Encourages community to donate to support long-term river recovery plans
In fall 2020, the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome fires devastated Northern Colorado’s watersheds, burning for 100 days and consuming over 400,000 acres of timber and vegetation. The NoCoFires Fund is working to restore the Cache la Poudre and Big Thompson watersheds by getting our vital rivers and streams back to sustaining wildlife, recreation, and agriculture, as well as supplying high-quality drinking water for 1 million people.
New Belgium Brewing’s flagship brand, Fat Tire, understands the need for clean water firsthand; the process to create the U.S.’s first certified carbon neutral beer begins with clean, mountain water that comes from the same watershed affected by last year’s fires. Water quality and consistency are crucial to the production of craft beer, and Fat Tire has a long history of returning water used in its brewing process back into the river cleaner than it was before.
“Water is not only the most important ingredient in beer, it’s the lifeblood of everything we love about Northern Colorado, from our world-class recreation to a nationally recognized economy,” said Katie Wallace, director of social and environmental impact at New Belgium Brewing. “The devastating impacts of fires can last for years as forests grow and the health of the landscape returns. The region faces a significant challenge to mitigate the long-term effects this fire will have on the watershed.”
The Community Foundation – with support from Bohemian Foundation – launched the NoCoFires Fundto respond to the impact of the fires. The Fund will focus on mitigation, address critical needs such as flooding in the burn areas, and long-term recovery work with a coalition of partners representing both government and nonprofit sectors.
These partners have identified mitigation projects – covering between 6,000 to 10,000 acres – at a cost of $20 to $35 million that will take several years to complete. Both the acreage and dollar amount could increase, depending on the severity of this spring’s runoff.
“Our goal is to raise $1 million, then further leverage this to secure three to four timesthat amount ($3M – $4M) in state and federal assistance, bringing additional recovery dollars into Larimer County, “said Ella Fahrlander, chief engagement officer for the Foundation. “We will begin providing funding this spring to help the ‘boots on the ground’ be responsive to evolving needs as additional government dollars arrive.”
To date, approximately $750,000 has been raised, and Fat Tire wants to help by leveraging the impact of its donations and encouraging others in the community to donate. To learn more and contribute to NoCoFires Fund, visit https://nocofoundation.org/fires/.