Photograph by Bass of flood on Boulder Creek, May 30, 1894. Copyright by the Denver Public Library. For more historic images of floods in the Boulder area, see the BASIN Gallery
Water in general and the hydrologic cycle in particular influence our daily lives in ways we often can't imagine. Water is in a very real sense a common denominator for us all, making up most of our human body, flowing through us and connecting us directly with the world and environment. As John Muir suggested, the river flows not by us but through us. Yet how in tune are we to the seasonal cycles of water and how the water cycle impacts the environment and influences our every day lives?
The Boulder area, particularly the plains, is often described as "semi-arid" meaning it is more or less a desert. The mountains, which receive most of their moisture in the form of snow during the late spring months, are wetter, but once the snow has melted and after the summer rains have come and gone, even the mountains can become parched and dry, becoming ripe for forest fires.
Through extensive waterworks-- including complex systems of ditches, reservoirs, pipelines and dams -- we have to some extent buffered ourselves from the seasonal flux of the water cycle. Nevertheless, our region is still vulnerable to droughts, flashfloods, forest fires, pollution and breakdown of the infrastructure that delivers our water and removes our waste. By focusing initially on water in the Boulder area, the BASIN project intends to provide background information, time-relevant data and links to other resources that may help the inhabitants of the region better understand-- and take personal responsibility for protecting-- the environmental systems we are immersed in.
Do you have any ideas, thoughts, concerns about water and the environment that you would like to share with the community? Join our invitation to participate in building this community website and learning network.
In the coming months we plan to offer a variety of scientific information within a local context of history, human culture and spectacular natural beauty. Let us know what is of interest and relevant to you and your community. Take a moment now to complete the BASIN survey, which will be helpful in our planning this website.