@DenverWater and watershed health

Hayman burn area via The Denver Post
Hayman burn area via The Denver Post

From CBS Denver:

Denver Water is teaming up with federal and state forest services to take care of water sheds and keep drinking water clean.

That means logging dead trees in some of the areas around Denver Water reservoirs.

The company says it’s about health forests and clean water.

“The purpose of these treatments is not simply to plant trees and create a more forested area, but it is to create a more resilient ecosystem so that when fires do occur, they’re not occurring at the catastrophic level that will significantly impact our facilities,” said Denver Water CEO Jim Lochhead.

The agencies started working together in 2010 after some wildfires broke out including the Hayman Fire.

From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

The “Forests to Faucets” deal signed by Denver Water, the Colorado State Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S. Forest Service builds on a $33 million 2010 initiative that led to thinning on 48,000 acres of public land, utility officials said.

“We’ve seen tremendous results during the first five years of this partnership and we are excited to now expand the program to include private lands,” Denver Water manager Jim Lochhead said.

Logging contractors enlisted in the effort clear trees from beetle-ravaged forests where large wildfires and erosion threaten water supplies. Denver Water officials have said investing in forest health helps avoid having to un-clog reservoirs and water delivery systems later at far greater cost.

Water providers increasingly get involved in forest health because, with bug-infested trees dead and dying on millions of acres, weakened soils can erode, especially after fire and heavy rain. This means more sediment slumping into streams, rivers and reservoirs.

The idea is to reduce risks of large wildfires by creating spaces between trees in forests.

Federal forest service regional director Brian Ferebee called the partnership with Denver Water “trend-setting.”

“Together we will proactively work to conserve, maintain and restore watersheds, ecosystems and the services they provide Americans,” Ferebee said in a prepared statement.

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