The Upper South Platte Basin is a critical watershed in Colorado. Nearly 80 percent of the water used by the 1.5 million Denver metropolitan residents comes from or is transmitted through this river drainage. The Colorado Unified Watershed Assessment identified the Upper South Platte River as a Category 1 watershed in need of restoration. Most of the river basin is located within the Pike National Forest southwest of the city of Denver. The South Platte River is also a major recreation area in Colorado and is highly regarded for its trout fishery. The Upper South Platte Watershed Protection and Restoration Project was proposed in 1998 by Denver Water, the Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado State University, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the USDA Forest Service to respond to concerns about catastrophic disturbances in this watershed. The project is addressing these concerns by focusing on landscape vegetation patterns, soil erosion, and water quality within the Upper South Platte River Basin.