Summer 2023: The Healthy Headwaters Issue

The Natural Infrastructure and Healthy Headwaters Issue

In the face of climate change and population growth, wildfire, drought and flooding, many in Colorado are looking to invest in natural infrastructure, or the beneficial functions healthy natural systems provide, to boost resilience for both communities and ecosystems. Restoration of the state’s headwater systems—where rivers and streams begin flowing—is gaining increased attention. It’s an evolving science and isn’t without challenges, however, and much remains unknown about how changes to these systems will affect downstream water users. View a flipbook of the issue or read articles below. 

Where Messy is Best

July 2023 by Kelly Bastone

As Colorado’s source streams are rapidly changing, researchers, restoration practitioners, and downstream communities alike are looking to the past and learning from more pristine headwater systems to regain resilience.

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Busy as a Beaver
July 17, 2023 by Moe Clark
Coloradans are turning to nature’s master river engineer, beavers, to help inspire design and restore streams, while attempting to capitalize on the recent influx of federal funding. But implementing these low-tech, process-based restoration projects is not without challenges.
Colorado’s Biggest Reservoir Gets a Reprieve
by Jerd Smith
After a series of bleak years, Blue Mesa Reservoir, one of four big federal reservoirs on the Upper Colorado River System, is refilling this summer. While those who rely on the reservoir and the river are relieved, officials warn that a drier future still awaits.
Climate Change Hits Home in Durango
by Jerd Smith
A new study shows how much climate change and drought are impacting Durango’s water supply. Now the city is fast-tracking plans to tap Lake Nighthorse for storage and to boost its water-saving efforts.

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HW Summer 2023 Healthy Watersheds
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