Fish Creek Watershed Wildfire Protection Plan


What Are We Doing?

The City of Steamboat Springs and Mount Werner Water & Sanitation District received a Colorado Water Plan grant to develop a Critical Community Watershed Wildfire Protection Plan (CWP2) for the Fish Creek Basin. This plan looks before, during and after a wildfire to protect the critical drinking water water supply and infrastructure as well as overall watershed health. 

Why Does It Matter?

Wildfires burn vegetation and alter soil properties, causing rainfall to run-off rather than soak in to the soil. With the loss of vegetation and root systems, landscapes can easily erode. Consequently, rainfall in burned watersheds often produces floods that carry debris, sediment, ash, and contaminants into water sources. 

This has implications for water supply. Sediment fills reservoirs, decreasing storage capacities. Debris, sediment, ash and contaminants lower water quality, making the water more difficult and expensive to treat and make safe for drinking and cause unwanted tastes and odors.

Project Area


Contact Us

  1. Julie_Baxter

    Julie Baxter
    Water Resources Manager
    City of Steamboat Springs
    Email Julie Baxter

    Frank Alfone

    Frank Alfone
    General Manager
    Mt. Werner Water
    Email Frank Alfone

The Plan - Protecting Our Water

  • With the increasing frequency and severity of wildfires resulting from the cumulative impacts of climate change, overgrown forests, and pest infestations, managers of surface water supply systems in forested watersheds must address wildfire impacts when planning for water security
  • Steamboat Springs’ water is sourced from the Fish Creek basin, a heavily forested watershed, vulnerable to wildfire. 
  • The basin provides over 90 percent of the community’s drinking water; and, the direct drainage to the Fish Creek Filtration Plant (FCFP) is located entirely within Routt National Forest (RNF).
FishCreek CWP2 Cover

The Fish Creek Critical Community Watershed Wildfire Protection Plan (CWP)2 represents the culmination of these previous efforts. It was conducted for the City, in partnership with the District, and funded by a grant through the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to support objectives outlined in the State Water Plan.  

FishCreekCWP2 CityCouncil 09172019 1
Fish Creek Falls Overview

Project Partners

Routt County
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CO State Forest Service
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Wildfires Burning Across Valley