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May 2019

In Memory of William “Bill” Fischer

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Bill Fischer

In memory of William “Bill” Fischer

The Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) staff, Board of Directors, and the Northern Colorado water community as a whole is mourning the loss of William “Bill” Fischer, who passed on May 7, 2019, after a brief illness.

Fischer, an attorney, had recently retired from the firm Fischer, Brown, Bartlett & Gunn, P.C., in Fort Collins. In his law practice, he represented mutual ditch and reservoir companies, municipalities, water users associations, water districts and individual water users.

Bill was a supporter of the PHA’s and the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA). He also served on several boards related to natural resources, water rights and water quality issues in Northern Colorado, including the Water Quality Advisory Committee of the Larimer-Weld Council of Governments, the Natural Resources Advisory Board for the City of Fort Collins and the Fort Collins Water Board.

Bill’s life will be celebrated at 2 p.m. on Monday, May 20, at Windsong Estate Event Center, 2901 Saddler Blvd., Fort Collins. Memorials are to the United Way of Larimer County or the charity of the donor’s choice.

Mothers Day

4 Fun Mother’s Day Adventures in the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area

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Take your mom on a Mother’s Day adventure she will never forget! (Photo by  Gabriele Woolever)


Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful mommas out there! It’s a wonderful time of year in Northern Colorado to get outside and enjoy the outdoors as a family. The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) has some incredible natural, cultural and historical resources that make a Mother’s Day Adventure possible for the entire family.

Check out some of the ideas we have put together for your family this Mother’s Day:

  1. Bike the Poudre Trail! PHA’s Pedaling the Poudre program has some great self-guided routes that are appropriate for all skill levels!
  2. Get wet in the river or take a stroll down the Poudre Trail, while remembering to Play It Safe.
  3. Head to Picnic Rock for a beautiful family lunch on the river.
  4. Take mom to River Bluffs Open Space for a nature hike and some birding. Bring your binoculars! The Poudre River Trail at River Bluffs Open Space connects to 21 beautiful miles of trail running southeast through wildlife areas and parks.


About Poudre Heritage Alliance
The goal of the Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) is through interpretive and educational programming and media to build a deeper understanding of the Poudre River’s national significance including its role in influencing water development, water law, and water management.  
Poudre River Fish Ladder at Watson Lake

Poudre Heritage Alliance Collaborates to Improve Poudre River Ecosystem Health

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A new fish ladder (left side) on the Poudre River at the Bellvue-Watson State Wildlife Area & Watson Lake will reconnect more than 2 miles of the Poudre River, improving ecosystem health and fish habitat (Photo by Jordan Williams).


On May 1, 2019, Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) staff joined with partners and community members at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the completion of a new fish ladder at the Bellvue-Watson State Wildlife Area and Watson Lake. The new structure helps to connect fragmented sections of the Poudre River and improve aquatic habitat for fish.

This fish ladder will help the following species:
· Longnose dace
· Longnose suckers
· White suckers
· Brown trout
· Rainbow trout

“Outside of the benefits to aquatic life, this project is important as it showcases the feasibility of fish passage at these large diversion structures and will hopefully further momentum for these types of projects,” said CPW Aquatic Biologist Kyle Battige. “It also serves as an example of the collaboration and team effort from multiple entities that these large-scale conservation projects will have to have in order to be successful in today’s world.”

Kathleen Benedict, Executive Director of the Poudre Heritage Alliance, helps to unveil the new fish ladder at Watson Lake.

PHA will provide a grant to fund the interpretive signage at the site of the fish ladder to help tell the story of water management in the area and how diversion structures still have many uses today, including for agricultural users like project partners Morning Fresh Dairy and Noosa.

Signage and interpretation is an important educational program of the Poudre Heritage Alliance. By supporting facility enhancements along the trails, the Cache la Poudre River NHA will continue to be a premiere local and national attraction as the trail corridor truly becomes a cohesive Heritage Trail.

We hope this will be the first of many fish ladders along the Poudre River that can help to improve the health of the river’s ecosystem.

This project was made possible by Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW), along with funding partners noosa yoghurt, Northern Water, Morning Fresh Dairy, Poudre Heritage Alliance and Trout Unlimited.




For more information about PHA and this project please contact Megan Maiolo-Heath, Communications Coordinator, at