The Natural Resource Trustees of Colorado recently announced that they have awarded $1.7 million in natural resource damage funds to The Greenway Foundation on behalf of the Overland Park Neighborhood Association to help restore water quality, habitat and riparian areas along a two-mile stretch of the South Platte River in south Denver.
The planned improvements will result in a vastly improved riparian and wildlife ecosystem corridor along this section of Denver’s South Platte River as well as create new boat launch sites, fishing platforms, nature trails, and enhanced access points to the River.
The award of the funds will be contingent on The Greenway Foundation procuring matching funds for its projects at Grant Frontier Park, Pasquinel’s Landing and Overland Park. The construction of the various improvements, planned in conjunction with Denver Parks and Recreation and Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, is expected to be initiated in 2013.
“The Greenway Foundation is honored to be the recipient of these funds,” said Jeff Shoemaker, Executive Director of The Greenway Foundation. “We are excited to move forward with the efforts to obtain the needed matching funds. This is just one of several collaborative efforts between the Foundation and the City of Denver to fund and construct the recommendations within this section of the River Vision Implementation Plan.”
“This really shows the strength and commitment of our dynamic community,” said Councilman Chris Nevitt, District 7. “The Overland neighbors tirelessly pursued this opportunity and the entire area will benefit from their efforts. The South Platte River Greenway serves as a recreational highway in our backyard, leading to miles of trails and parks in all directions. This funding will go a long way in continuing to make the Southern Platte Valley THE place to live, play and work.”
“One of the features that makes this project so attractive is the way it connects with a larger and still-expanding network of greenway and riparian trail corridors along the South Platte River and its tributaries,” said Mike King, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. “This endeavor further leverages the great work of The Greenway Foundation and others over many years in linking Coloradans to the natural beauty right outside our doors.”
Colorado received $1.5 million when it settled its natural resource damages case against the Shattuck Chemical Company in 2002. Since that time, the money has earned nearly $200,000 in interest, bringing the total amount available for restoring natural resources near the Shattuck site to $1.7 million.
The Colorado Natural Resource Trustees are the Attorney General, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources or their designees. The trustees are responsible for litigation of the state’s natural resource damages claims under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or the Superfund law) and administering funds received from such litigation.