New fund for habitat improvement established at Yampa Valley Community Foundation | SteamboatToday.com

New fund for habitat improvement established at Yampa Valley Community Foundation

This bull elk gave visitors at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center plenty to look at Tuesday afternoon.
John F. Russell

Editor’s note: This story was corrected to accurately reflect that the city of Steamboat Springs contributed $10,000 to establish this fund, not Colorado Parks and Wildlife as was originally reported. This story was updated at 2:19 p.m. Monday, July 19.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A recently established endowment fund will benefit Routt County’s wildlife, from “fish to bugs to elk.”

The fund will support a range of habitat projects, including capital projects, planning, research, studies, management, enforcement, education and other wildlife habitat improvement projects, the Yampa Valley Community Foundation wrote in a news release.

“We live in a community with a diversity of lands and opportunities. We enjoy and appreciate our connections to the land, and we all utilize these resources in some form or fashion,” Parks and Wildlife Area Manager Kris Middledorf said in the release. “Conservation is a wise use and multi-use, and a recognition as stewards that it is our responsibility to ensure these resources are here for current and future generations to enjoy as well.”

The City of Steamboat Springs contributed $10,000 in seed money to establish the Wildlife Habitat Improvement Local District Endowment Fund, or WHILD.

“Colorado Parks and Wildlife approached the Community Foundation in this case with a vested interest to open a fund that would protect and create habitat where habitat is lost for Routt County wildlife,” said Helen Beall, marketing manager at the Yampa Valley Community Foundation.

Beall said later this summer the Community Foundation along with the agency and other partners will kick off a marketing campaign to gather more donations for the fund.

Pam Williams, a member of the Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees, hopes the fund will attract Routt County individuals and groups who want their dollars going specifically to local habitat improvement with local accountability, according to the news release.

Beall said the fund was established in a very similar way to the Trail Maintenance Endowment Fund. She said the Community Foundation and other organizations are using the trail maintenance fund as a model to build up the new habitat improvement fund.

Though no decisions on what will be funded have been made, Beall offered up some examples of projects that could qualify for grants through the endowment.

“The projects could range from anything from river habitat to elk habitat to making sure that certain plants are reintroduced to an area, so that the habitat is better for a certain animal that was maybe affected by a road or a trail or something else coming in,” Beall said.

Though the Community Foundation will house the fund, a five-member board appointed by the Community Foundation Board will make spending decisions for the endowment fund. Grant recommendation made by the board to the Community Foundation must be unanimous.

Board members will consist of one appointee with expertise in habitat improvement, wildlife management, wildlife habitat management or wildlife biology from each of the following organizations: Colorado Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado State Forest and two members from the general public. Members of the public will serve a three-year term.

The Community Foundation expects to announce the amount of available funding to land managers in early September and put out a request for proposals to fund projects later that month.

To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email ehasenbeck@steamboattoday.com or follow her on Twitter, @elHasenbeck.


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