Living in Colorado, I am fortunate to experience firsthand the amazing and diverse areas that make up the Intermountain West. Geographically, the region is incredible: high mountain ranges, red rock deserts, and wide open plains all connect with the headwaters of some of the largest and most hardworking rivers in the country. One of the most compelling aspects of this landscape is the connection people and communities have with the land, open spaces, and river sanctuaries surrounding their communities.
In 2015, American Rivers announced the Connecting Communities to Rivers Grant Program, which will fund projects throughout the region that focus on stewardship, connection and preservation of our cherished hometown rivers and natural landscapes. We are excited to announce the recipients of the inaugural Connecting Communities to Rivers Grant Program which provides over $100,000 to seven projects that will improve family-friendly recreational opportunities and protect rivers and surrounding open space.
The 2016 Grant Recipients include:
- The Happy Trails Program in Ketchum, Idaho will enhance public access to the Big Wood River through the improvement of trails and riverside habitat, as well as increased signage and the creation of river access maps.
- Snake River Waterkeeper’s 2016 Swim Guide uses data sampled on the Snake River in Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington to maintain an app that provides the public with free, up-to-date, reliable, independent information about which sites are safe for swimming.
- In the Teton Creek Community Corridor, Friends of the Teton is working in partnership with other community organizations to enhance conservation, recreation, and community connection along Teton Creek in Driggs, Idaho.
- Along the Gunnison River, River Restoration Adventures for Tomorrow will increase local engagement and stewardship for the protection of the Gunnison River Watershed in Colorado through experiential learning adventures and river conservation work.
- Rivers & Birds, a New Mexico-based nonprofit organization, will present its award-winning nine-day Watershed Learning Project to teach local watershed conservation with a multicultural focus to Taos fifth grade students through adventurous, hands-on investigations along local rivers, including the Rio Grande.
- Blackfoot Community-Based Drought Resilience: The Blackfoot Challenge will unite anglers, irrigators, and communities in a collaborative effort to promote sustainable recreation, support agricultural stewardship, and benefit in-stream flows for native fish along the Blackfoot River in northwestern Montana.
- On the Upper Colorado River, the Eagle Valley Land Trust is is working in partnership with public agencies, like Eagle County Open Space and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, to enhance conservation, promote livability and support family‐friendly recreational opportunities in the area.
Stay connected and share how rivers are woven into the fabric of your community. #WeAreRivers
Photo Credit: Brett Hockmuth, Upper Colorado River