Editor’s note: Introducing a new monthly column “Life in the Watershed” by Bill Banks, executive director of the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District.
As the executive director of the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District, I am extremely pleased to be working for an organization that takes on the very important task of assuring we have a clean and sustainable watershed in our region. Improving the health of our waterways is something that benefits us all because it helps assure a high standard of water quality, excellent stormwater management, while creating recreational opportunities, and improving natural habitat for wildlife.
A watershed is an area of land that drains all the streams and rainfall to a common outlet such as a reservoir or any point along a stream channel. Look down, you’re standing in one!
The Fountain Creek Watershed runs 927 square miles along the Front Range draining into the Arkansas River at Pueblo and ultimately to the Gulf of Mexico. The watershed’s boundaries are defined by the shape of the land — Palmer Divide to the north, Pikes Peak to the west, and a minor divide 20 miles east of Colorado Springs. Each month, we’d like to share information about our watershed, its health, inhabitants, and its future.
ABOUT THE DISTRICT
Healthy, clean, safe, waterways are worthy aspirations. To that end, the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District was created in 2009 to manage, administer and fund improvements in the watershed. The District’s charge is to lessen the severity of flooding, erosion, and sedimentation, address water-quality issues, improve drainage, and foster stewardship for protection of open space, and develop recreational opportunities. The District also is concerned with impacts on downstream neighbors.
El Paso and Pueblo Counties and the member governments of Palmer Lake, Monument, Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Green Mountain Falls, Fountain, and the City of Pueblo, make up the District. Nine directors, representing Pueblo County, El Paso County, the cities of Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Fountain, make up the Board of Directors. The Board works alongside a Technical Advisory Committee, Citizen’s Advisory Group, and Outreach Subcommittee to protect, preserve and enhance our watershed.
Since its creation 10 years ago, the District has created and managed many projects and programs that positively impact our watershed. It also increases awareness of watershed health while inspiring thousands of volunteers to take action.
The comprehensive planning projects have included everything from creating a Fountain Creek Corridor Restoration Master Plan designed to coordinate efforts that addresses problems in the watershed, to partnering with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to study Fountain Creek’s threatened fish species.
Other areas of focus include:
• Flood control, drainage, and floodplain management
• Fountain Creek, Cheyenne Creek, and Monument Creek watershed restoration and water rights protections
• Post-fire water-quality evaluation downstream of the Waldo Canyon and the Black Forest wildfires
More than a dozen construction projects have been identified, planned, and implemented, including:
• Frost Ranch, Masciantonio Trust, and Barr Farm bank stabilizations to prevent more than 120,000 tons of range and farm land from entering the waterways each year
• Highway 47 and Pinon Bridge bank stabilization and channel realignments to prevent more than 50,000 tons of range and farm land from entering the waterways each year
Creek Week, launched in 2014, encourages citizens to help remove litter and debris from our watershed, raise awareness for watershed health, and fosters a sense of community. Creek Week is a nine-day, watershed-wide cleanup that happens each fall beginning the last Saturday in September through the first Sunday in October. Service groups, neighborhood associations, schools, churches, and individuals help make their watershed safer and cleaner for all to enjoy. The District and its generous sponsors provide supplies and educational materials for a safe and fun cleanup. For more information on Creek Week, visit www.fountaincreekweek.com or email email@example.com.
More than 20 breweries and tap houses are members of the, “Fountain Creek Brewshed® Alliance.” They sponsor educational events that connect the communities within the Fountain Creek Watershed through the shared values of healthy watersheds that promote locally made beer.
For more information on the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District and the Fountain Creek Brewshed® Alliance, visit www.fountain-crk.org. Or contact Executive Director Bill Banks, firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-428-6030.
Maintaining social distancing and avoiding groups is mandatory. Please use common sense to try to engage in the necessary recreation you need, as close to home as possible. Not only is outdoor exercise allowed, it is encouraged. Take advantage of the healing power of nature — in your own backyard or on a walk. Just remember to follow local public health guidance and keep six feet or more from others outside your family. Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer once you return from your adventure. Getting outdoors, being in nature and moving our bodies is good for everyone!
Bill Banks is the executive director of the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District. The District was established in 2009, to manage, administer and fund capital improvements necessary to maintain critical infrastructure and improve the watershed for the benefit of everyone in the Fountain Creek watershed.