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Larimer County projects net $156,309 in GOCO grants for habitat restoration and youth corps work

Post Date:12/06/2018 1:45 PM

102k GOCO grant funding awarded to City of LovelandFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 12.6.18
Contact: Rosemary Dempsey, 303.226.4530, rdempsey@goco.org               

DENVER – On Thursday, the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded three grants totaling $156,309 to projects in Larimer County. The board awarded the City of Loveland an $84,309 habitat restoration grant for its Big Thompson River Habitat Restoration Project. GOCO also awarded a $54,000 Youth Corps grant to the Colorado State Forest Service for its Elkhorn Creek Forest Health Initiative and $18,000 in Youth Corps funding to the City of Loveland for invasive species mitigation at Willow Bend Natural Area.

With the $84,309 grant for the Big Thompson River Habitat Restoration Project, the City of Loveland will restore and enhance seven acres of riverside land and floodplain bench on Medina’s Crossing Natural Area.Medina's Crossing after the 2013 Big Thompson flood

The grant is part of GOCO’s habitat restoration grant program, which improves and restores Colorado's rivers, streams, wetlands, and critical habitat on conserved lands and open spaces.

The project’s first step will be to discontinue the intensive cattle grazing that has impacted the river along this reach and contributed to the slow pace of the current 2013 flood recovery effort. Then, the city will work with community volunteers and project partners to re-establish native vegetation through community planting events. This will help improve water quality, restore habitat for wildlife using the river corridor, stabilize soils, and reduce erosion.

The City of Loveland will contribute more than $75,000 in matching cash and in-kind resources to the project.

The $54,000 Youth Corps grant to the Colorado State Forest Service will support Larimer County’s Elkhorn Creek Forest Health Initiative at Ben Delatour Scout Ranch.

GOCO awards Youth Corps funding through the Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA), which represents a statewide coalition of eight accredited corps that train youth, young adults, and veterans (ages 14-25) to work on land and water conservation projects. Corps members earn a stipend for their service and an AmeriCorps education award to use toward college or reducing existing student loans. CYCA serves more than 1,500 participants annually.

“CYCA’s partnership with Great Outdoors Colorado is a launching pad for Colorado’s youth and young adults,” CYCA Executive Director Scott Segerstrom said. “This investment by GOCO does much more than protect our iconic landscapes. It places our corps members on the path to earning a college degree, starting their career, and discovering the confidence to become community leaders. Together, we are changing hundreds of lives each year.”

The Ben Delatour Ranch site has heavy fire fuel loads, putting it at high risk for wildfire. With the help of the GOCO funding, the Forest Service will employ youth corps crews from Larimer County Conservation Corps for six weeks to reduce forest density and hazardous fuels, and restore forest structure and composition on the 3,200-acre property. This work is necessary to improve watershed health, enhance resilience, and protect water resources.

With the second Youth Corps grant, crews will work for two weeks at Willow Bend Natural Area, an 81-acre property along the east Big Thompson River in Loveland. It is estimated that the property contains 650 invasive Russian olive, Siberian elm, and tamarisk trees. These non‐native trees will be removed and treated by Larimer County Conservation Corps, enhancing the site for wildlife and visitors and allowing native vegetation to recover.

To date, GOCO has invested over $50 million in projects in Larimer County and has conserved more than 60,000 acres of land there. GOCO funding has supported the Fossil Creek Trail, the conservation of Red Mountain Ranch, and Lory State Park, among other projects.

Great Outdoors Colorado GOCO logo

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.

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