Outdoor recreation is a big part of living in the Grand Valley. Thanks to a new river restoration project, many people will have an easier time doing just that.
The Colorado Water Conservation Board awarded RiversEdge West with a $150,000 grant to complete river restoration projects from now until 2020.
The funds will be used to restore habitat in areas recently impacted by wildfires such as Skipper Island, Horsethief Canyon and the Island Acres section of the Colorado River State Park.
They’ll do so by getting rid of invasive species such as Russian olive and Tamarisk. These invasive species are not only more flammable than most, but they also create hazards for river runners, block access to outdoor recreation and impact wildlife habitat.
“When invasive plants invade, they just drastically alter the ecosystem. They overtake the native plants that wildlife rely on,” said Cara Kukuraitis, Outreach Coordinator with RiversEdge West.
Once those invasive species are removed, they’ll replace them with healthy plants such as cottonwood, sagebrush and rabbitbrush, which are naturally grown in the area.
If you’re interested in touring local restoration sites up close, RiversEdge West will be hosting their next Raft the River trip on August 24.