Restoration: Aurora and the U.S. Forest Service are partnering on forest restoration near the Hayman burn


From the Associated Press via The Columbus Republic:

Aurora is joining efforts by the National Forest Foundation, Vail Resorts Inc. and the U.S. Forest Service to restore some of the 215 square miles burned by the 2002 Hayman fire. The Forest Service said Thursday that Aurora Water’s investment would help leverage other funds from private partners, including a $200,000 challenge grant from The Gates Family Foundation.

More coverage from Bob Berwyn writing for the Summit County Citizens Voice. From the article:

The Aurora City Council in late July approved agreements with the National Forest Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service that will invigorate an existing partnership including Vail Resorts and other partners. The investment from Aurora Water will help leverage funds from eight other private partners including a $200,000 challenge grant from The Gates Family Foundation.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Harris Sherman helped announce the partnership today, calling it a key to protecting watersheds essential to Aurora’s water supply and emphasizing the importance of partnerships between the Forest Service and other entities. “When we turn on our faucets, we tap water from our forests,” Sherman said. “The National Forests provide more than 70 percent of public water systems that serve millions of Colorado citizens. Improving the health and resiliency of the Pike and San Isabel National Forests in areas critical for delivering water to the City of Aurora benefits the land, the water and the tens of thousands of Aurora Water customers,” he added.

“The quality and reliability of our water supply is dependent upon forest health,” said Aurora Water director Mark Pifher. “A healthy forest is how nature keeps sediment from entering the watershed. Aurora and Denver Water are currently spending millions of dollars to dredge Strontia Spring Reservoir as a result of past fires. Failure to take action now would result in more costly measures in the future.”

More coverage from Sarah Castellanos writing for the Aurora Sentinel. From the article:

The investment, which came from the coffers of Aurora Water, will help plant more than 200,000 trees, revegetate more than 13 miles of riverbank with natural foliage, rehabilitate the landscape and improve the habitat for fish and the endangered Montane Skipper Butterfly. The area is part of the South Platte River Basin, from which Aurora residents receive most of their water. Because of Aurora’s donation, the Gates Family Foundation is also donating $200,000 toward the restoration project.

More coverage from Carlos Illescas writing for The Denver Post. From the article:

Aurora has pledged to help restore 45,000 acres from the Hayman fire. It also plans to seek $200,000 from the private sector, including a grant from The Gates Family Foundation. In all, the project to restore the burn area is estimated at $4.6 million. More than 200,000 ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and other varieties of trees will be planted. Also, 13 miles of riverbank will be revegetated with native foliage.

More restoration coverage here.

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