Community Foundation launches initiative to restore watersheds

Bohemian Foundation to match first $250,000 for NoCoFires Fund

Everyone loves a comeback story.

Northern Colorado’s two primary watersheds – the Poudre and the Big Thompson – each face a long, hard recovery from the damage caused by our recent catastrophic wildfires.

After giving careful consideration to the funding needs of our community, and with the support of the Bohemian Foundation, the Foundation launched the NoCoFires Fund to get our vital rivers and streams back to sustaining wildlife, recreation, and agriculture, as well as supplying high-quality drinking water for 1,000,000 people.

Here’s how it will work:

  • Bohemian Foundation has pledged to match the first $250,000 in donations made to the NoCoFires Fund.
  • Using that initial funding, the Community Foundation will leverage additional grant dollars from private, state, and federal sources. 
  • The long-term goal for the NoCoFires Fund is to raise $1 million for continuing watershed restoration needs.

Early estimates show that mitigation in the Poudre River watershed alone will cost around $50 million. Cameron Peak and East Troublesome Fire, the two largest wildfires in Colorado history, together burned over 400,000 acres that impact both Poudre and Big Thompson watersheds and communities downstream.

It’s time to focus on mitigation, address the critical needs, and begin long-term recovery work. The Community Foundation has the track record, leadership, and relationships to positively impact Northern Colorado. The Community Foundation will not charge an administrative fee on this fund.

Help the rivers make a comeback!

When fire burns…

The unusually high temperatures remove the protective vegetative cover from the landscape, making the burn area more vulnerable to severe flooding and erosion. After the 2012 High Park Fire that burned over 87,000 acres in the Poudre River watershed, we subsequently experienced the 2013 Colorado floods – the costliest natural disaster in Colorado history. In the wake of the recent wildfires, experts believe that the greatest damage to the affected watersheds will occur over the next 10 precipitation events, and the most crucial preventative efforts must happen by July 4, 2021.


Cameron Peak Fire impacts

1,000+ river miles
124+ trail miles
40,000+ acres of designated Wilderness Areas
32 miles of Wild and Scenic River corridor
Three watersheds
Five reservoirs that store and deliver water to the Front Range for agriculture and drinking water
16 mountain communities and neighborhoods in the burn area or immediately adjacent to it
185,000 irrigated acres rely on the Poudre River

Data source: Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed


On NOCO NOW podcast

Foundation’s own Ella Fahrlander, chief engagement officer, and Mark Driscoll, chair of the Board of Trustees, share details of the NoCoFires Fund watershed recovery plan.



Download the press release

Download the Fat Tire press release