The Forum’s “State of the Watershed” water quality reports include the rivers, streams, and canals in the Big Thompson Watershed. Additional reports have also been completed on the lakes and reservoirs within the watershed. These reports meet the Forum’s mission and program goals by summarizing past and current water-quality conditions, evaluating trends and changes in water quality, comparing Forum data to applicable Colorado water-quality standards, and identifying water-quality impacts from adverse events and watershed perturbations such as wildfires, floods, and the mountain pine beetle epidemic.
Findings documented in these reports support broader efforts to identify and evaluate strategies for water-quality protection in the context of a comprehensive watershed management plan. Ongoing assessments build on previous watershed reports that evaluate data from the flowing/surface water sites. Specifically, these reports define the current state of water quality in the Big Thompson River by answering the following questions:
Patterns: What seasonal and spatial patterns are apparent in the concentrations and loads of water-quality parameters?
Long-Term Trends: What are the statistically significant long-term trends in concentrations across the watershed?
Compliance: How do concentrations compare to applicable Colorado water-quality standards and interim nutrient values (Regulation 38, Water Quality Control Division, 2015b).
Human and Natural Effects: What do the data tell us about short-term and lingering impacts from flood, wildfire, and other natural events?