Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 33

inevitably comes through - and fires in the West are
inevitable - we will have lessened the impact on the
clean water supply.
"Fire is as natural and necessary to a forest as
sunshine and rain, and through human intervention,
we've taken that natural process out of the system.
And as a consequence, many Western forests are
ecologically out of whack. They support far too many
trees than they should, so when a fire happens, it has
a tremendous amount of additional fuel to burn, so it
burns abnormally large and abnormally hot."
When an especially hot fire rips through an area, it
essentially bakes the soil, making it hydrophobic, or
unable to absorb rainfall, Fry says. The water flows
atop the ground and gains speed and momentum
until it reaches non-hydrophobic soil or a body of
water. The fast-flowing water leads to soil erosion and
dumps sediment and plant matter into streams and
creeks.
Additionally, some research suggests that densely
packed forests also reduce the available water supply
due to the trees' consumption of water.
Villeneuve says New Belgium Brewing was
especially concerned with the High Park Fire in the
mountains west of Fort Collins in 2012, when more
than 87,284 acres were burned, making it the secondlargest fire in Colorado's recorded history. She says
that for months after the fire, the Cache la Poudre
River was nearly black with charred plant matter and
sediment, forcing Fort Collins to rely solely on its
secondary water source, the Horsetooth Reservoir.
"The fire resulted in really high smokiness in the
aroma profile of the water, so much so that no level
of carbon filtration that the city would do could
remove all of it," she says. "And that's something that
we're not equipped to do at a higher level than the
city could. So, for months after that fire, we were all
completely dependent upon the Horsetooth Reservoir.
Seeing how big of an impact the large wildfires can
have upon our water source, we are acutely aware of
the impacts of climactic events on us as brewers."
To prevent similarly catastrophic fires, the Upper
South Platte Partnership is reaching out to family
forest owners to help them gain the educational
and monetary resources they need to thin out and
manage their land. Fry says that while it is impossible
to treat all 885,132 acres of the watershed due to the
prohibitive cost and a lack of accessibility in steep,
mountainous areas, research suggests that treating
only 40 percent of those acres is sufficient to protect
water supplies.
Some areas that are difficult to reach can be
quarantined by treating the surrounding acres, so
that if the high-risk acres do catch fire, the fires are
unlikely to spread as quickly, grow as hot and become

unmanageable. Fry says that though the Upper South
Platte Partnership is set to last five years, the group
hopes to continue to aid family forest owners for as long
as the need exists and funding is available.
"Rather than treating all of the acres that need to be
treated, we're trying to address the most at-risk acres,
and by isolating hard-to-reach acres, you can have the
same effect as treating them," Fry says. "As long as
we can secure those resources, this partnership will
continue to provide this really necessary service for
landowners in those watersheds."
That's good news for fans of ales, lagers, pilsners
and stouts.
"Good forest-management practices are important
to keeping a good, consistent water supply, and it's that
consistency that makes a difference for our brewers,"
says Kurowski of the Colorado Brewers Guild. "Those
increased organic loads from the effects of runoff from
a fire can be dealt with but are really expensive to
deal with, so it's much better to avoid those situations
through proper management. Water is 95 percent of
beer, so it's the largest ingredient, and a lot of breweries
do make hay about the quality of the water used to
brew their beer."
b

Nationwide Water Watch
The West isn't the only region where forest
watersheds contribute to the increasing success
of microbreweries. New York brewers celebrated
a major victory in December 2014 when Gov.
Andrew Cuomo banned the controversial practice
of fracking, or injecting water and proprietary
chemicals into the ground at high pressure to
facilitate the extraction of natural gas. Cuomo
cited examples of other states where natural gas
and fracking chemicals ended up in the water
supply.
New York has 269 craft breweries, the fourthmost in the nation, according to the Brewers
Association.
"Obviously, clean water is extremely important
to us here in New York state," says Paul Leone,
executive director of the New York State Brewers
Association. "It wasn't too long ago that fracking
almost came to New York state, so we were able
to avoid that. As big a state as it is, with so much
forestland, water is something that we certainly
have our eye on. Water has a profound effect
on beer and how it tastes, so brewers are all
supremely aware of their water source." C

Fall 2017 * WOODLAND 33



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Woodlands - Fall 2017

Overstory
Tools and Resources
Forests and Families
A Legacy to Keep
From Forests to Fermentation
Feathering a Forested Nest
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - intro
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - cover1
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - cover2
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 3
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - Overstory
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 5
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 6
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 7
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 8
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 9
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 10
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 11
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 12
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 13
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 14
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 15
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 16
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 17
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - Tools and Resources
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 19
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - Forests and Families
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 21
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 22
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 23
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - A Legacy to Keep
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 25
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 26
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 27
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 28
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 29
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - From Forests to Fermentation
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 31
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 32
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 33
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - Feathering a Forested Nest
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 35
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 36
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 37
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 38
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - cover3
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - cover4
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