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Major progress made on Badger Creek

We’re excited to share big news about our long-running project in the Badger Creek Watershed!

With new funding, successful demonstration projects and strong stakeholder support, we've made incredible progress to ensure these lands and waters regenerate to provide for agriculture and conservation into the future.

About Badger Creek

The Badger Creek Watershed is a 100-square-mile area that drains into Badger Creek, which feeds into the Arkansas River between Wellsville and Howard. It lies just 14 miles northeast of Salida as the crow flies, largely in Park and Fremont counties.

A history of erosion dating back to the Texas cattle drives has taken its toll on the area. During severe thunderstorms the creek is prone to flash flooding and can carry tons of sediment into the Arkansas River. Today, planned livestock grazing and active restoration are reversing this trend.

Badger Creek is an important trout spawning stream between Cañon City and Salida. It also provides habitat for large game like elk and pronghorn.

Our work on Badger Creek

Our goal is to turn this watershed into a water catchment.

This means preparing the land to catch more rainwater and slow down flash floods so that we can grow more green grass for grazing and provide critical habitat for wildlife. Flow to the Arkansas will be maintained, ideally with less sediment and a more consistent flow.

The best way to do all this is to restore the original wetlands and let nature do the rest.

Wetlands and riparian areas are nature’s system for cleaning, storing and conserving our freshwater. And, while they make up only 2% of our landscape, more than 75% of wildlife species depend on them at some point in their life cycle.

In just the past few months, the Conservancy was awarded new grants to dramatically expand this work:

  • $390,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

  • $209,000 from Colorado Parks and Wildlife

This summer, we've treated 2.7 miles of Badger Creek and planted 4,000 willows. It’s our goal to restore an additional 4 miles of its tributaries over the next two years.

We also continue to work with landowners and land managers in the watershed to develop the critical infrastructure like fencing and alternative water points to improve grazing management and increase plant cover and vigor.

Since the start of this project, we’ve restored and enhanced ecological function and wildlife habitat on 70 acres of riparian wetlands along a mile of Badger Creek.

Badger Creek Watershed Partnership

One of the main reasons this project is so unique and impactful is the collaboration between so many different public entities and private landowners working together to make it happen.

The creek flows through a patchwork of land ownership, including U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, State Land Board and private landowners.

This collaborative conservation model is happening at the watershed or landscape scale, leading to more cohesive land and water management and ensuring a more holistic and long-lasting approach to this work.

As the lead facilitator for the partnership, The Conservancy is proud to work with these partners: United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Partners for Fish and Wildlife, State Land Board, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Fremont County Conservation District, Upper Arkansas Conservation District, Teller Park Conservation District, EcoMetrics, AlpineEco, Trout Unlimited, Park County Land and Water Trust Fund, Colorado Healthy Rivers, Colorado Trout Unlimited, Quivira Coalition, Southwest Conservation Corps, Mile High Youth Crew, Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado Mesa University and private landowners: Badger Creek Ranch, Brady Everett, Ken and Brett McMurry, Albert Eggleston and Erik Wayland.

More about the project



Want to learn more?

Contact our Watershed Restoration Specialist, Buffy Lenth:


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