DENVER – On Thursday, the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded $500,000 in Habitat Restoration grants to six projects across the state.
GOCO’s habitat restoration grant program improves and restores Colorado's rivers, streams, wetlands, and critical habitat on conserved lands and open spaces.
The projects in this round of grants will restore or enhance 415 acres of habitat and plant more than 8,600 individual trees and plants. They will engage youth and volunteers in providing thousands of hours in labor and leverage more than $416,000 in cash and in-kind match.
Funded projects are as follows:
Bear Creek Greenback Cutthroat Trout Restoration Initiative, $52,725 grant to City of Colorado Springs
The City of Colorado Springs will design improvements and restore over three-quarters of a mile of in-stream habitat. Recent scientific analysis revealed that the greenback cutthroat trout population in Bear Creek is the sole remaining, naturally reproducing, and genetically pure population of the fish anywhere in the world. This project will protect and enhance the greenback cutthroat trouts’ habitat, reduce harmful sediment, and increase species resiliency to ensure the population’s survival.
Little Bijou Ranch Cheatgrass Control, $10,032 grant to Bird Conservancy of the Rockies
The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies will partner with Ducks Unlimited, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the owner of a conserved ranch in Morgan County to manage invasive grasses and restore native sandsage prairie habitat at Little Bijou Ranch, which is located roughly three miles south of the South Platte River. The project will eradicate cheatgrass and restore native vegetation across approximately 230 acres of land.
East Plum Creek Restoration Partnership, $150,000 grant to Douglas County Conservation District
Douglas County, Douglas County Conservation District, and the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF) will complete an extensive habitat improvement project along a nearly one-mile stretch of East Plum Creek, a central wildlife corridor, as it passes through Lowell Ranch, a private, protected property. The project includes stabilization of eroding stream banks and the use of natural elements such as rocks, logs, sod mats, and native riparian vegetation to prevent the stream from widening. The work will help protect habitat for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse and numerous other native species.
Yust Ranch, Blue River Restoration, $60,373 grant to Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT)
CCALT will manage a river restoration project on one-third of a mile of the Blue River on Yust Ranch, a property conserved with the assistance of previous GOCO investments. The nonprofit land trust will work with the landowner to improve natural water flows. The effort will improve habitat for native species of plants and animals and is part of a larger effort known as the Colorado River Headwaters Project.
Big Thompson River Habitat Restoration Project, $84,309 grant to City of Loveland
The City of Loveland will restore seven acres of riverside land and floodplain bench on Medina’s Crossing Natural Area. The project’s first step is to discontinue the intensive cattle grazing that has contributed to the slow pace of the 2013 flood recovery effort. Then, the city will work with community volunteers and partners to re-establish native vegetation through community planting events.
Lower South Platte Wetlands Partnership, $142,561 grant to Colorado Open Lands
Statewide, Colorado has lost over 50 percent of its wetlands since settlement. This project will provide high-quality marsh and wet-meadow habitat for wildlife on conserved private lands. Restoration activities will focus on the development of shallow-water, seasonal wetlands that provide food and water for thousands of ducks, geese, and other wetland-dependent birds in the region every spring and fall.
Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a Constitutional Amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 5,000 projects in all 64 counties of Colorado without any tax dollar support. Visit GOCO.org for more information.