Two Grants Help Fund Restoration and Stewardship

October 7th, 2020
Cara Kukuraitis
Outreach Coordinator | RiversEdge West
Two Grants Help Fund Restoration and Stewardship in the Grand Valley and Beyond
October 7, 2020
RiversEdge West (REW), a Grand Junction-based nonprofit focused on restoring riverside lands, is celebrating two grants recently awarded in the summer of 2020 to continue restoration and sustainability work on rivers in Western Colorado as part of the Desert Rivers Collaborative (DRC) and the Dolores River Restoration Partnership (DRRP).
Desert Rivers Collaborative: The DRC was formed by REW in 2012 and has completed over 1,565 acres of riparian restoration including the initial removal of tamarisk and Russian olive, treating re-sprouts, secondary weed control, and revegetation. The Partnership provides a coordinated platform for land managers and landowners to conduct collaborative riparian restoration efforts along the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers in Mesa and Delta Counties.
Dolores River Restoration Partnership: REW also co-leads the DRRP, which was created in 2009 to provide a concerted effort in restoring riparian habitat along 200 miles of the Dolores River, extending across two states and six counties. To date, the DRRP has treated approximately 5,952 acres through the collaborative efforts of local, state, and federal agencies, landowners, nonprofit organizations and citizen volunteers.
The first grant totaled $164,566 from the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Funds from this grant will support efforts in establishing a Western Colorado Sustainable Stewardship model in order to protect and sustain the restoration efforts that have been made over the years both by the DRC and the DRRP.
With the amount of riparian restoration work that has been completed along the Colorado, Gunnison and Dolores Rivers, it is extremely important to maintain these areas over time. While the initial removal of tamarisk and Russian olive is the first step in restoring riparian areas, equally important is the ability to garner resources and support for the ongoing monitoring and maintenance of this work. The funding from the Colorado Water Conservation Board will assist REW in implementing the stewardship of these areas by: 
  • Incorporating long term monitoring and monitoring training for our partners within the DRC and DRRP to help access the success of our restoration efforts.
  • Creating and providing our partners with a framework and guide to assist with decisions around when and where restoration work should be completed.
  • Utilizing two-person strike teams with the Southwest Conservation Corps and Western Colorado Conservation Corps to complete ongoing maintenance work, including treating tamarisk and Russian olive re-sprouts as well as secondary weeds and engaging in revegetation efforts.
The second grant from the Bacon Family Foundation totaled $40,000. This funding will not only support the efforts associated with this stewardship model, it will also allow REW to continue to provide leadership and support for the DRC, furthering planning and mapping efforts, as well as provide ongoing technical, coordination, and fundraising assistance.
“Thanks to funding from the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Bacon Family Foundation, we can take our ongoing riparian restoration work a step further and create a sustainable approach to protecting our investments,” said Shannon Wadas, Associate Director for RiversEdge West. “This support allows our organization to work collaboratively and effectively with the DRC and DRRP, effectively leveraging our efforts in improving the health of our rivers in Western Colorado.”

RiversEdge West's

mission is to advance the restoration of riparian lands through collaboration, education, and technical assistance.