Representatives from Chaffee Common Ground presented their suggestions for the fall round of grant funding to the county commissioners Monday during the commissioners’ work session.
Chaffee Common Ground was designated to review and recommend grants using 1A sales tax money that county voters approved in November 2018.
The group recommended funding six grants for $660,716 for this round of funding. Another round will be funded in spring.
The 1A tax was designated to be divided into a series of “buckets,” with each funding different aspects of Common Ground. The county set aside 25 percent for agricultural sustainability funding, 25 percent for forest health and fire resilience, 5 percent for recreation impact management grants, 40 percent for open allocation and 5 percent for administrative costs.
Common Ground recommended funding the Envision Community Wildlife Protection Plan Project Development grant request by Central Colorado Conservancy and the Colorado State Forest Service for $82,017 in 2020, with continued funding for the same amount in 2021 and 2022, for a total of $246,050 over three years.
For the recreation impact management grant, Common Ground recommended three grants totaling $110,499. That will require spending about $64,000 from the general allocation fund.
The first grant would be for $26,899 to Greater Arkansas River Nature Association. The grant would be for “enhanced Fourmile recreational visitor education materials and media.”
The second grant of $80,000 would go to the Southwest Conservation Corps to fund crews to work on containment of dispersed camping sites around the county.
The last recreation impact management grant would be a two-year grant, awarding $1,800 each year to Salida Mountain Trails to add portable toilets to three of its trailheads.
For the sustainable agriculture category, they recommended funding three conservation easements, all submitted by Central Colorado Conservancy, with two next year, Centerville Ranch for $385,000 and Arrowpoint Ranch for $275,000, and one in 2021, Tri Lazy W Ranch for $275,000.
Common Ground also recommended the Community Conservation Connection, in which “agricultural operators who participate in the voluntary program will sign agreements to limit nonagricultural development on their land and continue basic agricultural management practices, including irrigation. Participants will receive an annual payment based on per-acre rate.”
That program will be funded at $75,000 for 2020 and 2021, $100,000 for 2022 and $125,000 for 2023 and 2024.