From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):
a first-of-its-kind Colorado State University project will try to gain a better understanding of the Poudre River and how climate change and industrial, agricultural, energy and urban development within its watershed affect its waters.
The Poudre begins in pristine wilderness, but flows through a variety of developed landscapes on its 126-mile run to the South Platte River. Scientists want to find out exactly how those uses of land above the river’s banks affect its water quality and flow.
When it’s complete, the project, called the Water Innovation Network, will place 60 water quality and water flow monitoring stations along the river from its headwaters in Rocky Mountain National Park to the Poudre’s confluence with the South Platte River east of Greeley. The stations will send real-time data to CSU, where scientists can measure the water flow, pollutants and other information as rain storms and development near the river’s banks affect its waters.
It will take researchers about five years to put most of the stations in place, and up to eight stations are expected to be installed by the end of the year, said project lead Mazdak Arabi, CSU assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.
“We want to know precisely what the condition of our water is because we drink that water, we use it in industrial processes, we use it to irrigate our crops,” said John Stokes, Fort Collins Natural Areas and Poudre River Sustainability Director. “The more we know about the qualities of that water, the better-equipped we’re going to be to steward that water, to take care of it, to improve the quality of that water and to use it wisely.”