On a recent trip to Fort Collins, Colorado, sponsored by Anheuser-Bush, I got to see what the 163-year-old Budweiser beer company is doing with regional watershed cleanup. Our group was transported from Fort Collins through a light fall snow to the Ben Delatour Scott Ranch for a look at the Cache la Poudre River watershed. We were an hour away from Anheuser-Busch's Fort Collins brewery, and I was curious how the brewery, a Boy Scout ranch and forest management all fit together.
There's a strong link between forest health and a clean water supply. The biggest risk to the Poudre watershed is fire. When a catastrophic fire ravages the local forests, the ash can wash into the Poudre River, contaminating the water. In the summer of 2012, the High Park Fire that eventually destroyed at least 248 homes and burned more than 82,000 acres left behind ash that rolled into the river when the rains came, turning the river black and making the water undrinkable for a time. About $25 million was spent to dredge out the reservoir. After that fire, Anheuser-Busch partnered with The Nature Conservancy and the Coalition for the Pourdre River Watershed (CPRW) to keep the forests healthy.