Enviro projects receive grants from foundation | AspenTimes.com

Enviro projects receive grants from foundation

Aspen Times Staff Report

Nine local environmental projects – most of them focused on restoration of sensitive lands – were selected Tuesday to receive grants from the Environment Foundation.

The foundation, created and funded by employees of the Aspen Skiing Co., announced yesterday that it awarded $43,000 in its fifth round of grant awards. The organization has provided about $220,000 to environmental causes in its first two years of existence.

The diverse projects, selected through a competitive process, stretch from Aspen to New Castle and support regional environmental education, research, restoration, recreation, preservation or conservation.

“For this round of grants, we really focused on land restoration,” said Chris Lane, Environment Foundation executive director. “Each of the 1,000 employees who has contributed to the foundation can feel proud next time they ride the pass or hike Hay Park. And everyone who has donated to the Aspen Valley Community Foundation deserves credit, also. Our dollars wouldn’t go nearly as far without the AVCF’s matching funds.”

The projects that were selected for grants were: $8,500 to Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers. This project will restore a 10-mile section of the Hay Park hiking/biking trail located beneath Mt. Sopris from Garfield County to Capitol Creek. Volunteers will stabilize and restore damaged areas and reconstruct and improve the trail in heavily impacted wet zones at stream crossings and seeps. $5,000 to the Windstar Land Conservancy. This project will provide ecological restoration of a 2-acre parcel on the Windstar land in Old Snowmass. It is part of a long-term effort to restore 50 acres of the property to its original condition as mountain wetlands. $5,000 to CORE Ruedi Creek project. This project will buttress the Community Office for Resource Efficiency’s Clean Energy Campaign to support a 12-kilowatt hydropower installation on Ruedi Creek. The other part of this project is a solar hot-water heater rebate program that will reduce the market costs of installing 20 solar hot-water systems, providing clean, renewable, as well as economically beneficial energy for local residences. $4,000 for Forest Service study of nitrates. The purpose of this project is to determine the source of the nitrates, which can damage aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. This study helps get at the root cause of alarming and potentially damaging acidification of local lakes, including Moon, Capitol, Avalanche and others. $1,730 to Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. This project will enhance and restore Hallam Lake’s upper pond to improve the habitat for waterfowl, fish (including Colorado River cutthroat trout) and invertebrates. The pond’s current state is unnatural and unproductive; it is not capable of sustaining a diversity of species. This project will create wetland vegetation that is essential to fostering healthy productive invertebrate populations, which provide a food supply for fish, which in turn attract birds and mammals. $7,500 to Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute. Through this project, environmentally sustainable agricultural and landscaping techniques will be taught to the general public, government decision-makers and land managers. The project involves the development of a systematic documentation of the establishment of at least four natural weed-control test areas in the Roaring Fork Valley, and the results of those tests over a two-year period. $5,628 to the Roaring Fork Conservancy. This is a hands-on learning opportunity designed to educate valley students and instill river conservation and stewardship ethics. This customized river science program utilizes a portable river study center called the “Stream Trailer,” which allows students to create their own river environment and then watch how varying degrees of streamflow impact their creation. $3,000 to Aspen Wilderness Workshop. Field technicians will inventory up to 500,000 acres of roadless areas within the White River National Forest using the Colorado BLM Wilderness Campaign field-mapping techniques. Through this project, these areas will be mapped, then proposed for protection through federal initiatives. More specifically, the work will develop the field program, whereby 45 areas are mapped by qualified members of the public. $3,000 to the Independence Pass Foundation. This project includes support of ongoing revegetation work on Independence Pass along with a planting program with Roaring Fork Valley school children. The project area is the last 1.5-mile stretch of road leading to the top of the pass. It will add 20 more terraces to the area this summer with the help of inmates from the Buena Vista Correctional Facility.

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