2023, FORT COLLINS, COLORADO, USA
Natalie Vieira from Rocky Mountain High School addressed poor water quality from the ash and floods from the Cameron Peak Fire. To address this issue, Natalie created a man-made beaver dam in the Cache la Poudre watershed. For the last three years, black and murky water has traveled down the Poudre River negatively impacting 330,000 citizens who rely on the watershed for drinking water and other uses. Additionally, there are not enough beavers in the Poudre to build dams that reduce flooding and settle the ash. Therefore, Natalie implemented a man-made beaver dam analog (BDA) in the Lile Beaver Creek burned watershed. She wove together natural materials like willows, evergreens, and wood to make the dam. As a result, the stream widened by 1.5 feet and the water slowed. The stream got deeper by 0.5 feet above the dam and started settling the sediment. This solution addressed Targets 6.1 and 6.6 of the Sustainable Development Goals.