The Lower Gunnison watershed is part of the Gunnison basin in western Colorado and has a population of approximately 30,000 people. The watershed is 1,665 square miles of which 41% is protected. Forests cover 59% of the Lower Gunnison watershed.
Peak streamflow refers to the date in spring when water levels in the river are highest. When water comes and how much is available are important factors for forests and for the humans living downstream of them.
Fire plays an important role in fire ecology, helping to rejuvenate disturbance-driven systems and bring diversity to the age and type of plants in the forest. In the last century, however, humans have changed when and where fires happen on the landscape—sometimes starting fires themselves, sometimes preventing fires from spreading.
Ozone (O3) is a chemical compound found in the upper layer of our atmosphere and closer to the ground. In the upper layer of the atmosphere, ozone helps to protect life by protecting our planet from the sun’s ultra-violet rays, but ground-level ozone is considered a pollutant and can harm human and plant health.