Resilient Landscapes

Balancing the interests and needs of our communities, land, water and ecology.

Stream and recreators
Person drinking water

Vital Water Source

2,600 square-mile area  providing a vital source of drinking water to millions of Coloradoans

Mountain landscape that has been treated and untreated in background

Diverse Land Use

Nearly 1.2M acres, 65% of the watershed is public land & 35% is private ownership

Flyfisher in stream

Gold Medal Fishing & Habitat

The Upper South Platte River and its North Fork faces water quality and habitat challenges

tree covered mountain

9K Elevation Range

Beginning at just over 5K feet in elevation and increasing to >14K makes for variable conditions

Our Watershed

The Upper South Platte watershed, in the foothills and mountains near Denver, CO, supplies 80-90% of drinking water to the larger Denver/Aurora metro area. It is home to communities of Bailey, Conifer, Deckers, Evergreen, Genesee, Woodland Park, and others in the wildland urban interface. USPP offers scenic byways and hosts an important landscape to millions of visitors recreating on trails, at campsites, and renowned Gold Medal fishing streams. It offers an abundance of wildlife and bird watching areas – is a historic habitat to 12 sensitive species of wildlife, birds, fish, and beneficial invertebrates, several of which are on the State and National threatened and endangered species lists. 

The Upper South Platte Partnership (USPP) is a dedicated
collaborative of entities with a united vision:

  • Foster sustainable and resilient landscapes
  • Ensure the vitality of our forests
  • Cultivate proactive and engaged wildfire-adapted communities
  • Manage wildfires effectively across the Upper South Platte watershed

This vision is closely tied to our commitment to protect the watershed, communities, and drinking water vital to the well-being of millions of downstream users.

Our partnership reflects a multi-disciplinary approach to managing our ecological values through active forest management techniques such as thinning, prescribed fire, and pile burn projects. These projects are aimed at improving ecological functions of the forests – Forests that have become overgrown and over crowed with trees from previous 100+ years of fire suppression across the landscape. By increasing ecological function through thinning the forests, and when conditions are safe for using managed fire as a tool, risks for catastrophic wildfire are reduced to benefit communities, natural resources including wildlife and their historic habitat, recreational opportunities, and drinking water. 

Partners share a vision of sustainable and resilient landscapes, healthy forests, fire-adapted communities, and efficient fire response and management in the Upper South Platte watershed—important to local communities and an important water source for many more communities and agricultural lands further downstream in other regions and states.

We are partners

  • Land managers
  • Science practitioners
  • Fire protection districts 
  • Academic institutions
  • Non-profit organizations 
  • Government agencies 
  • Water utility providers

Learn more about USPP partnering entities.