Posts tagged water issues
Back in 2002, I stumbled upon a photograph of Horsetooth Dam that I found really striking. At the time, I was doing a lot of bike training in the foothills west of Fort Collins and happened to ride by the dam several times per week. The scene looks really different now, so I thought this would be a great subject for a before and after photo note.
I had to do quite a bit of calling around to locate the photo since the website where I originally saw it has only a low-resolution version. Thanks go to Kara Lamb and her interns at the US Bureau of Reclamation for finding and scanning the original A.E. Thompson photos for me.
Here’s a photo of Horsetooth Dam from 1949, at the end of the construction phase.
Horsetooth Dam is the northern-most of the four dams that create Horsetooth Reservoir. It’s the large water storage reservoir just to the west of Fort Collins, Colorado.
The dam and reservoir were completed as part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project (NCWCD & USBR) – a federal water project that carries western slope Colorado River water to the cities and farms on the eastern slope in Northern Colorado through Colorado’s largest trans-mountain diversion project.
Several large sinkholes were found under a few of the dams in the 1990s. This news made a lot of folks in the Fort Collins area pretty nervous. If one of the dams were to fail, Horsetooth Reservoir would likely sweep away large parts of Fort Collins, then a city of 125,000.
Here’s a current view of Horsetooth Dam taken from the same location. In this photo, the reservoir is about 95% full.
For more information, visit the Bureau of Reclamation’s Horsetooth Dam page.
In 2009, the National Park Service created this brochure to highlight the interconnectedness of the national park units in the Colorado River Basin. I was asked to create the map for the brochure.
This map is featured in the background on the front page of the map. This brochure was intended to be given out to visitors at NPS information centers around the Colorado River Basin.
View the full brochure by clicking this link: