Big Thompson Watershed Coalition fundraiser, September 22, 2019

Big Thompson River near RMNP

From The Loveland Reporter-Herald (Pamela Johnson):

Coalition shifting focus to the future

Since the 2013 floods, the Big Thompson Watershed coalition has been leveraging grant money to rebuild and improve the river corridor, making it healthier and more resilient.

Now, the nonprofit is shifting its focus to resiliency for the future, to improvements that will prepare the community for future flood and fire impacts and to ensure long-term river health.

As part of that effort, the coalition is reaching out into the community to make new connections, holding a fundraiser with a goal of $50,000 and has a community bio-blitz planned…

Fundraiser

The Big Thompson Watershed Coalition is a nonprofit that has been operating for five years on grant money and disaster-recovery funds available after the 2013 floods. Two full-time employees handle all the community outreach, grant searches and more behind the scenes for the grant-funded projects.

To help keep a staff of two going into the future and to meet the organization’s operations needs, the coalition has a fundraiser planned for Sunday, Sept. 22, at Sweetheart Winery.

The event, which costs $60 per ticket, will feature dinner, a live cellist, fly-fishing demonstrators, tours of an adjacent watershed project, an art auction and time to soak up the river…

The theme centers on “inspirations and aspirations” of the river, and the event gives people a first-hand look at one of the completed river projects. Speakers also will talk about watershed issues…

Tickets are available by making a donation online at bigthompson.co/donate or by contacting courtney.gutman@bigthompson.co…

New connections

A major project for the watershed forum in the coming year is to create a plan for the Big Thompson River for 15 miles through Loveland with a $180,000 grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board. The coalition will lead a team looking at river health as well as the community’s needs and wants surrounding both recreation as well as responsible development along Colo. 402.

The coalition has launched an advisory committee that includes Loveland and Larimer County officials and likely will include ditch companies as well as members of the coalition board. They plan to reach out into the community for input on needs and desires and to consider a balance between those and river health.

The goal is to create a clear understanding of the river corridor and its many demands and to end with a prioritized list of specific projects that are feasible, could be funded with grants and achieve that balance, Gutman explained…

Community bio-blitz

The coalition is looking for 10 to 30 community members to participate in a bio-blitz, which is where groups fan out over different sections of the river at the same time and collect data on water quality, plants and bugs. The idea is to have a “flash understanding” of the ecosystem that morning, Sept. 28.

The Big Thompson Watershed Coalition will not be only agency participating. In fact, volunteers will be collecting data over three different watersheds in the region and then meet in Lyons to share ideas and to have a celebration.

The hope is that those residents, once taught to collect data, would be willing to volunteer with another piece of the coalition’s long-term goal — monitoring the success of completed projects…

Volunteers can sign up at bigthompson.co or by emailing courtney.gutman@bigthompson.co…

Big Thompson Watershed Coalition

Fundraiser: 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at Sweetheart Winery, including music, art auction, tours of a project site, speakers, dinner and drinks. $60 per ticket, available by making a donation online at bigthompson.co/donate or by contacting courtney.gutman@bigthompson.co

Bio-blitz: 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, different locations on the Big Thompson River. Volunteers can sign up at bigthompson.co or by emailing courtney.gutman@bigthompson.co

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