Total Project Costs

Ptarmigan Meadows Fuels Reduction Project

The RGHRP received funding through the Colorado Wildfire Risk Reduction Program to create a Fire-Adapted Community through the creation of a fuelbreak surrounding Ptarmigan Meadows subdivision. The project objective was to improve forest health and to reduce fire risk through reduced fuel loading. The project treated 24 acres of private land through intensive thinning with a focus on aspen regeneration. The fuelbreak was designed to reduce the severity, intensity, and duration of a fire burning into it. 

Watershed Stewardship Program

The RGHRP has recognized the need to play a significant role in regional efforts to safeguard the Upper Rio Grande Watershed as a source of water, habitat, and extraordinary natural and cultural resources. As such, the RGHRP is working with stakeholders and partners to complete wildfire restoration and hazard mitigation projects. It is expected that this program will include future projects to improve water security through efforts to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire and improve forest health. 

This program was created in response to the West Fork Complex fire that burned in the summer of 2013 and severely damaged over 110,000 acres of critical natural resources in the upper watershed. To help lessen the impacts of the fire to the communities, culture heritage, and natural resources, the Rio Grande Watershed Emergency Action Coordination Team (RWEACT) was formed with the cooperation of over 40 entities. The RGHRP has taken the lead on coordinating RWEACT's natural resources team.


Currently, the RGHRP is coordinating several wildfire restoration and hazard mitigation projects through RWEACT's natural resources team. These projects are described below:


Water Quality Monitoring
The RGHRP has worked in collaboration with RWEACT and Colorado School of Mines to deploy 6 water quality monitoring probes through the watershed. Data from the water quality monitoring probes and supplemental sampling will be used to study the impact of the West Fork Complex Fire on water quality. This date will also help examine the opportunity to protect fish and wildlife habitat through strategic releases from reservoirs located upstream of the burned area. Probes were deployed in Spring 2014 and data can be found on Colorado Division of Water Resources website. A link to each probe can be found below:


Little Squaw Resort
The RGHRP is working to protect the historic Little Squaw Resort from flooding and debris flows by removing hazard trees surrounding the resort. This project will improve safety and encourage aspen regeneration surrounding Little Squaw Resort.



Project NameProject YearTotal Project Cost
West Fork Complex Fire Test Plot Project
2013$26,462
Ptarmigan Meadows Defensible Space Project
(Preliminary Budget)
In Process$55,850
WFCF Weed Management Project
2015$12,000


Upper Rio Grande Watershed Assessment

The RGHRP is partnering with a vast group of entities including RWEACT, Trout Unlimited, CPW, USFS, San Luis Valley Irrigation District, and Willow Creek Reclamation Committee on the Upper Rio Grande Assessment. 

The Assessment will provide a comprehensive document of the ecological condition of the mainstem of the Rio Grande and its major tributaries from the headwaters to the town of South Fork, identifying causes of concern and developing a list of prioritized projects that will improve the function of uplands, and riparian and aquatic ecosystems. Projects identified in the Upper Rio Grande Assessment will address environmental, recreational, agricultural, and municipal/industrial water needs. The Assessment will concurrently identify projects that involve instream infrastructure as related to recreational, environmental, agricultural, and municipal/industrial needs in the basin. The RGHRP and other organizations will be able to use the assessment as a guidebook for future projects affecting the Rio Grande watershed.

Mulch Test Plots
The RGHRP designed 10 experimental plots within the burned area to investigate different methods that provide ground cover and increase soil water holding capacity in order to improve vegetative cover and reduce hillslope erosion. Long-term data will be collected from these plots and the results will influence the methods used in future wildfire restoration projects. The implementation of this project was made possible through the donation of several mulch materials and the help of volunteers.