There’s a lot of fanfare around grant awards, but what happens after the ceremonial checks are presented and the reporters have published their articles? Our partners get down to business.
For 28 years, GOCO has improved Colorado’s great outdoors with the help of Colorado Lottery proceeds. We’ve put more than $1.3 billion in proceeds back into 5,400 projects to improve the lives of Coloradans across the state.
After projects are awarded funding, grant recipients have about two years to make their projects happen.
In June, five projects were completed, representing more than $1.3 million in GOCO investments into local communities across the state. Scroll to see if one’s near you:
Dakota Ridge Urgent and Emergent Land Acquisition
$850,000 grant to the City of Loveland
In partnership with Larimer County and the City of Loveland, GOCO funds were used to purchase the 245-acre Dakota Ridge property in the area’s “Foothills Corridor.” The property and surrounding area provide critical habitat for various wildlife, including mountain lions, mule deer, rattlesnake, prairie lizards, and several bird species. Residential development in the foothills corridor region has risen significantly in recent years, highlighting the importance of acquiring and conserving the Dakota Ridge property to protect area wildlife. The project protects the ecologically significant hogback ridge that contains unique plant communities, important wildlife habitat and movement corridors, and distinct geology.
R&R Family Farm
$227,952 grant to Colorado Open Lands
In partnership with NRCS, the LOR Foundation, the Colorado Conservation Partnership, and the Gates Family Foundation, Colorado Open Lands used GOCO funds to help purchase a conservation easement on the 343.5-acre R&R Family Farm located west of the Town of San Luis in Costilla County, Colorado. Along with several others, this property extends perpendicular to acequias to maximize the number of people with access to water for irrigation, livestock, and farming. The R&R Family Farm is irrigated with water from one of the primary acequias in the region, the San Luis People’s Ditch which carries one of Colorado’s oldest water rights.
The R&R Family Farm is home to many native wildlife and vegetation species and provides a winter range for elk, mule deer, and bald eagles. R&R Family Farm is visible from multiple notable locations including the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway and the Stations of the Cross Shrine in the town of San Luis, a tourist attraction in the area. Conservation of this property was a critical step in protecting historic acequias and native species in the San Luis Valley.
Himebaugh Creek Property Acquisition
$208,750 grant to the City of Hot Sulphur Springs
Using GOCO funds, the Town of Hot Sulphur Springs acquired the 270-acre Himebaugh Creek property. The property connects the town to the beautiful Arapaho National Forest and has been developed into a public open space, providing recreational opportunities to residents in an area of town with no public park. The property contributes to scenic views from Highway 40, which sees 3,600 cars per day, and will contribute to the local recreational economy. The Himebaugh Creek property is an important migration corridor for big game and is an essential habitat for small mammals, several raptor species, and neotropical birds.
Parks, Open Space, and Trails Master Plan
$65,000 grant to the City of Fruita
With help from GOCO funds, the City of Fruita has updated its 2009 Parks, Open Space, and Trails Master plan and added Recreation and Healthy Community components. After a 20% increase in population, Fruita aimed to reflect the needs and wants of the community as the city has grown and transformed. Planned improvements would affect multiple trails, Fruita Bike Park, Fruita Riverfront Park and Disc Golf Course, and Fruita Community Center. The community-driven master plan is sure to positively impact the community’s health and well-being.
Riverbend Park Riparian Restoration
$20,900 grant to the Town of Palisade
The Riverbend Park Restoration was a multi-year, collaborative effort to mitigate invasive species along the Colorado River. A crew from Western Colorado Conservation Corps (WCCC) worked to remove Russian olive and tamarisk, two invasive species that crowd out other plants and soak up water, on four acres of riparian habitat. They also restored native vegetation once the noxious weeds were removed. The completion of this project ensures that native species along the Colorado River will have the ability to thrive in their native environment.