We serve landowners, governments, NGOs, and partnerships

We help our clients advance environmental stewardship, build resilient communities, and create strong, sustainable economic futures.

A Western River with too Much Water? ICS Explores

Can it be, in the midst of drought, with intense competition for limited water supplies, that a major tributary flowing through one of the Intermountain West’s largest, fastest growing cities, has too much water? Descending an incredible 9,475 vertical feet in just...

ICS—Nature Conservancy Issue Urban Watershed Plan

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) retained ICS to help the organization determine how it could support more integrated, effective approaches to watershed health and management in and around southern Colorado’s growing Front Range metropolitan regions. Natural Solutions for...

State of the Rockies Kicks off with ICS Keynote

ICS Principal Scott Campbell kicked off the 2015-2016 Colorado College State of the Rockies Project, The Scales of Western Water, as its keynote speaker. Campbell christened the thematic undertaking by examining landscape-scale approaches local, state, and national...

ICS Maps Course for Spur Water Policy Institute

Colorado State University selected CDR Associates, LRE Water, and ICS Consulting to initiate planning for a new water policy institute at the future Spur campus at the National Western Center in Denver. “The Spur campus is a place made for the public, and a place to...

Harvard Grant Supports ICS Water Fund Feasibility Study

Harvard University is helping ICS clients explore how social impact capital can be used to optimize limited irrigation water supplies in the American West. A grant from the university’s Loeb Fellowship Alumni Council is supporting an ICS-led collaboration among...

ICS Helps Launch New Babbitt Center

The intimate connection between land and water is often discussed in academic circles but not well integrated into land use and water management policy and practice at the local level. The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (LILP) and the Sonoran Institute (SI) asked...

Colorado’s 1041 Regulations: A Means to Water Equity?

An ICS analysis of 1041 permitting practices across Colorado’s 64 counties begs the question: can this tool provide a mechanism to protect agriculture, restore natural systems, and more equitably apportion the water we need? Colorado faces a water constrained future....

ICS Navigates the Wake of Municipal Water Sales

Irrigated agriculture is an economic pillar in Pueblo County, Colorado. Pueblo Chiles at Whole Foods Market: they’re grown here—along with other specialty, food, and forage crops. Until recently, Pueblo County was relatively unaffected by municipal “buy-and-dry”...

ICS Colleagues Win ASLA Planning and Analysis Award

ICS/Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) affiliates Sourav Kumir Biswas and Flavio Sciaraffia won a Planning and Analysis Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) for their project: Productive Conservation. Biswas and Sciaraffia analyzed...

ICS Guides Gates Family Foundation Strategic Plan

The Gates Family Foundation has committed more than $350 million to Colorado philanthropic endeavors since its creation. In 2011, under the leadership of Tom Gougeon, the Foundation initiated a fundamental shift in its grant-making approach, devoting 60% of its...

Rockefeller Tags ICS for Resiliency Planning Expertise

Homes in the wildland-urban interface facing catastrophic fire. Commercial districts in flood zones. Coastal cities confronted by rising sea levels and increasingly devastating storm surge effects. Between 2011 and 2013, there were 67 presidentially declared disaster...

Super Ditch: ICS Examines a Buy-and-Dry Alternative

ICS Principal Scott Campbell penned, “Super Ditch,” the fall cover story in Lincoln Institute of Land Policy’s quarterly publication, Land Lines. In it, he explores the launch of the Super Ditch, a corporation designed to become a lease agent for farmers looking to...

ICS-TNC Pursue Green Infrastructure Partnership

An ICS-led team of scientists, policy analysts, and program managers from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) launched a plan to help restore the 927-square-mile Fountain Creek Watershed. Implementation—focused on collaborative stream management planning, forest health...

ICS Enterprise Launch: Frost Ranch Sportsmen Club

ICS helped Frost Livestock Company launch a private sportsmen club for fowl, small game, and big game hunters on its 24,000-acre, Frost Ranch property. Frost Ranch Sportsmen Club, LLC, a subsidiary enterprise of the livestock company, is an important component of two...

ICS-Harvard Engage the West’s Farmers & Ranchers

In a semester-long course of study at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, ICS Principal Scott Campbell led planning and design students in a for-credit, hands-on exploration of private-sector land and water conservation efforts. Students explored the inherent...

Mitigating the Economic Impacts of Dry-Up

As water on Colorado’s Front Range moves from farms to cities, an ICS economic study charts a more promising course for agriculture. The purchase of 5,540 Bessemer Ditch Company shares from Pueblo County farmers by the Board of Water Works of Pueblo (Pueblo Water)...

Reclamation Funds ICS Water Optimization Study

An ICS-led water optimization study will explore opportunities for the City of Thornton and Larimer and Weld counties to strategically repurpose—and possibly reirrigate—farmland following a large municipal water transfer. In 2019, the City of Thornton commissioned...

Our Practices


Our planning and project management services help clients protect open land, preserve agriculture, safeguard habitat, and establish conservation networks that deliver multiple benefits to people and nature.

Integrated Solutions

ICS delivers integrated land use and water management solutions for a more sustainable world. We link land use practice with watershed health to inform new ways of designing cities, producing food, procuring water, and protecting nature. Our integrated solutions promote resilience in an era of rapid global change.



 Our systems approach to water management delivers viable alternatives to unsustainable practices and builds equity between water users. Our alternatives support agricultural livelihoods, enhance regional economies, and restore freshwater ecosystems.

Client Services


We lead a variety of conservation planning projects.  Our planning services focus on: preserving open space; protecting agricultural lands; improving watershed health; restoring native ecologies; optimizing limited water supplies for cities, agriculture, and nature; harnessing green infrastructure and low-impact development practices; and using exploratory scenario planning to calculate the economic and environmental impacts of different land use and water management decisions.

Spatial Analytics and GIS

Our planning is underpinned by robust geospatial assessments.  Detailed GIS work and partnerships that support the development of dynamic modeling tools create competent assessments that facilitate well-informed, data-driven decisions.

Economic Impact Assessments

We integrate economic impact analyses into our planning efforts. Our economic studies do more than provide a cost-benefit analysis to decision makers.  They consider the value of ecosystem services and the complex dynamics of interrelated industry sectors—especially in agricultural systems, which, like natural systems, require a critical mass of contiguous lands and reliable water sources to thrive.

Decision Support

Our work is designed to support decision-making in challenging circumstances, where contention over resources exists. Our decision support systems (DSS) advance smart land and water policy; dynamic DSS models and tools showcase decision impacts under different trajectories of change.


We both develop and assess land and water policy. We work with policy institutes across the U.S. on matters relating to conservation, land use, and water management. We specialize in Colorado 1041 permitting policy and the creation and interpretation of land use code pertaining to Colorado’s Areas and Activities of State Interest Act.

Financial Modeling

In addition to economic impact assessments, we develop financial models to test the viability of prospective conservation projects, water markets, and new ideas. Our transaction models consider different capital and conservation finance stacks, such as payments for ecosystem services, conservation easement purchases, water quality trading frameworks, transfer of development rights, and land-value capture opportunities.

Irrigated Lands Preservation

Intense competition for limited water supplies and mandated curtailments are having significant impacts on agriculture. Individual producers, farm communities, and entire ag economies are affected. We develop strategies to protect agriculture in the face of constraints and end or mitigate the impacts of buy-and-dry practices. Ditch- and basin-wide assessments examine how to optimize production. Mitigation strategies enhance regional economies while helping individual producers succeed under new water realities.

Water Markets

We develop water markets to support better outcomes for people and nature. Our work helps counter the commodification of water by making it profitable to use water in ways that benefit agriculture and the environment.

ICS enables people to implement better, more profitable, and more sustainable land use and water management practices—often under challenging conditions where contention over resources exists. Some ICS projects serve a single landowner. Others serve stakeholders working across multinational river basins. Some focus on rural communities. Others focus on cities. No matter what the focus, ICS projects are geared to help people prosper today while they work to protect land and water resources for tomorrow.

ICS is particularly adept at addressing needs not being met by existing organizations, institutions, or mandates and devising plans of action to address those needs. Outreach to diverse stakeholders, consultation with the right experts, and the ability to switch gears from planning to implementation (oftentimes assisting in raising the capital that makes implementation possible)—these aptitudes underpin ICS effectiveness. Good design, sound strategies, and procurement of resources are inherent elements of our work.

Bessemer Ditch map

Get In Touch

1518 Winfield Ave
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
(303) 981-8015