Community Funding Partnership Enters Third Year

During the First Quarterly General & Enterprise meeting of 2023, the Colorado River District Board of Directors kicked off the new year by approving $466,727 in Community Funding Partnership project grants to four projects across the West Slope.

These awards (detailed below) add to the $3.2 million awarded to 47 projects in the 2022 calendar year, including 15 Accelerator Grants supporting access to federal funding opportunities for West Slope water users. Since its launch in 2021, the Colorado River District Community Funding Partnership has provided over $6 million to over 70 projects. An overview of program accomplishments, alongside testimonials from CFP awardees, can be found in the new 2022 Community Funding Partnership Annual Report .

“The entire Colorado River Basin faces a future with less water, and the projects we fund through the Community Funding Partnership provide real-world solutions within our own District,” said Amy Moyer, Director of Strategic Partnerships. “The program is a success story of how local funding can catalyze durable and immediate actions across our communities.”

The full report on these projects can be found in our public packet, page 291:

Water Efficient Landscape Conversion Program

Project Applicant: Eagle County Conservation District
Approved Amount: $191,554
Location: Eagle County

The Water Efficient Landscape Conversion (WELC) Program is a three-year pilot co-led by Eagle County Conservation District and Eagle River Watershed Council to establish a non-functional turf replacement and irrigation upgrade rebate program, to construct examples of lawn alternatives through research and demonstration gardens, and to launch educational opportunities to change behavior through outdoor water management practices and sustainable landscape conversion skills.

Overall, the WELC Program will create turf replacement program in greater Eagle County by expanding opportunities beyond the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District’s existing turf replacement rebate program. The establishment of a turf conversion rebate and education program in greater Eagle County will advance goals outlined in the Climate Action Plan adopted by Eagle County, planning and engagement efforts in the Eagle River Community Water Plan, and water efficiency plans adopted by smaller municipalities.

White River Water Supply Study

Project Applicant: White River Conservation District
Approved Amount: $64,350
Location: Rio Blanco County

The White River Water Supply Study is a priority of the White River Integrated Water Initiative and aims to identify the effects of flood irrigation to the White River, local aquifers, and communities. Data will be collected in the middle reach defined as downstream from the confluence of the White River and Miller Creek to the west end of Powell Park to facilitate the development and application of a hydrologic model for the White River. The final deliverable of this project is a return flow model for the middle reach of the White River.

Uncompahgre and White River Riparian Restoration Project

Project Applicant: RiversEdge West
Approved Amount: $70,823
Location: Montrose and Rio Blanco Counties

The Uncompahgre and White River Riparian Restoration Project will enhance fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, and riparian health on 19 acres of lands along two (2) river miles of the Uncompahgre and White rivers by removing invasive tamarisk, Russian olive, and other noxious weeds and replacing them with diverse native plant species. These river corridors provide habitat for important wildlife including threatened and endangered species. In addition, agricultural and recreational uses of these rivers serve as the foundation of local communities’ socioeconomic well-being. Invasive plants degrade rivers in myriad ways, and this project will engage youth corps, volunteers, private landowners and local contractors in improving and maintaining the health of two West Slope rivers that are important to the surrounding communities.

Enhancing Soil Moisture Observations to Support Water Resource Management in the Upper Yampa River Basin

Project Applicant: Upper Yampa Coalition – including Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Center for Western Weather & Water Extremes & Yampa Valley Sustainability Council
Approved Amount: $140,000
Location: Routt County

The Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E), Yampa Valley Sustainability Council (YVSC), Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District (UYWCD), and Colorado Mountain College (CMC) will work closely with local and regional water managers to add eight stations to a soil moisture monitoring station network in the Upper Yampa River Basin. The primary objective of this network is to reduce uncertainty in seasonal snowmelt runoff predictions in the Upper Yampa by directly observing soil moisture in areas responsible for much of the runoff. This data collection will support water supply planning in a changing climate. This project builds on efforts led by the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District to support an initial basin analysis and the installation of a first soil moisture monitoring station in the Yampa River Basin over 2021 and 2022.

Link to digital version on CRD web [MC1]