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Grants will improve wetland habitats


Colorado Parks and Wildlife has selected 19 wetland and riparian restoration projects that will share in more than $1 million in grants for the 2012 Wetlands Program grant cycle.

The selected grant applications include projects to remove invasive trees along the Republican River in northeastern Colorado, improve wet meadow hydrology and habitat in the Upper Gunnison Basin, and enhance marshes in the San Luis Valley. The selected projects encompass 2,870 acres around the state with project partners including private landowners and county, state and federal agencies.

"Wetland habitat covers less than 2 percent of the land in Colorado, but it provides benefits to 75 percent of the wildlife species in the state," said Brian Sullivan, Wetlands Program Coordinator for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. "The value of wetlands can't be overstated. About 125 species that are found here in Colorado are dependent on wetlands for their survival, including 98 species of migratory birds."

The species that will benefit from the projects funded during the 2012 cycle include waterfowl and 20 priority non-game species. Those species include the bald eagle, northern leopard frog, piping plover, least tern, Preble's meadow jumping mouse, river otter and southwest willow flycatcher.

The funded projects will receive a share of $1,018,020 that was available this grant cycle. Funds for the Wetland Program come from lottery-funded Great Outdoors Colorado and sales of the Colorado waterfowl stamp.

"GOCO shares the commitment to wetland preservation and restoration and has been contributing to these efforts since 1995," said Lise Aangeenbrug, GOCO executive director.

The Colorado waterfowl stamp program is designed to conserve wetlands for waterfowl and water birds. To date the stamp program has provided more than $6.7 million to help fund projects to protect more than 19,500 acres of wetlands. Wetlands conservation efforts of the Waterfowl Stamp Program improve habitat for ducks, geese, and more than 500 other species of shorebirds, songbirds, amphibians and reptiles.

"As well as improving wildlife habitat, many of these projects will improve public hunting opportunities for waterfowl," said Rick Cables, director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. "Eight of these projects are on state wildlife areas, and two on national wildlife refuges, all of which are open to public hunting." Cables added that through the wetlands grant funding, limited public hunting will also be allowed on two tracts of private land.

The complete list of 2012 wetland and riparian restoration projects can be found online at http://wildlife.state.co.us/LANDWATER/WETLANDSPROGRAM/PROJECTFUNDING/Pages/WetlandsProjectFunding.aspx.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife was created by the merger of Colorado State Parks and the Colorado Division of Wildlife, two nationally recognized leaders in conservation, outdoor recreation and wildlife management. It manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado's wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs.

To learn more please see www.parks.state.co.us.

Date: 10/1/2012

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