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$11.1 million set aside for two Colorado sites for ecosystem restoration

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Chris Sorensen

Two sites in Colorado will receive a combined $11.1 million from the Bureau of Land Management as part of a $161 million program for ecosystem restoration and the economic resilience of communities dependent on those lands.

Across the western United States, 21 sites in 11 states have been selected for the BLM program, including $27 million for habitat restoration in Montana, and $5 million in Alaska for wildland waterway restoration.

North Park in Colorado, with 169,708 acres under BLM control, is one of the largest wetland complexes in the state and will receive $5 million. The area includes winter range and migration corridors for big game, as well as culturally significant sites such as the Northern Ute Trail. Funds will be used for aquatic, riparian, wetland and terrestrial habitat improvements, fuels reduction and invasive species management.

The San Luis Valley in southern Colorado has been allocated $6.1 million to conserve and restore wildlife habitat and fisheries, improve hunting and fishing opportunities, and foster climate resilience while benefiting historically underserved, disproportionately impacted communities. BLM oversees 323,053 acres in the area.

“BLM’s North Park Restoration Landscape will revitalize habitat for greater sage-grouse and big game, improve water quality, and increase land productivity through partnerships with agriculture and the local community,” said BLM Colorado Director Doug Vilsack. “The San Luis Valley Restoration Landscape will enhance riparian ecosystems like Blanca Wetlands and lands along the Rio Grande, increasing hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation opportunities.”

United States President Joe Biden has set a goal of conserving 30 percent of the country’s lands and waters by 2030.