|Glenwood Springs, Colorado — On June 28, 2022, the Colorado River District’s Community Funding Partnership awarded its first Accelerator Grant to the Big Blue Ditch Diversion Rehabilitation and Piping Project Feasibility Study. Located in Gunnison County near Cimarron, steep slopes and erosion put the Big Blue Ditch at risk of catastrophic landslides. Diversion improvements, SCADA implementation and ditch piping will mitigate these issues and provide environmental benefits. The Accelerator Grant will fund the feasibility study for this project resulting in a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART grant application.
As a new branch of the Community Funding Partnership, the Accelerator Grant program is designed to support West Slope water users as they navigate the time-consuming and often costly application requirements for federal water project dollars available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), including feasibility, design, preliminary environmental review, and engineering studies.
“The BIL provides large-scale infusions of funding for a wide array of water projects over the next five years,” said Amy Moyer, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the River District, “We want to ensure West Slope water users can meet these deadlines and take advantage of these funds.”
Competitive applications for both Accelerator Grants and subsequent federal funding tend to demonstrate a collaborative stakeholder effort and quantify the environmental benefits of the proposed water project. “The Big Blue Ditch Project provides a good model for what a successful Accelerator Grant application looks like,” said Moyer.
“We established the Community Funding Partnership to be nimble and responsive to the needs of our West Slope water users. Right now, accessing and leveraging federal funds is an important step for our constituents as they adapt to our hotter, drier climate. We’re excited to see more Accelerator Grant applications between now and August 1.”
To learn more and apply for an Accelerator Grant via the Community Funding Partnership, visit coloradoriverdistrict.org/community-funding-partnership.