Wetlands Program awards $700,000 in grants for 2013

Hunter if fog at Prewitt Reservoir via Colorado Open Lands
Hunter in fog at Prewitt Reservoir via Colorado Open Lands

Here’s the release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (Randy Hampton):

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has selected 18 wetland and riparian restoration projects that will share in $700,000 in grants for the 2013 Wetlands Program grant cycle.

Approved grant applications include a project to enhance the Shields Pit in Fort Collins to make it suitable for native fish introduction, water and infrastructure development for wetlands around Prewitt Reservoir, stream bank restoration along the Carpenter Ranch section of the Yampa River, and the removal of invasive tamarisk trees on Brown’s Park National Wildlife Refuge. The selected projects encompass 1,225 acres around the state.

“Wetland and riparian habitats cover only about two percent of the land in Colorado, but provide benefits to the majority of the wildlife species in the state,” said Brian Sullivan, Wetlands Program Coordinator for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “The value of these habitats can’t be overstated. Clearly, conservation of wetland and riparian habitat is key to conserving wildlife diversity in Colorado.”

The species that will benefit from the projects funded during the 2013 cycle include eight priority waterfowl species and 15 priority non-game species. Those species include the bald eagle, northern leopard frog, American bittern, sandhill crane, piping plover, least tern, New Mexico meadow jumping mouse, river otter and brassy minnow.

The funded projects will receive a share of $700,000 that was available this grant cycle. Funds for the Wetlands Program come from lottery-funded Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and sales of the Colorado waterfowl stamp.

“GOCO shares the commitment to wetland preservation and restoration and has been contributing to these efforts since 1997,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, GOCO Executive Director.

The Colorado waterfowl stamp program is designed to conserve wetlands for waterfowl and other wildlife. Hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase a $5 stamp validation to hunt waterfowl in Colorado.

Sixteen funding partners will contribute an additional $834,205 for these projects. Funding partners include private landowners, city, county, state and federal governments, and nonprofits such as Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, and the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory.

“These projects will improve wildlife habitats by restoring areas for native fish introduction, removing invasive species and improve public hunting opportunities for waterfowl,” said Steve Yamashita, acting director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The complete list of 2013 wetland and riparian restoration projects can be found online at the Wetlands Project Funding webpage.

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