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Wet Meadow Restoration in Gunnison Sage-Grouse Habitat Along the Gould Reservoir; Cassandra Shenk

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2021 Conference
 
Wet Meadow Restoration in Gunnison Sage-Grouse Habitat Along the Gould Reservoir
 
Cassandra Shenk1*, Jake Hartter2
 
1ERO Resources Corporation, Hotchkiss, CO, US; cshenk@eroresources.com
2Western Slope Conservation Center, Paonia, CO, US; jake@theconservationcenter.org
 
 
Fruitland Irrigation Company (FIC) has installed a riparian restoration project, to replace wetland and riparian habitat lost due to piping open canal and tunnels in or near Gunnison sage-grouse habitat along Fruitland Mesa south west of Crawford, CO.  The restoration site is an unnamed tributary to Iron Creek at the inlet of the Gould Reservoir, in unoccupied Gunnison sage-grouse habitat at the transition zone between high shrubland and Pinyon-Juniper habitat.  Techniques used to restore the site include installation of one-rock dams and log structures (e.g., “Zeedyke structures”), managed grazing, Tamarisk removal, and riparian plantings.  Successes and challenges will be discussed, including partnerships and community collaboration.  As irrigation piping projects become more common along Colorado’s western slope, wildlife habitat site mitigation is increasingly important.
 
Major take-aways:
  • Recommended shrubs, forbes, and watering regime for wet meadow restoration in mid to high elevation semi-arid environments
  • Zeedyke structure types and installation methods
  • Community engagement tips
  • Habitat mitigation requirements for Salinity Control Program-funded piping projects are creating a number of habitat sites in the North Fork of the Gunnison River valley
 
 
 
 

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