The 2013 floods were a wakeup call for communities along the Front Range to better manage their watersheds. In the six years since, dozens of restoration projects have improved the health of rivers and creeks throughout Boulder County, but it’s a job that never truly ends.

With that in mind, the Left Hand Watershed Center, St. Vrain Creek Coalition, Big Thompson Watershed Coalition, and Fourmile Watershed Coalition are holding Front Range Watershed Days to inspire the community to connect with their local watersheds and help preserve the critical ecosystems.

“Our data collection has really helped in terms of reconnecting floodplains, reestablishing native vegetation and building in-stream habitat structure that’s needed for fish and bugs to survive,” said Jessica Olson, executive director of the Left Hand Watershed Center. “We’re doing this event to kick-start more regional collaboration and help the average community member engage with their watershed restoration.”

The event will start at 9 a.m. Saturday with participants meeting up with scientists and engineers at each of the four watersheds to help collect data about the health and recovery of the watersheds.

The bio-blasts, as they’re being called, will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and include free lunch. Those interested can sign up at

Directly following the bio-blasts, everyone will meet at La Vern Johnson Park in Lyons for a kind of watershed festival that will include hands-on activities like a bug identification station and interactive water model, as well as opportunities to meet river scientists and learn about watersheds.

While there is no longer space for the Big Thompson watershed bio-blast, there are still spaces available for the Left Hand, St. Vrain and Fourmile watershed bio-blasts.

Those interested helping out on the Four Mile Canyon bio-blast should meet at the Four Mile Fire Department’s Poorman Station, 1740 Fourmile Canyon, Boulder.  Volunteers for the Left Hand Canyon bio-blast should meet .at Buckingham Park on Left Hand Canyon Drive (at the intersection of Left Hand Canyon Drive and Old Stage Road, north of Boulder). Those interested in the St. Vrain Creek Bio-Blast should meet at Sandstone Park, 380 Railroad Ave., Lyons. All meet-ups are at 8:45 a.m.

While the health of all four watersheds has improved since 2013, Olson said many are still fighting against impairments due to mining operations, agricultural diversions and runoff. The data volunteers help to collect Saturday will help the coalitions and  their partners continue to improve the health of each watershed.

“Now we’ve had a chance to reconnect the river to the flood plains, move a lot of the invasive crack willow and build a more resilient corridor for the river,” Olson said. “As a result, we’ve created a system that can withstand future conditions, which could include additional floods and droughts, but really it’s an annual process.”

Source link