Youth Corps to Fight Invasive Plants, Protect Water Resources with $50,000 Grant
Colorado Water Conservation Board Partners with Colorado Youth Corps Association on Projects in Four Communities
April 29, 2015, Denver, Colo. – The Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA) and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), a division of the Department of Natural Resources, are funding invasive plant species mitigation projects in an effort to preserve and protect Colorado’s water resources. Projects funded through a $50,000 grant from the CWCB will be conducted by CYCA-accredited youth conservation corps over a six-week period in conjunction with local project sponsors in four communities across the state: Delta, Fountain, Greeley, and Durango. The award represents the third year of funding under this grant for youth corps projects across Colorado.
The projects are designed to control a variety of invasive phreatophyte plants – deep-rooted plants that obtain water from permanent ground supplies or from the water table – including tamarisk, Russian olive and Siberian elm. These plants present a threat to Colorado’s water supply that is needed by native flora and fauna as well as by water recreation users on lakes and rivers.
“CWCB really values the geographic diversity that corps can bring toward improving our state’s natural resources, and we are very pleased to be renewing our partnership with CYCA and its member corps in 2015,” said CWCB Director, James Eklund. “Not only does this work create jobs for young people and military veterans, it supports critical conservation work in Colorado.”
In all, more than 30 young people, ages 14 to 25, will serve on these projects. The awarded projects are as follows:
- City of Greeley with Weld County Youth Conservation Corps: This two-week project will remove Russian olive trees and continue abatement efforts in McCloskey Natural Area, Pumpkin Ridge Natural Area, the Cache La Poudre River, and Greeley West Park. This grant will allow the City to reach 100 percent cutting control on its current properties, allowing the City to focus on new growth control.
- La Plata Open Space Conservancy with Southwest Conservation Corps-Four Corners: This one-week project will remove and chemically treat invasive Russian olive and Siberian Elm located on private lands along the Animas River in the City of Durango.
- Interpretive Association of Western Colorado and Western Colorado Conservation Corps: This two-week project will remove tamarisk and Russian olive from Fort Uncompahgre, and restore riparian areas along the Gunnison River. These areas are adjacent to City of Delta’s Confluence Park, a popular recreation area. The work will allow that site to remain a healthy ecosystem.
- El Paso County Parks and Mile High Youth Corps-Southern Front Range: This one-week project will remove tamarisk and Russian olive from Fountain Creek Regional Park and Fountain Creek Nature Center. The project will reduce the threat of invasive species diminishing the wetland areas.
Projects chosen for this funding provide significant riparian ecosystem benefits through phreatophyte control activities, either on areas owned and used by the public, or on private properties where public values are protected through conservation easements or other arrangements.
The goals of the CWCB funding are to provide job training and employment for Colorado’s youth and young adults, support project sponsors that may not have the capacity to access funds elsewhere for these important projects, and help youth corps develop and strengthen partnerships.
“This is the third year in a row that the Colorado Water Conservation Board has allocated this funding,” said Scott Segerstrom. “It’s just one more example of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources’ investment in youth and youth corps, and we are incredibly grateful for its ongoing partnership.”
About Colorado Youth Corps Association
The Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA) is a statewide coalition of ten accredited youth conservation corps that engage and train youth, young adults, and military veterans on land, water and energy conservation projects. Youth corps is a proven strategy for engaging young people in service to their communities and stewardship of their environment while cultivating valuable skills to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Learn more at www.CYCA.org.
About Colorado Water Conservation Board
The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) was established in 1937 to guide the development and protection of water resources for the benefit of present and future Coloradans. Through policy implementation, financial support for water projects, and participation in statewide as well as nationwide programming, the CWCB strives to most effectively utilize this valuable resource. This 15-member board and professional staff work with the federal government, neighboring states, and water users within Colorado to strike a balance between necessary development and environmental protection. The CWCB serves as Colorado’s primary guide for water policy in all of the state’s river basins, as well as administration of major compacts, decrees, and treaties.