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Boulder Area Sustainability Information Network

People have lived in the Boulder-area for many thousands of years, and the seasonal changes of the hydrologic cycle have always been important to their lives and lifestyles. Find out more about BASIN History.



  Water &

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Current Events

Colorado Water History: From water supplies at Mesa Verde 1000 years ago to the development of the Colorado Big Thompson project.

Denver Post archives on Colorado Water covering history, law, politics and more.

Take the Center for the American West's chalenge: What Every Westerner Should Know about Energy Efficiency and Conservation.

New! Excerpts from Joanna Sampson's digital book HIGH, WILD AND HANDSOME : The Story of Colorado's Beautiful South Boulder Creek and Eldorado Canyon.

Irrigation in the Boulder Valley and Early Ditch Decrees of the Boulder Creek Watershed provide insight into how important water has been historically in the Boulder area. By Anne Dyni from her Pioneers Voices of the Boulder Valley.

History of Flash Floods in the Boulder Area, compiled by Elizabeth Black, should remind us all of just how powerful...and unexpected, flash floods can be.

Timeline of Significant Events in the Boulder Creek Watershed gives an overview of the development of the region. Developed by Phil Nugent.


The Bailey Mill Dam: Photograph and Historic Description (from Denver Public Library Collection)

Those Who Came Before tells of the people who traveled through and lived in the area for thousands of years before European settlers arrived. By Pat Walsh from the Many Voices of the Boulder Creek Watershed by Naropa University students and faculty.

More about BASIN's History Theme


This image was taken by an unknown photographer during high water on June 10, 1897, a few short years after the devastating floods of 1894. This photograph is copyright by the Denver Public Library. For more information of this and other flood photos, go to the BASIN Gallery.

Before European settlers moved into the Boulder area in 1859, the region was vistited by numerous Native American peoples who traveled through the area on their nomadic seasonal journeys. Their impact on the local environment was minimal, in part due to their sparse numbers.

Within months of the first European settlement in the area, the local environment began to be changed significantly. Forests began to be cut down for fuel and construction. Mining activities altered the water quality of streams. And water development began to change the movement of water through the region.

Harnessed for mining and irrigation and later for hydroelectric power and municipal and industrial uses, water became key to the development of the Boulder area, with the seasonal flux of the hydrologic cycle and issues of water quality becoming important concerns for early European inhabitants of the region and modern residents of the area.

INVITATION BASIN is a community project actively seeking public participation. We appreciate all feedback and welcome comments, suggestions and contributions. To find out more about how you can be involved, click here. Help BASIN serve your needs, take our "10 questions in 10 seconds" survey.

BASIN is supported by the US EPA, the City of Boulder, the Keep it Clean Partnership, BCWI and BCN

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Last Page Update - Wednesday January 14, 2009