Larimer County, Broomfield Finalize Innovative Water Agreement

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LOVELAND, Colo. – Larimer County Department of Natural Resources and the City and County of Broomfield have finalized an innovative water-sharing agreement that keeps a working farm in production while helping fill municipal water needs. The deal closed Tuesday, August 22.

In 2016, Larimer County purchased a farm and its associated water rights southwest of Berthoud with the goal of keeping the farm in active production while offsetting the cost through a water-sharing agreement. After studies by experts in the fields of water, engineering, economics and agriculture, Larimer County determined the amount of water the farm would need to remain viable in perpetuity. Larimer County and Broomfield then entered into an agreement where some of the unneeded water would be purchased by Broomfield outright and a portion of the water would be shared by the two counties in drought years.

This agreement, known as an Alternative Transfer Method (ATM), is the first of its kind in Colorado where water is shared from agricultural to municipal use in perpetuity. ATMs are promoted in the 2015 Colorado Water Plan as a way to provide drought water to cities without permanently drying up productive farmland.

Check out the full article here.

New study to show massive volume of water Colorado gives up to other states

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Check out an interesting article about the complexities of water management: inter-state compacts, in-stream storage, building reservoirs, Western Slope versus Eastern Slope, agricultural/municipal/industrial water use, and more!

New study to show massive volume of water Colorado gives up to other states

(Picture above: South Platte in Denver–Photo by Mr.TinDC via Creative commons license, Flickr)

Northern Arapaho Tribe Three-Part Video Series Released by Poudre Heritage Alliance

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Northern Arapaho Tribe Three-Part Video Series Released by Poudre Heritage Alliance

The Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) has posted three online video interviews of current Northern Arapaho Tribal Elders that chronicle the people, places, and events that shaped the history of Northern Colorado’s first inhabitants. All three videos can be found on PHA’s website: The clips include interviews with Hubert Friday, a descendant of the famous “Chief” William Friday, and other tribal elders Crawford White and Mark Soldier Wolf. The short 2-4 minute segments were recorded, produced, and edited by Slate Communications.

The videos were created to tell the story of the Poudre River Council Tree location and the historical importance of the river from the Northern Arapaho Tribe’s perspective. Kathleen Benedict, Executive Director of the Poudre Heritage Alliance, explained, “The ultimate goal of the videos is to tell the story of the Northern Arapaho Tribe in the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area from the tribe’s point of view.” The funding to make the videos in conjunction with Slate Communications came from PHA’s federal funds through the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service.

QR codes on the sign at the Council Tree site in the City of Fort Collins Arapaho Bend Natural Area will allow people to connect to the videos while experiencing the river themselves. The Council Tree site itself was used by Native American tribes prior to the 1860s. This area of the Poudre River Valley, where Boxelder Creek joins the Poudre River, was a meeting area – where all 13 Arapaho tribal bands would gather periodically due to the lush grass and abundant game.

PHA and City representatives met with Northern Arapaho Tribal Elders on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming last year to develop the Council Tree sign after PHA Heritage Culturalist Volunteers helped identify the location of the site. Although the actual Council Tree burned down years ago, the site location is still just as important to the Northern Arapaho people to this day. (See a previous article in the Coloradoan about the Council Tree dedication ceremony.)

For more information about PHA or CALA, please contact the Poudre Heritage Alliance Office at or 970-295-4851. DVDs of the video series can be ordered for $20 each by visiting PHA’s Contact Us page.

Above Photo: Heritage Culturalist volunteer doing research on Council Tree site

Poudre River Nonprofit Hosts Bipartisan Engagement Event for Colorado’s Federal Legislators

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On August 17th, 2017, the Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) hosted an Engagement Event with community partners and legislative staff from both sides of the aisle in an effort to showcase the importance of projects and partnerships within the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA). At the event, six staffers from Colorado’s Democratic and Republican federal legislative offices listened to presentations from and interacted with twelve local community partners. The community partners presented six different projects and programs that PHA helps make possible through grant-funding, staff support, and stakeholder engagement.

Staff members from Congressman Ken Buck, Congressman Jared Polis, Senator Michael Bennet, and Senator Cory Gardner’s offices attended the event. They held conversations with and listened to presentations from the Poudre Fire Authority, the City of Fort Collins, Poudre Landmarks Foundation, the Greeley History Museum, Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital, BHA Design, and PHA’s very own Heritage Culturalist Volunteers. During the event, community partners had five minutes each to introduce their project or program and discuss PHA’s involvement.

The Engagement Event showcased PHA’s active role in the community to the Congressional staff and reaffirmed the importance of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area to Northern Colorado. Projects and programs showcased at the event included PHA’s Wellness Program, the Smithsonian H20 Today Exhibit at the Greeley History Museum, the Fort Collins Water Works building restoration, the water trail project with the Poudre Fire Authority, and the Heritage Trail markers with the Fort Collins Whitewater Park.


For more information about PHA or CALA, please contact the Poudre Heritage Alliance Office at or 970-295-4851.

Above Photo: Heritage Culturalist Volunteers with Kathleen Benedict, PHA Executive Director, and staff members from Congressman Jared Polis’ office

Nature Conservancy’s Phantom Canyon Preserve Highlights Poudre River’s Heritage

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(Excerpt from article)


While most visitors to the Phantom Canyon preserve come for the beauty of the landscape, few realize the historical significance around them: It was in this watershed where Western water law was born.

In the 1870s a drought led to overdrawing of the water in the Cache la Poudre River. Irrigation canals dried up, causing a dispute between two of the water users – upstream farmers near Fort Collins and downstream farmers in the Union Colony commune founded by Horace Greeley, famous for having declared, “Go West, young man!”

The issue was settled in court in favor of the first water users – the Union Colony commune – a decision that formed the bedrock principle of Western water law: “First in time, first in right.” In recognition of this, Congress declared the Cache la Poudre River a National Heritage Area*** in 1996.”

***The exact boundaries of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area lie to the south and east of Phantom Canyon Preserve. The Heritage Area designation begins along the eastern edge of the Roosevelt National Forest near the mouth of the Poudre Canyon and extends through 45 miles of the river until its confluence with the South Platte River east of Greeley, Colorado. It was designated as National River Corridor in 1996, and then as an official National Heritage Area in 2009.

For the full article, check out the Nature Conservancy’s website here.

Smithsonian Exhibition Exploring the Global Water Story

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Smithsonian Exhibition Exploring the Global Water Story
Scheduled to Open at the Greeley History Museum

GREELEY, CO— Water is the most vital resource for life on Earth; no living thing exists without it. “H2O Today”—a new exhibition at the Greeley History Museum, 714 8th St.—examines the diversity and challenges of global water sources and promotes conversation, creativity and innovation through art, science and technology. Organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), the exhibition will be available locally from Saturday, Sept. 2 through Sunday, May 20, 2018.

“H2O Today” dives into what it means to live on a planet where 71 percent of the surface is covered in water, yet less than 3 percent is drinkable. The exhibition highlights the crucial role it plays in daily life through water power, industry, agriculture and home use. Visitors will learn the affects climate change, population growth and pollution have on the water cycle and weather patterns as well as the creative ways people around the world are tackling the challenges of water shortages and pollution.

Local artifacts on display include items related to the Greeley Ice and Storage Company, and a water clock used to measure water levels at the head gate for Union Colony Ditch No.3. Visitors will also have an opportunity to learn about irrigation and use an example treadle pump to see how the pump moves water.

The “H2O Today” exhibition is part of the Smithsonian’s Think Water Initiative to raise awareness of water as a critical resource for life through exhibitions, educational resources and public programs. The public can participate in the conversation on social media at #thinkWater.

“H20 Today” was adapted by SITES from an exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York City ( and the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul (, in collaboration with Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland; The Field Museum in Chicago; Instituto Sangari in Sao Paulo; National Museum of Australia in Canberra; Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada; San Diego Natural History Museum; and Science Centre Singapore with PUB Singapore.

The exhibit is sponsored locally by the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area and the 501(c)3 non-profit management entity of the heritage area, the Poudre Heritage Alliance.

For hours of operation and information about this and other exhibits on display at the Greeley History Museum, visit


SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition descriptions and tour schedules, visit

Investments in conservation easements reap benefits for Colorado

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Similar to public investments in National Heritage Areas that have 5 to 1 returns for local economies in Colorado, conservation easements also highlight significant benefits for communities throughout the state. Here are a few key excerpts from an article by Mary Guiden in CSU’s SOURCE:

“A new analysis from Colorado State University found that each dollar invested by the state for these easements produced benefits of between $4 and $12 for Coloradans. Public benefits include clean water and air, scenic views, access to things produced by local farms and ranches products, and wildlife habitat: all things that contribute to a high quality of life in the state.”

The study focused on Colorado’s investments in conservation easements funded through a tax credit program and Great Outdoors Colorado. The voter-approved program uses a portion of lottery proceeds to help with efforts to protect wildlife habitat, river corridors, productive agricultural lands, iconic scenic views. It has also created trails and open spaces for Coloradans to enjoy.

Study co-author Michael Menefee, an environmental review coordinator with CSU’s Colorado Natural Heritage Program, said the investments are filling a vital need for conservation of identified priorities on private lands. “An active partnership between private landowners and public policy can achieve what neither acting alone can accomplish,” he added.”

The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area and the Poudre Heritage Alliance have partnered with Great Outdoors Colorado in the past, with the upcoming Eastman Memorial Natural Area development in Greeley serving as the next project in this partnership.

Check out the full article here at CSU’s SOURCE

*Photo of Pleasant Valley in Bellvue, CO by Michael Menefee

Field Trip Grant Program - Kids scenic view

Over 50 Community Assistance Programs Offered by National Park Service!

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News release from NPS: 

We have a new resource for National Park Service staff and partners!

Today the National Park Service launched its Directory of NPS Community Assistance Programs.

The 54 programs outlined in the Directory provide funding, technical assistance, and other resources to community groups for historic preservation, investment in historic sites, recreation and improved access to public lands, and education and professional development in and outside national parks.

Community assistance programs of the National Park Service empower local organizations to advance historic preservation and conservation work in rural and urban communities across the United States. These programs serve as economic drivers, transforming underutilized places into community assets that enhance quality of life and boost local economies through tourism and job creation.

View the directory here: Community assistance program website

Thank you!

CommunityAssist Team

Heather Scotten Passchier,

Elle O’Casey, Elle_O’

Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program
Washington D.C. 20240
NPS Stewardship Institute
Woodstock, VT 05091

Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks: Fund National Heritage Areas

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Excerpt from Article: (Check out the full post here)

“C.   Enact Program Legislation to Permanently Authorize and Fund the National Heritage Areas 

The National Heritage Area approach has a thirty-year track record of developing strong regional partnerships for resource conservation and community prosperity. Today there are 49 National Heritage Areas from Alabama to Alaska. Program legislation has been introduced with bi-partisan support for over a decade and now is the time to make a push for its passage.”

Poudre Heritage Alliance and the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area Announce Three Large Grant Recipients for 2017 Totaling $29,212

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May 30, 2017

The Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) and the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) have given out their large grant awards for 2017 to the following local projects: the Historic Windmill installation and interpretation at Centennial Village in Greeley; the restoration of the James Ross Proving-up House at the Farm at Lee Martinez Park in Fort Collins; and the Nature Rides Program through the Growing Project and the Boys and Girls Club in Northwest Fort Collins. The total award to all three recipients will equal $29,212 out of PHA’s budget, which largely originates from federal funding sources. See below for more information about these projects:

Historic Windmill Installation: Centennial Village Museum, established as a Centennial-Bicentennial community project in 1976 adjacent to Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley, CO, was designed as a living history site to interpret the architectural and cultural heritage of Greeley, Weld County and northeastern Colorado, The Historic Windmill project would repair and re-install a Steel Eclipse Type WG (worm gear) Fairbanks-Morse and Company windmill that includes a stock tank with a recirculating water system in the High Plains section of the Village. The windmill interprets the delivery of water for domestic use, stock raising, and irrigating crops in the rural irrigated and dryland districts of Weld County. An interpretive panel adjacent to the windmill plus curriculum materials for presentations at the annual spring and fall History festivals at the Village will be developed as a part of this project.

Proving-up House Restoration: Saved from demolition in 2005, the City of Fort Collins moved the historic 1890 James Ross “proving-up” house to storage until an appropriate permanent placement for educational purposes could be found. The only documented proving-up house known to exist in Larimer County, the Ross House has survived for 127 years. The Homestead Act of 1862 was adopted to get vast government lands west of the Mississippi into private hands for settlement and development. The Act mandated homesteaders had to build a small dwelling, live in it, improve the land, and after five years, for an $18 filing fee, they owned that quarter section of land. These houses, sometimes called “claim or filing shanties” often had no foundation and were portable, to be able to “prove-up” other holdings. Last fall, the Ross House was relocated to The Farm at Lee Martinez Park along the Cache la Poudre River in Fort Collins, where it will be restored and interpreted for the enjoyment and education of all citizens.

Nature Rides Program: The Growing Project (TGP) is developing a new, educational program that connects youth from The Boys and Girls Club to natural areas in Northwest Fort Collins for activities related to the watershed and local ecology with Growing Project educators and experts. TGP will work with Bike Fort Collins and the Bike Co-op to secure bikes and bicycle education for youth participants to ride from their facilities to the natural areas with TGP staff. Part of programming will include occasional service days that will partner with The City of Fort Collins to do clean up in the natural areas and learn about river health from City experts. Youth will also have the opportunity to invite family members on these rides.

More about CALA and PHA: The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area is one of 49 National Heritage Areas (NHA) in the United States. NHAs are places where natural, cultural, historic, and scenic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally distinctive landscape arising from patterns of human activity shaped by geography. CALA stretches 45 miles along the curves and bends of the hard-working Poudre River from the eastern border of the rugged Roosevelt National Forest, down through the blossoming cities of Fort Collins, Windsor, and Greeley, until the vital water resource conjoins with the South Platte River in the Colorado eastern plains. As the managing organization behind CALA, the Poudre Heritage Alliance serves the local communities of Larimer and Weld County by building a deeper understanding of the Poudre River’s national significance as it relates to water law and water management. PHA and CALA bring together residents, private organizations, and government entities behind this common goal, while also enticing tourists with the recreational, environmental, and historical points of interest throughout the Heritage Area. PHA programs and initiatives that support these efforts include volunteer trainings, grant-funded projects, and outreach events that help educate people about water history and the importance of the Poudre River corridor today.


For more information about PHA or CALA, please contact the Poudre Heritage Alliance Office
at or 970-295-4851.