Grant Awarded to @Northern_Water-Supported Initiative Aimed at Improving #ColoradoRiver Headwaters Health #COriver #aridification

Kawuneeche Valley Ecosystem Restoration Collaboartive Leadership Tour, July 2022. Photo credit: Northern Water

Click the link to read the release on the Northern Water website:

A multi-agency collaboration looking to restore critical elements of the Colorado River’s headwaters ecosystem recently received a significant funding boost that will help participants launch various aspects of the project. Grand County, on behalf of the Kawuneeche Valley Ecosystem Restoration Collaborative (KVERC), was awarded a $48,500 grant this month from the Colorado River District’s Accelerator Grant Program. 

Northern Water is a partner in KVERC, along with Grand County, Rocky Mountain National Park, U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, Colorado River District, Town of Grand Lake and Colorado State University. The Kawuneeche Valley ecosystem depends on functioning wetlands along the headwaters of the Colorado River to flow from Rocky Mountain National Park into Shadow Mountain Reservoir. Along with Lake Granby and Grand Lake, these three bodies of water move Colorado-Big Thompson and Windy Gap project water to the Alva B. Adams Tunnel where it flows underneath Rocky Mountain National Park to more than 1 million water users in Northeastern Colorado. 

In 2020, KVERC was formed to facilitate planning, outreach and the implementation of restoration projects in the North Fork Colorado River watershed. The Kawuneeche Valley, at the headwaters of the Colorado River, has a history of human use and ecological change, which has increased erosion and channel incision, disconnected the floodplain, and impacted the once observed riparian and wetland vegetation. Additionally, the 2020 East Troublesome Fire, which burned within the southern half of the project area, will likely further exacerbate the sediment and nutrient impacts. 

The KVERC partners will use the Accelerator grant funds to complete assessments, surveys, outreach and final design for phase one of the project. River District support will also be leveraged to submit competitive federal grant applications for this and future project phases.

This video – featuring Northern Water’s Esther Vincent, Mark Coleman and Kimberly Mihelich, along with representatives of the other partner organizations – provides a 5-minute snapshot of this collaborative effort and the ultimate goals of the group.

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