Middle Boulder Creek Watershed Planning


Version 1.2

6/27/2016 DRAFT

Middle Boulder Creek Watershed Planning

Middle Boulder Creek Coalition

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re sure to get there.” (Anonymous)

“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” (Aldo Leopold)

“The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road – the one less traveled by – offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.” (Rachel Carson)


Significant changes are occurring in and around the Middle Boulder Creek watershed. The cumulative impacts of each change on the larger landscape are poorly understood. We propose the need for a planning process that looks at the watershed and the surrounding area that is ecologically tied to Middle Boulder Creek.


  • To protect the ecological functions and integrity of the Middle Boulder Creek Watershed and surrounding lands that have an ecological connection.


  • To be able to effectively conduct planning and evaluate land use proposals in terms of not only their content but also their context within the Middle Boulder Creek Watershed.


Significant changes are occurring within and around the Middle Boulder Creek Watershed. The analysis of these changes is generally limited to the physical site of the proposed change and sometimes its immediate surroundings. The context of the proposed change, and how it could impact the larger landscape, is often ignored or under evaluated generally due to a lack of knowledge.

There are many things that move within and through the landscape. The expansion of the human infrastructure, including homes, transportation systems, trail systems, and power supply, increasingly fragment the landscape. Being cognizant of maintaining effective habitat and connectivity within the landscape will help maintain biodiversity and ecosystem functions.

Geographic Scope

There are two areas of interest (see map). The first is the Middle Boulder Creek Watershed, which is the core planning area. The second is an area that has known ecological ties to the Middle Boulder Creek Watershed and is called the secondary planning area.


Procedural Avenues

Following are some of the overarching planning efforts within the watershed that need continual involvement:

  • Boulder County Comprehensive Plan
  • Town of Nederland Master Plan
  • Forest Plan for Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests
  • City of Boulder Water Quality Planning for Barker Reservoir and Middle Boulder Creek
  • CPW Wildlife Conservation Strategy
  • Eldora Environmental Preservation Plan
  • Eldora Mountain Resort Master Plan

Smaller-scale plans that will need to be developed and/or participation:

  • Hessie-Lost Lake Special Interest Area
  • Forest Service Travel Management Plans
  • Forest Service Forest Management Plan
  • Boulder County Open Space Management Plans
  • Development Proposals
  • Wildfire Mitigation Planning and Actions

Agents of Landscape Change

Following are some of the threats that need to be addressed:

  • Human Population Growth and Development
  • Increased Recreation
  • Climate Change
  • Habitat Fragmentation
  • Landscape Bottlenecks and Constraints to Connectivity – Natural and Man-Made
  • Forest Management
  • Fire
  • Flood

Research and Data Gathering

Following are some of the research and data gathering needs:

  • GIS Mapping
    • Development, Roads, Trails
    • Vegetation/Rare Plants/Significant Plant Communities
    • Hydrology
    • Geology
    • Soils
    • Known Wildlife Movement
    • Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Species
  • New Studies of Wildlife Movement
  • Water Quality – Existing Data and New Data Collection
  • Archaeology – Existing Data and New Data Collection


Following are some of the agencies that need to be involved in the planning process:

  • Boulder County
    • Commissioners
    • BCPOS
    • Land Use
  • Forest Service
    • Boulder District Ranger
    • Boulder District Biologist
    • Boulder District Recreation Planner
    • Forest Supervisor
  • City of Boulder
    • Water Quality Board
    • Open Space and Mountain Parks
    • Mayor
    • Council
  • Nederland
    • Council
    • PROSAB
    • Sustainability Committee
  • CPW
    • District Wildlife Manager
  • Congressman Jared Polis
  • Senator Michael Bennet