The Board of County Commissioners approved $890,005 in grants to 14 recipients during the Spring 2022 Chaffee Common Ground funding cycle.
Recommendations from the Citizens Advisory Committee were adopted today.
Nineteen applications were received requesting $1,167,837.
The grant funding package includes $519,205 for Forest Health and Wildfire Resilience, $208,100 for Rural Landscape Preservation and $162,700 for Recreation Management that protects watersheds and landscapes in Chaffee County. The related cash and in-kind funds total $1,787,370.
This was the fourth funding cycle since the adoption of the Common Ground revenue-generating ballot measure in 2018. To date, $5.9 million has been awarded to 28 local groups and partnerships for 50 programs and projects. Matched investments for these grants will add $24.7 million in value to the community by 2026. Programs and projects by category:
Forest health and resilience to forest fires
Reduction in Mesa Antero fuels
$202,205 over two years to the Colorado State Forest Service to create a 5-mile fuel break along roads in the Mesa Antero subdivision to improve access for firefighters and evacuation of local residents in the event of a wildfire and for to help protect 210 homes. The project connects to two existing focal points in the south. The landscape is a priority treatment area in the Chaffee County Municipality Wildfire Prevention Plan.
$180,000 to the Chaffee County Fire Protection District to create a full-time position for three years to administer wildfire response programs. The fire service must demonstrate a sustainable source of funding in Year 3 (2024) to receive recommended funding.
Forestry and Mandatory Fire Module
$95,000 to Colorado Firecamp for personal protective equipment and an all-terrain vehicle (UTV) equipped with a water tank and pump. The equipment will be used for Firecamp’s field exercises, which include burning cleared land and agricultural ditches, forest thinning and additional forest mitigation work.
Process-based, low-tech restoration assessment for forest and watershed health
$42,000 to the National Forest Foundation for a pilot project to create artificial beaver dams, which often result in beaver reintroduction, which can help restore wetlands and reduce sediment transport after wildfires caused by flooding.
Virtual Fencing in Upper Arkansas
$123,750 to the Central Colorado Conservancy for a partnership with the US Forest Service to analyze the use of virtual fences for livestock operations. Funding for radio towers, tower trailers and radio collars that could eliminate the need for traditional fencing and help farm operators manage livestock more efficiently on private and public lands.
M&S Quarry Water Point
$57,350 to TN Bar Cattle Company to divert water away from the quarry, a popular recreational destination, and ensure grazing livestock and wildlife can continue to drink from the only spring in the area. The funds finance a well, a pump and the associated infrastructure. The water remains in the quarry for visitors.
Missouri Park Ditch Bank vegetation management
$20,000 to the Missouri Park Ditch Company to pay a Southwest Conservation Corps crew to cut and pile up willow along part of the ditch to increase the water supply. The slash is burned in a separate project. Ditch water from the South Arkansas River irrigates approximately 2,000 acres of farmland north and northwest of Poncha Springs.
Soil health and grazing speaker series
$5,000 mini-grant to Upper Arkansas Conservation District to support education on grazing techniques, drought resilience and profit management for local agricultural producers.
$2,000 mini-scholarship to Colorado Farm to Table to purchase a cooler to store fresh berries for the Berry Patch Project, an educational farming experience at Shine Farm. The organization must raise equal funds to receive the grant.
Improvements in Monarch Park
$60,000 to the National Forest Foundation to support the renovation of the US Forest Service Monarch Park Campground, a project selected for funding from the Great American Outdoors Act. Local funding is mitigating the recovery’s impact on nearby streams and riparian areas by reducing user-created social pathways, leveling eroded areas, and replanting old campgrounds. Campground renovation is a priority in the Chaffee County Outdoor Recreation Management Plan.
Porta-potties on public lands
$48,000 to the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) over three years for the placement of 22 portable toilets in 11 popular locations on public lands to aid in recreation management as outdoor use increases.
Whipple Trail Restoration
$44,700 to the City of Buena Vista Recreation Department to address the effects of overuse on the Whipple Trail. The project, a top priority in the Chaffee County Outdoor Recreation Management Plan, restores the trail to industry standards, improves three river access points, naturalizes numerous social trails and upgrades two existing scenic areas.
Chubb Park Scattered Camping Cleanup
$5,000 mini-grant to the Colorado State Land Board for materials such as wooden stakes, metal campfire rings, and an information kiosk to transition to camping at locations designated on Chubb Park State Land Trust property.
Portable toilets at Salida Trailheads
$5,000 mini grant to Salida Mountain Trails for portable restrooms at three popular trailheads on CR 108, CR 110 and Spiral Drive.
Chaffee Common Ground is a conservation funding program that addresses community landscape challenges and invests a 0.25% sales tax to strengthen forest health and reduce the risk of wildfires. that maintain and support functioning agriculture and rural landscapes; and to manage the impact of growth in outdoor recreation. Visit chaffeecommonground.org for more information.
Danny “Dan R” Ridenour has been in radio and television for 42 years and began as a high school senior at KAMO in Rogers, Arkansas.
Dan attended Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas (where he took the name Dan R after his frat brothers couldn’t pronounce his last name) from 1978 to 1982, majoring in radio/television. Dan lived in Jonesboro for 10 years, worked in radio and then was a television weatherman for ABC affiliate KAIT Channel 8.
TV was a little boring compared to radio, so Dan went back to hosting radio morning shows in Nashville, Memphis, Oklahoma and eventually Colorado.
Dan enjoys community involvement, was a member of the Upper Arkansas Service Club and currently serves on the board of directors for the Salida Community Center and is a member of the Chaffee County Fair Committee.
Dan and his wife, Carrie, spend their days doing everything the mountains have to offer: hiking, camping, fishing, and skiing. They raised 3 children together and 2 grandchildren.