Chalk up $1,059,400 in funding for Colorado conservation districts to pay for natural resource protection projects.
The federal grants go to 44 of the state's districts as part of two programs: The District Conservation Technician, and the Colorado State Conservation Board Natural Resources Matching Grant projects.
"Together with our local and federal partnerships, I am pleased that we can leverage state Severance Tax dollars to support local conservation needs throughout the state," says Cindy Lair, CSCB program manager in the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
"The more we collaborate, the more we are able to improve our natural resources for the benefit of future generations."
Conservation projects enable Coloradans to enhance sustainability on private lands for benefits of all citizens, Lair believes. The DCT may be directed by the NRCS staff to protect or improve water supply and quality, soil fertility and stability, wildlife species or habitat, forest health, air quality, energy supply and other natural resources identified as important by conservation district managers at the local level.
The DCT program is funded jointly by USDA's NRCS and the Colorado State Conservation Board, as well as conservation districts throughout the state.
The CSCB's matching fund program is a 50-50 cost share effort for conservation districts. The match from districts sometimes exceeds 50% of the cost sharing, to tackle projects like cross-fencing, windbreaks, snow fences, water tanks, gated irrigation pipes, cover crop planting, and control of noxious weeds to improve rangeland conditions and wildlife habitat, reduce soil erosion from wind and water, and for improving grazing management,
Conservation education under the program ranges from small farms and specialty workshops to large scale operations involving school districts, local producers, parents and volunteers.
Through the CDA, the board provides services to 76 conservation districts in the state. The state portion of the DCT and MG programs is largely funded by the State Severance Tax Fund, derived from mineral extraction fees.