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Urban Waters Partnership

Urban Waters and the South Platte Watershed from the Headwaters to the Denver Metropolitan Area (Colorado)

The South Platte Urban Waters Partnership is a collaboration of organizations, working across governmental and disciplinary boundaries. Their aim is to protect and restore lands and waters in the South Platte River watershed. The partnership emphasizes stewardship and community connection, linking urban areas with forested watersheds and people with nature.

This partnership involves more than 70 groups. Federal and state government, municipalities, universities, NGOs and private businesses all come together for the benefit of the silent partner, the South Platte River. Local or federal action alone is less suitable to handle the complex challenges surrounding water, resource protection and connecting people with nature. This partnership's diversity is its strength and includes a role for each individual, community, business and agency.

This partnership is all about resource efficiency – leveraging human capital and financial resources to accomplish the most we can, in terms of river restoration, community education and improving watershed health.

The South Platte River Urban Waters Federal Partnership (SPRUWP) strives to protect one of Denver’s primary sources of drinking water, while supporting ongoing on-the-ground projects, education, and research, and facilitating a growing population’s connection to its urban waterways.

Water is such a scarce resource in our region, which makes our forested watersheds and waterways even more valuable. Collaborating with a group like this allows us to integrate solutions to complex problems. When people understand that their drinking water is tied directly to the health of the South Platte River, it means more to them.

The Greenway Foundation looked at $100 million invested in green improvements to the South Platte River and its tributaries. They estimated this investment has facilitated more than $10 billion in residential and commercial development throughout the Denver metro area. This estimate does not even include the additional dollar value of air and water quality and public health benefits from green infrastructure. That is a very good return on investment.

SPRUWP Strategic Plan

Partnership in Action Report

Local Partnership Workplan


List of Partners

Federal Government

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • National Parks Service, Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program
  • Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Housing and Urban Development
  • Economic Development Administration
  • Senator Michael Bennett staff
  • Representative Diana Degette staff

State Government

  • Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
  • Colorado Department of Transportation
  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife
  • Colorado State Forest Service
  • Colorado Water Conservation Board

Local Government

  • Adams County
  • Jefferson County
  • Denver Health
  • Tri-County Health Department
  • City of Aurora
  • City of Brighton
  • City and County of Denver
  • City of Englewood
  • City of Lakewood
  • City of Sheridan
  • City of Commerce City
  • City of Westminster
  • Greenwood Village
  • Chatfield Watershed Authority
  • Cherry Creek Basin Water Quality Authority/Upper Clear Creek Watershed Association
  • Dominion Water and Sanitation District/Sterling Ranch
  • Littleton/Englewood Wastewater
  • Jefferson Conservation District
  • Metro Wastewater Reclamation District
  • Urban Drainage and Flood Control District
  • Aurora Water
  • Denver Water

Community Stakeholders:


  • Audubon Society of Greater Denver
  • Bluff Lake Nature Center
  • Barr Lake and Milton Reservoir Watershed Association
  • Chatfield Area Network for Outreach and Education
  • Cherry Creek Stewardship Partners
  • Clear Creek Watershed Foundation
  • Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP)
  • Colorado Foundation for Water Education
  • Colorado Watershed Assembly
  • Denver Botanic Gardens - Chatfield
  • Dinosaur Ridge
  • Earth Force
  • EcoAgriculture Partners
  • Groundwork Denver
  • Institute for Environmental Solutions
  • National Forest Foundation
  • Research, Education & Development for Health, Recreation & Land Agencies (GP RED)
  • Rocky Mountain Land Library
  • Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership
  • Sierra Club
  • South Platte Enhancement Board
  • South Platte Coalition for Urban River Evaluation (SP CURE)
  • The Greenway Foundation, Capitol Representatives
  • The Park People
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Trust for Public Land
  • WalkDenver
  • Westerly Connection
  • Volunteers for Outdoors Colorado


  • CH2M
  • Earth Economics
  • Davey Institute
  • Keystone Concepts/Ecosystem Sciences Foundation
  • Leonard Rice Engineers
  • LLG International LLC
  • Plan-It Geo
  • REI
  • Zeppelin Development


  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Colorado State University
  • Front Range Community College
  • Metro State University One World One Water Center
  • University of Colorado at Denver
  • University of Denver