RBC Blue Water Project Supports Restoration of the Colorado River
RBC Blue Water Project recently announced a generous grant to the Conservation Lands Foundation in support of our continuing partnership with the Colorado Youth Corps Association to do much-needed restoration work on the Colorado River in McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. Near Grand Junction, CO, the area is an incredibly beautiful (and popular) place that is part of the National Conservation Lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
RBC Blue Water Project is granting $10,000 to help pay for a conservation youth corps to remove invasive tamarisk and Russian olive from riverbanks, remove Russian knapweed, and plant and protect native Fremont cottonwoods and coyote willow. These native species enhance wildlife habitat, help rehabilitate the river corridor and improve water quality. RBC has a corporate office in Denver and supported the partnership with a similar gift last year.
RBC Blue Water Project, launched in 2007, is a wide-ranging, multi-year program to help foster a culture of water stewardship in Canada and abroad. It has committed in excess of $41 million to more than 700 organizations for awareness, education and on-the-ground programs that protect watersheds and ensure access to clean drinking water.
The funding supports the Conservation Lands Foundation’s Veterans-Youth Conservation Corps Partnership, initiated in late 2012 and aimed at enhancing water quality, wildlife habitat and creating jobs on National Conservation Lands. The partnership is a unique collaboration of private funders, Colorado Youth Corps Association, veterans and community volunteers. The National Conservation Lands are the premier lands and waters managed for conservation by the Bureau of Land Management, (BLM), and comprise over 28 million acres—mostly in the West—including 21 national conservation areas and 20 national monuments.
This project impacts a 26-mile stretch of the Colorado River as it flows through McInnis Canyons, bordering the Black Ridge Wilderness on one side. The stretch—commonly known as Ruby-Horsethief—is popular for recreational boating and camping, and according to BLM Park Ranger Troy Schnurr, the BLM has worked since 2001 to improve habitat and better manage the river for scores of people who come every summer to paddle, fish and camp out.
Cutting out tamarisk is a long-term endeavor; it takes several crews working over several seasons to make progress. But the work is important because tamarisk and another common invasive species, Russian olive, are deep-rooted plants that obtain water from permanent ground supplies or from the water table. They present a threat to the river’s water supply that is needed by native flora and fauna as well as by people.
The Conservation Lands Foundation is grateful to RBC Blue Water Project for its support of this great partnership, and we will continue to post news about its progress and launch.