The Cache la Poudre River is treasured by a community that values it for a variety of recreational activities and the tranquility of a natural corridor, while also depending on it as a water source for municipal and agricultural uses. Moreover, the Poudre River corridor serves numerous other functions such as carrying flood flows, providing vital habitat within and along the river, enhancing water quality, and regulating climate. The Downtown reach of the river – the section from Shields Street to Mulberry – is a gateway feature that greets visitors as they enter the City from both the north and east.

Project Mission

Stewardship – Experience –Sustainability – Education

The Poudre River Downtown Project will plan and design integrated, and to the extent possible, mutually supportive improvements related to habitat, recreation and flood mitigation.

Primary Objectives

  • Purchase land from willing sellers.
  • Conserve and restore the existing riparian ecosystem to promote river health and resiliency.
  • Deliver continuous, connected aquatic and riparian habitat for fish, wildlife, trees and plants.
  • Achieve and maintain diverse and sustainable native fish, wildlife and plant populations.
  • As a guiding principle, trails will be located and designed with the goal of minimizing or eliminating negative impacts or damage to the environment.
  • Provide a mix of active and passive recreational amenities both in and along the river which encourage a safe, healthy, outdoor lifestyle.
  • Provide community gathering places and promote connectivity between recreational opportunities along the river corridor.
Flood Mitigation
  • Improve public safety and protect properties from damaging floods
  • Eliminate 100-year flood over-topping of College Avenue and, if possible, eliminate the 100-year flow split along Vine Drive.
  • Reconnect the river to its floodplain while maximizing the beneficial environmental and recreational uses of the river corridor.
Outreach and Engagement

The Fort Collins community’s connection to the Poudre River is wide ranging and deeply emotional.  In an effort to ensure that the spectrum of opinions, views, and visions held by the community is represented in the Poudre River Downtown Project Master Plan, a broad cross-section of community members and city staff were invited to share their thoughts about this plan.  This community engagement occurred through many avenues and numerous occasions throughout the planning process, including:  inter-departmental staff meetings and a design charette, public open houses and focused stakeholder outreach meetings, project website development, presentations to and discussions with numerous City Boards, and City Council work sessions.

Outreach for the Poudre River Downtown Project Master Plan extended to both state and federal agencies in the form of site visits, meetings and correspondence.  In particular, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S.  Army Corps of Engineers were engaged in the planning effort.

A list of specific outreach and engagement events and a summary of the feedback received can be found in the Appendix.

Several primary themes emerged from the outreach and engagement process.  These themes gravitated around:

  • stewardship of existing riparian and aquatic habitat;
  • habitat enhancement along the riparian corridor;
  • improving aquatic connectivity;
  • improving access to the river;
  • providing recreational opportunities within and along the river; and
  • desire for a whitewater park;
  • enhancing health and safety along the river through flood mitigation.