Can a reforestation effort along the Yampa River relieve high-temperature streamflows? Watch the story with Fresh Water News and PBS’ This American Land

In our new partnership, PBS’ This American Land and Fresh Water News travel to the Yampa River Basin, where residents who rely on the river are enlisting community support and volunteers in a tree-planting project to bring down stream temperatures.

Near Steamboat Springs, in recent years, warm summer months have caused such high spikes that recreational access to the Yampa River has been closed in order to protect the fish and wildlife, such as trout and mountain whitefish, that depend on colder waters.

Now, local groups, with the help of an army of volunteers, are taking action to protect the river’s ability to function as both a recreational asset and a vibrant aquatic resource. Last summer and fall was the start of the restoration project, where volunteers planted native cottonwood trees to begin restoring the riparian area alongside the river, and eventually, as the trees grow tall, provide cooling shade to the Yampa. Come join us as we meet the community members who are working to improve water quality on their beloved river.


Jerd Smith is editor of Fresh Water News. She can be reached at 720-398-6474, via email at or @jerd_smith.

Fresh Water News is an independent, non-partisan news initiative of Water Education Colorado. WEco is funded by multiple donors. Our editorial policy and donor list can be viewed at

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