LFVC and Partners Awarded Nearly a Half Million for Restoration, Conservation
The Lake Fork Valley Conservancy (LFVC) announced approval of grant awards from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) at their March 19, 2013 meeting in Denver. The grants would bring a total of $427,111 to Hinsdale County and the Town of Lake City.
Colorado Open Lands (COL) with partners LFVC and Trout Unlimited (TU) will receive $167,000 for the final funding of the Lake San Cristobal Conservation and Fishing Access Project, known locally as the Plauche Conservation Easement Project. Great Outdoors Colorado and Colorado Parks and Wildlife both made significant grant awards in support of the project in 2012.
The Plauche Project will permanently protect a privately-owned property at the lake’s inlet with a conservation easement, which will be held by the non-profit land trust, Colorado Open Lands. The 116-acre property boasts grasslands and forest rising from the tapestry of wetlands, historic channels, and beaver dams that comprise the inlet’s delta. The delta is a haven not only for many species of wildlife, including Colorado Species of Special Concern the American Bald Eagle, but also for anglers.
Fly fishing has historically been allowed on the property through a handshake agreement with the landowner. The project partners and the family will collaborate with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to formalize permanent public access for fly-fishing along 0.62 miles of the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River that flows through the property.
“This project has been in the works since 1998, when the LFVC’s precursor, The Lake Fork Land Trust, took up the cause,” stated COL’s Director of Conservation Operations Dieter Erdmann. “Lake Fork Valley Conservancy’s Project Director, Camille Richard, invited Colorado Open Lands to take the lead on the project in 2011, which has taken off due to our strong partnerships. We are especially thankful for the vision and generosity of the Plauche family, who are committed to ensuring that this scenic property is preserved and accessible to the public forever. Fundraising for this project would not have been successful without the dedication and hard work of Trout Unlimited and the LFVC. ”
The second major CWCB grant of $260,111 will bring LFVC to more than 60% of final construction funding for Phase 1 of the Henson Creek and Lake Fork River Enhancement Project, provided LFVC can raise $8,000 in local match funding required by the grant. The scope of Phase 1 includes nearly a half mile of lower Henson Creek to and including the Henson/Lake Fork confluence in town.
A joint venture with the Town of Lake City, the River Enhancement Project is a comprehensive solution addressing problems of erosion, bank stability, high sedimentation, poor fish habitat, and limited safe river access along the lower Henson Creek and the Lake Fork in town. Phase I will create a recreation corridor that begins at Pumphouse Park and terminates with a new extension to Memorial Park. It will also repair the Town’s irrigation channel headgate, restoring flow through Lake City’s network of historic irrigation ditches to enable full use of the town’s water rights.
“The Town is very excited to work with LFVC on protecting and improving access to Colorado’s most precious natural resource,” wrote Town Manager Nathan Henne in an email. “The proposed improvements will not only augment our treasured experiences of the great outdoors, but also make Lake City an even more desirable location for a historic mountain vacation.”
Now in its 75th year, the CWCB maintains 15 board members that represent each major water basin, Denver, and other state agencies with the goal of protecting water and ensuring citizens use it wisely. According to the CWCB’s website, the agency is “almost fully self-funded” and that the “majority of funding appropriations comes from the CWCB Construction Fund.” The site describes the Water Supply Reserve Account Program as a means of assisting “Colorado water users in addressing their critical water supply issues and interests.”
Colorado Open Lands has protected over 378,000 acres of open lands in Colorado since 1981 through voluntary partnerships with landowners, businesses, government agencies, and other conservation organizations. (www.coloradoopenlands.org)
Trout Unlimited has a mission to conserve, protect, and restore North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. Since its establishment more than a half-century ago, the nonprofit has opened 30 offices and recruited 140,000 volunteers nationwide. (www.tu.org)
The Conservancy protects Hinsdale County's most beautiful and fragile undeveloped land, including wildlife habitat, view corridors, riparian areas and wetlands. We are committed to preserving the local ranching tradition and providing access to public land.
We plan and implement restoration initiatives on land and waterways that have been impacted by development and historic mining practices.
We create fun, creative public events that stimulate the economy through celebration of our natural resources.
Click on the links above to learn more.