – Jon Monson, 2011
This presentation discusses municipal water conservation in the context of beneficial use without waste, why we conserve, and how we pay (with money and externalities).
- Water Planning, Population Growth and Land Use in Larimer County – Susan Kirkpatrick, 2011
This presentation discusses population growth trends and the components of growth (births vs. net migration), growth rate control options, and land use options. The material does not directly cover water planning.
- Ecological Response Model for the Cache la Poudre River through Fort Collins [Executive Summary] – City of Fort Collins Natural Areas, 2014
The Ecological Response Model (ERM) is an integrated model designed to improve our overall understanding of the Poudre River ecosystem and the many factors that influence it, and to model the status and trends of its key resources.
- River Health Assessment Framework: Cache la Poudre River – City of Fort Collins, 2015
This framework was developed to more clearly define the City’s vision for a healthy and resilient Poudre River.
- Estimating the Economic Benefits of Maintaining Peak Instream Flows in the Poudre River through Fort Collins, Colorado – John Loomis, 2008
The economic benefits to Fort Collins residents were estimated by asking households if they would pay to avoid a 50% reduction in peak spring and summer flows. The perpetual benefits were estimated to be between $5,673 to $8,518 per acre foot, representing an aggregate value between $282.7 to $424.5 million.
- Fort Collins Whitewater Park Economic Assessment – John Loomis & Jim McTernan, 2011
This report documents a study designed to determine the economic value of current and increased flow conditions on the recreational use (particularly kayakers) of the Poudre River near downtown Fort Collins. The report concludes that the potential annual sales revenue for the city for current river flows based on reported expenditures would total between $ 294,765 and $ 745,337, and for increases flows the total would be between $ 331,610 and $ 838,504.
- Study Finds Americans Willing To Pay More For Water – Amy Westervelt, Forbes Magazine, 2012
This article describes a study that found that 75 percent of Americans (a national sample of voters representative of the 2006 U.S. voting population on gender, age, region and ethnicity) were willing to pay more for water infrastructure that conserves energy and 70 percent were willing to pay more for water to ensure that all Americans have access to clean water by upgrading infrastructure.
- Corps of Engineers Regulatory Program and Northern Colorado Water EIS’s – Rena Brand, 2011
This presentation covers why the Corps is involved, the steps in the process, what the status of certain water supply proposals is, some controversial issues surrounding permitting, and a few other ‘interesting facts.’
- Corps of Engineers Permit Decision Making Process Links – Rena Brand, no date specified
This brief document provides links to yet other documents that detail the procedures that the US Army Corps of Engineers must follow to issue or deny a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit, such as required for the NISP or Halligan-Seaman proposals.
- Key Concepts in Colorado Water Law – P. Andrew Jones, 2011
This condensed presentation covers the development and evolution of Colorado water law.
- Organizational Interests on the Cache La Poudre River by Historical Era – David Freeman, 2011
This presentation categorizes water development in the Cache la Poudre basin into several ‘eras’ including: irrigation canal building, plains reservoir building, trans-mountain diversions (small and large), groundwater pumping, the environmental legislative era, interest group development, and statewide water planning.
- Water Sources, Use, and Administration – George Varra, 2011
This extensive presentation covers (1) where Poudre River water comes from, (2) who owns the rights to use the water, and (3) how the rights are administered from the point of view of the River Commissioner and using a variety of graphs and maps. The material concludes that Poudre River flows vary considerably (annually, monthly, daily); that agricultural irrigation continues to use a large majority of the Poudre supplies; for many junior water right holders, the water is not available when the water is needed; and rules for diverting and using the water are prescribed by Colorado water law.
The Poudre Basin Information website provides information that supports education, dialogue on issues, and decision-making. The Open Water Foundation is leading the effort to develop this resource, integrating cross-jurisdictional datasets and information from various sources, including the PRTI membership. The resources on this website also support current and future PRTI initiatives.
The Cache la Poudre Watershed Inventory was a project of Peaks to People (formerly the Colorado Conservation Exchange). The purpose of this project is to create a public document, database, and map application of the activities conducted and information produced by organizations in the Cache la Poudre (CLP) and Big Thompson* (BT) watersheds. The Cache la Poudre Yellow Pages and associated database focus on activities and information that influence or relate to ecological management and monitoring of the watershed. Use the map to browse and look up specific areas to see what activities are taking place. If you are interested in connecting with watershed groups or looking to get a better sense of the types and ranges of activities, the documents are for you. The Information Inventory, summarizing information produced by participants in this project’s survey, is contained only in the documents and is a great tool for those researching the watershed.
Please visit CSU’s Center for Collaborative Conservation website to view/download the database, as it is frequently being updated. The site also contains more information on using these resources for your specific needs.
The Poudre River Web Guide primarily compiles links to websites about the many aspects of the Cache la Poudre River, for the purpose of education. Links are organized under only one category each, though websites could potentially fall under more than one category, so be sure to browse the various pages.
Every attempt is being made to link to all helpful websites concerning the Poudre River. No bias is intended (though we love our river!).
The guide is provided by the Water Resources Archive at the Colorado State University Libraries. To notify us about a new or corrected link, email Patty Rettig, archivist for the Water Resources Archive.
UniverCity Connections, Colorado State University and the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado partnered with the public to create a shared understanding – a better informed and engaged community regarding the complex topic of water in Northern Colorado.
Part 1: Public Forum
Special thanks to UniverCity Connections and Colorado State University for partnering with the Community Foundation in hosting “The Poudre Runs Through It: Northern Colorado’s Water Future” on February 3, 2011. More than 300 Northern Colorado citizens gathered at the Larimer County Courthouse for this public forum. Click on the links below for more event information:
- Read public comments, values, and concerns surrounding water issues and the Poudre River
- Watch the live recording of the event from Cable Channel 14:
February 3rd Public Forum
Part 2: Education Sessions
Three education sessions took place February 24, March 10 and March 24 in 2011.
February 24th Education Session
Organizational Interests on the Cache La Poudre River by Historical Era – David Freeman
Water Sources, Use and Administration – George Varra
Key Concepts in Colorado Water Law – P. Andrew Jones
March 10th Education Session
Hydro-Ecology and Poudre River Futures – Brian Bledsoe
Agricultural Water in Larimer County: Issues and Opportunities – George Wallace
Statewide Water Supply Initiative 2010 – John Stulp
Opportunities and Limitations for Ag Water Conservation in Colorado – Reagan Waskom
Agriculture to Urban Water Transfers: Current Practice and Alternatives – Rich Belt
Water Planning, Population Growth & Land Use in Larimer County – Susan Kirkpatrick
March 24th Education Session
Storage Permitting – Rena Brand
Corps of Engineers Permit Decision Making Process Links – Rena Brand
Water Conservation – Laurie D’Audney
Thoughts on Urban Water Conservation – Jon Monson
Part 3: Public Dialogue Session
The public then had an opportunity to participate in a community deliberation session. Deliberation centered around alternatives for Northern Colorado’s water future.
PRTI Definition of “Healthy Working River” Adopted 5-11-18
Our definition of a healthy working river is one that supplies the goods and services demanded by our complex society, within the existing and evolving water rights system and honoring existing property rights, while maintaining and improving ecological integrity and resilience. The word “river” connotes not only the river channel and its banks but also the upper watershed that supplies the water, the lands that are irrigated by the river, the areas supplied with domestic and industrial water from the river, and the treated wastewater and other return flows that come back into the river.
- Poudre River Study/Action Workgroup – What is a healthy Poudre River? – Sanderson, 2012
- Hydro-ecology and Poudre River Futures – Bledsoe, 2011
This presentation covers the topics: (1) how does the river work (ecologically)?, including the definition of river health, (2) what kind of river do we have today as opposed to how it evolved, (3) what might we be most concerned about in the future given water development proposals, and (4) what might we do to influence the river’s health.
- Environmental Flow Issues in the Poudre River, Colorado, USA – Milhous & Bartholow, 2010
The authors identify, describe, and quantify several issues that should be considered in determining environmental flow needs for the Poudre River near Fort Collins.
- Constructing an Interdisciplinary Flow Regime Recommendation – Bartholow, 2010
Using a variety of interrelated methods, the author develops an ecologically-based, month-by-month flow regime for the Poudre River through Fort Collins to achieve a “healthy working river”. This article is a preprint of a journal article that uses English units instead of international units.
- Colorado’s 2015 Water Plan – The Colorado Water Conservation Board’s response to Governor Hickenlooper’s mandate. The plan was developed in conjunction with other state water agencies (e.g. State Engineer’s Office, Water Quality Control Commission, Water Quality Control Division, Division of Parks & Wildlife)
- South Platte Basin Implementation Plan April 2015 – The SP Basin Implementation Plan covers the Cache la Poudre River, and is a component of the state-wide water plan, above.
- Statewide Water Supply Initiative – Gimbel (CWCB), 2011
This presentation covers the need to provide water for additional population growth and covers a mix of proposals to meet the “gap,” including ag transfer, conservation, ‘new’ supply development, and a variety of proposals currently on the drawing board.
- Statewide Water Supply Initiative 2010 Fact Sheet – Colorado Dept. of Natural Resources and Water Conservation Board, 2010
This ‘fact sheet’ outlines the mission of the Statewide Water Supply Initiative (SWSI) and summarizes the key findings in terms of demand projections for municipal, agricultural, non-consumptive and energy uses, the available water supply, the “gap”, and the portfolio of potential future supply options. It also addresses costs of additional supply and provides policy recommendations.
- Filling the Gap – Western Resource Advocates, 2012
Most of Colorado’s population growth for the next 40 years is expected in the South Platte Basin and in the urban counties of the Arkansas Basin. Population in these areas is projected to grow by 70% from 2010 to 2050. The state of Colorado has defined the water supply “gap” needed to serve this new population. The Filling the Gap Series details an alternative water supply approach to meeting the future water needs intended to better protect the state’s economy, environment, and quality of life.
- Active River Calls for Region 1 (South Platte) – Colorado Division of Water Resources, real time
Database listing of river calls on the South Platte and its tributaries, including the specific structure and decreed amount, either for river flow or storage volume.
- Watershed Assessment, Tracking & Environmental Results System (WATERS) – EPA Webpage
Watershed-by-watershed information on water quality conditions reported by Colorado to EPA under relevant sections of the Clean Water Act. EPA has developed this website to record impaired stream reaches needing Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development. For example, the Cache la Poudre watershed lists impairments due to selenium, lead, water temperature, cadmium, escherichia coli (E. coli), mercury, and copper.
- South Platte Monthly Streamflow Summary – Colorado Division of Water Resources, database
This webpage is published monthly to provide streamflow and reservoir level summaries for gauges along the South Platte and its tributaries. Each individual monthly report presents the previous year’s worth of data in graphical form. The page also links to other ‘Surface Water Conditions’ pages for real-time streamflow and reservoir levels by structure.
- NRCS SNOTEL Snow and Precipitation – Natural Resources Conservation Service database
This webpage displays a report tabulating snow water equivalent and total precipitation for each of several stations by river basin in Colorado. The table provides station elevation as well as compares the current level with historical medians/averages. It appears to be updated daily.
- Colorado’s Surface Water Conditions – Colorado Division of Water Resources, real time
This webpage links to all the various gages in the Cache la Poudre River basin, both flow and storage. Most are maintained by the Division, but some are from ‘cooperators’: Bureau of Reclamation, Northern Water, or USGS.
- Weather & Evapotranspiration Data – Northern Water, current
This webpage links to a several regional meteorology gages that record hourly air temperature, relative humidity, vapor pressure, evapotranspiration, precipitation, wind speed, wind direction, and solar radiation. It also links to reports of crop and turf water use, as well as water quality data.
- Colorado Decision Support Systems – Division 1: South Platte – Colorado Water Conservation Board, Division of Natural Resources, current
This webpage contains GIS layers for the South Platte, and the website contains data on other Colorado basins.
- Open Water Foundation – Compiled/directed to by Open Water Foundation, but data is from various sources
This website provides data resources, including spatial datasets and other useful data for water resources. The datasets listed are organized and formatted to simplify use. In many cases datasets consist of reformatted or value-added data from an original data source. OWF does not generally collect data, although they may help access hard-to-find data and join separate datasets. Their website also provides access to water resources data visualizations.
- Poudre Straightline Diagram – Colorado Division of Water Resources, 2007
This is a GIS-based schematic diagram of all the diversions and returns or transmountain imports along the Cache la Poudre River. It also provides the amounts of decrees for the major diversions.
- South Platte GIS Data – Colorado Division of Water Resources, mostly updated in 2012
This webpage links to a variety of GIS data layers available for download, including division boundaries, aquifer boundaries, bedrock, irrigated land (and associated ditch headgates and wells, ditch service areas, and relational tables), and water-related structures.
- Ecologically Sustainable Water Management: Managing River Flows for Ecological Integrity – Richter, Mathews, Harrison & Wigington, 2003
- A Better Future for the Poudre River – Western Resource Advocates, 2012
This summary report outlines an alternative to the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP), a proposal by Northern Water that could adversely affect the Cache la Poudre River. A Better Future provides a strategy for meeting the water needs of 15 towns and water districts while also preserving the Poudre River and the communities and businesses that depend on a healthy river. The full report may be found here.
- Healthy Rivers Alternative – Save the Poudre Coalition, no date specified
Similar to the Better Future report, this web page, along with an associated report and summary, detail what may be considered an alternative “no action” proposal to substitute for the NISP/Glade water management proposal, including water conservation, the use of existing gravel pit storage, and partnerships with agriculture.
- World Cafe – Perspectives on the Poudre
The World Cafe was an event hosted by the Center for Collaborative Conservation and co-hosted by the Poudre Runs Through It. The intent was to create a forum for the development of ideas that will lead to sustaining the health and productivity of the Poudre River.