The Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative (ARWC) is a community-generated response to wildfire and its effects on water and communities. As fires in the Arkansas River Basin and throughout Colorado become more intense and frequent – coupled with a rapidly growing population moving to fire-prone areas – the need for community and agency partnerships to address impacts and preserve the health of our watersheds is essential. ARWC is a hub for community-driven fire mitigation, forest and watershed health and post-fire collaborative efforts.
ARWC was formed from the Arkansas Basin Roundtable, a group of water managers and stakeholders working to find solution to water-related issues in the basin. This water leadership model comes from the Colorado Water Plan, and is intended to capture diverse perspectives from those who understand locally unique water issues and how communities are impacted by watershed concerns in each basin. We are supported by the Colorado Water Conservation Board which encourages local watershed coalitions like ARWC as the most effective way for communities to prepare for and respond to watershed health concerns. Built on the local voice, we can seek out and implement solutions that make sense in our communities to problems like overstocked forests, wildfire, and water quality concerns.
ARWC is the nonprofit organization for the Roundtable, and Roundtable members serve as our Board of Directors. In 2017, ARWC became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and hired its first Executive Director and staff in early 2019. The Collaborative covers all 23,000 square miles of the Arkansas River Basin, reaching from Leadville to the Colorado-Kansas border. Our work includes forest health and wildfire fuels mitigation, post-fire and flood recovery, stream management planning, water quality, stream restoration, collaborative development and stakeholder engagement.