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Protecting forests and watersheds year-round

Prescribed fire
Prescribed fire is a technique used to reduce debris that can fuel large wildfires.

Arbor Day is Friday, April 27, and it gives all of us a chance to reflect on the critical role trees — and forests — play in our world.

To help protect forest health in our critical watersheds, Denver Water partners with the Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service, Colorado State Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service in an ongoing effort called From Forests to Faucets.

The partnership began in response to the costly Buffalo Creek and Hayman wildfires of 1996 and 2002, respectively.

After the fires, flash floods raced through the burn areas and cost Denver Water more than $27 million to repair infrastructure, remove sediment and restore land around key drainages that flow into Strontia Springs and Cheesman reservoirs.

Planted trees
More than a million trees have been planted in burn areas as part of From Forests to Faucets.

“Those big fires taught us that investing in healthy forests is less expensive than dealing with the aftereffects of a catastrophic wildfire,” said Jim Lochhead, Denver Water CEO. “When trees are destroyed, more sediment flows down the mountains, which causes water quality problems, dam safety concerns and takes up space in our reservoirs.”

Since 2010, From Forests to Faucets funding has paid for forest treatments across 48,000 acres, including planting more than a million new trees in the burned areas in our priority watersheds.

Working together serves as a win-win for all four partners — and the forests.