A Note From Our Executive Director
Spring has come to the Central Colorado valleys and mountains, and with Spring comes change.
This has special meaning in 2020, as we all continue to find ways to push on during this COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you to all of our members and donors who continue to support the Conservancy during these times. Your dedication and passion helps keep our conservation programs running to protect the lands, waters and quality of life that we all enjoy here in Central Colorado. Spring has also brought a few changes to the Conservancy, including launching a new website, developing a new 5-year strategic plan, and a leadership change on our Board of Directors.
As we move forward in 2020 and beyond, we do so with new board leadership, as long-time President Cindy Williams shifts her attention to co-lead Envision Chaffee County’s programs. We welcome Aaron Kindle, Director of Sporting Advocacy at National Wildlife Federation, as our new Board President. The Conservancy looks forward to continued work with Envision staff and programs, as we share similar objectives for implementing community-driven solutions to our shared land and resource challenges.
Though some aspects of our world have paused, the Conservancy team is pushing forward with our important work in forever protecting land and resources in Central Colorado. Current projects focus on conservation easements along the HWY 285/Browns Canyon corridor, securing public fishing access along the Arkansas River in southern Lake County, and protecting wetland and rangeland resources in the Badger Creek watershed. Each of these efforts delivers on our shared mission to protect land and safeguard our rural lifestyle and character. We have expanded our traditional easement work to include targeted conservation and restoration efforts, including the new Community Conservation Connection program, Common Ground-funded initiative to support conservation on working agricultural lands in Chaffee County. We are also using our community-based networks to implement large-scale restoration on wetlands and grasslands in the Badger Creek watershed, a major drainage to the Arkansas River.
We look forward to taking new directions in 2020 with our friends and supporters, old and new alike! As some of you know, our volunteer and outreach events, including our Hands for Lands volunteer program on working ranches, have been postponed at least through early June. We are monitoring federal, state and local guidelines for any potential lifting of restrictions, and you can always stay connected to us and receive the latest news by signing up for notifications through our new website.
In the meantime, be well and stay positive. Get outside when you can, support local businesses when the opportunity arises, and trust that the Conservancy is still out there making a difference in protecting and sustaining the things that we care about most here in Central Colorado.
To the possibilities,
Adam Beh, Executive Director
Good News! The Conservancy Has a New Website.
It’s official - the Conservancy team has launched a brand new website! For any nonprofit organization, it’s important to have a website that properly informs their audience and community who they are and what they do, while providing several ways for those interested to get involved. When Adam and Zach joined the team at the end of 2019, a new website that accomplished each of these things was a top priority. After months of team collaboration, design work, and final board approval, the new Central Colorado Conservancy website is up and running. This new site will serve as a wonderful communication tool for us to keep you and future visitors up to date on our projects, mission accomplishments, and organization updates. In the near future, we will be adding many more pages that will include Artists for Conservation, “Is an Easement Right For My Property?”, Hands for Lands, and so much more.
Greetings From Our Staff: Lucy Waldo, Conservation Director
Hello, friends and supporters! Recently, our staff has been busy working on grant applications to Great Outdoors Colorado and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. These grants will help us conserve 2,400 acres in Chaffee County and 438 acres in Park County.
Thank you to all the landowners who continue to dedicate their time and resources to conservation, despite the big challenges we are facing with COVID-19. Please stay healthy and let us know if I can be of any help. We are now able to visit with you again outside on your land, which means more time outside
and less screen time!
Be well and stay healthy,
Lucy Waldo, Conservation Director
Major Project Update: Badger Creek
Badger Creek Restoration - Our Largest On-The-Ground Restoration Accomplishment of 2020
In April, the Conservancy team completed Phase 2 of our Riparian Restoration demonstration project in the Badger Creek Watershed. Mark Beardsley and his crew from EcoMetrics built 100 'speed bumps' out of locally harvested sod designed to slow and spread the water out, and reconnect Badger Creek to its floodplain. In the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures above, you can see how well these new speed bumps are working to re-saturate the riparian corridor and create more wetland habitat. In June, we will plant 3000 willows along this newly treated reach of Badger Creek to help enhance riparian habitat and the creek's ability to act as a filter for upland erosion.
This work is funded through a grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Wetlands Program, and support from Colorado Colorado Trout Unlimited. In all, this project will enhance and restore more than 24 acres of wetland habitat in the Badger Creek Watershed. While wetlands and riparian areas comprise only 2% of our landscape, more than 75% of our wildlife species depend on them.
The Badger Creek Partnership is a watershed-wide stakeholder partnership aimed at the assessment, improvement, restoration, and protection of all aspects of the Badger Creek Watershed for present and future generations.
Community Hero Recognition: Mark Beardsley
Frequent Conservancy supporter and collaborator, Mark Beardsley, recently received the Environmental Law Institute National Wetland Award for Business Leadership! The Wetlands Awards are presented annually to individuals who have excelled in wetlands protection, restoration, and education. Through coordinated media outreach, educational events, and an awards ceremony on Capitol Hill, awardees receive national recognition and attention for their outstanding efforts.
From everyone here at the Conservancy, Congratulations Mark! Thank you for your continued help in protecting Colorado.
To learn more about Mark’s recent award, please visit: http://elinwa.org/
Wetland FAC Holds Largest Meeting To Date
On May 6, Conservancy team member Buffy Lenth organized the largest Arkansas Headwaters Wetland Focus Area Committee meeting to date, with more than 50 members coming together on Zoom. Three presenters shared on current topics including Beavers as a Restoration tool, Colorado Natural Heritage Program's restoration and mapping toolkit, and Stream Management Planning in Colorado. All three presenters generously shared their presentations, which you will find access to here:
Business Spotlight: Monarch Mountain & Melanzana
Our local businesses here in Central Colorado have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. While seasons have been canceled and doors have temporarily closed for many entities, some businesses have gone above and beyond to still give to the causes they care about during these challenging times. With that said, today we want to give a special shout out to two businesses that kept their support of our mission strong and steady to help us protect Central Colorado when it’s needed most - Monarch Mountain and Melanzana. From the Conservancy board of directors and staff, we’re sending out a huge THANK YOU to Fritz and the Melanzana team, and Randy and the entire Monarch staff, for being there when we needed them. The impact these remarkable businesses are making during these times will be remembered for many years to come!
Communications Update: Newsletters Are Now Quarterly
From a new Executive Director and Board President, to a newly revised 5-year strategic plan, there have been many changes and enhancements at the Conservancy over the past several months. During this time, we’ve made the decision to move from small, monthly updates, to more informative, quality newsletters that will be delivered quarterly. In case you miss an email or need to find a certain update again, all future newsletters will live here on our new website for you to access conveniently at any time. With that said, be on the lookout each quarter for our new newsletter format!
If you’re ever curious about what we’re up to in between newsletters or have questions about specific projects or programs, you can always reach out to us directly. We’re always more than happy to chat with our supporters and local community members.
Member Wildlife Showcase: Have a Wildlife Photo Featured in Our Future Newsletters!
One of the most exciting parts of visiting or living in Central Colorado is the constant possibility of catching a glimpse of our unique local wildlife. As a part of our revamped newsletter format, we want to showcase and share YOUR wildlife sightings in our next editions! So, the next time your out and about and spot a noteworthy animal or critter, snap a picture and email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the location of the photo and the name of the species. These photos will serve as an exciting and adventurous addition for us all to look forward to. Thanks in advance for your help in sharing these wonderful local sightings!
These beautiful wildlife photos were submitted by Conservancy Member Lea Frye: 1. A catching orange Bullock’s Oriole taken at Sands Lake SWA. 2. An emerging Sora taken at Mount Ouray SWA. 3. A proud Canada Goose with her Goslings taken at Frantz Lake SWA. 4. A determined Meadow Vole taken at Frantz Lake SWA. More of Lea's photos can be found on her website and her Instagram account.
Thanks for sharing, Lea!
Volunteering: Update on Future Events
Our Hands for Lands volunteer program is one of our favorite things about the Conservancy. It’s a wonderful program that not only helps our local ranchers, but also brings us all together as volunteers, and friends, to make a difference. Although this decision was hard to make, to keep in step with the state’s “Safer at home” policy, we have decided to hold off on any current or future volunteer event planning.
We are watching things unfold very closely and will keep you posted on any updates we make to this decision. For all of you who have reached out about the program, we cannot thank you enough for your passion for this work.
Conservancy Board News: We Have a New President!
In case you missed our recent member email or Facebook post about this update, we're delighted to inform you all that Conservancy board member Aaron Kindle has recently been elected Board President. Former president, Cindy Williams, has stepped down from the position to help see Envision Chaffee County become its own independent organization. Cindy will continue to help and support the Conservancy as an advisor to the board.
Our entire staff and board of directors are beyond excited about what Aaron has brought to this ever-important role. Through his experience as the Director of Sporting Advocacy at the National Wildlife Federation, and his two decades of experience in conservation, Aaron is stepping up to lead our mission into its next chapter, while holding true to our core values and organizational priorities. Professionally, Aaron enjoys strong relationships with state and federal wildlife and land management agencies, and Colorado's diverse conservation community. Aaron was born in Wyoming and has lived across the
West his entire life.
"I am very excited about the future of the Conservancy,” said Kindle. “We have a unique opportunity to help shape the future of Central Colorado in ways that conserve our agricultural heritage and our rural way of life. It's so important we look to the future and think about what we want our area to be. The Conservancy is a key driver of that work, so I'm very happy to take on a greater role at the organization."
Thank you for your leadership and passion for the Conservancy's important impact here in Central Colorado, Aaron! -Conservancy Board & Staff
What's On the Horizon
The Conservancy is hard at work on a revised and enhanced 5-year strategic plan that will be completed and approved by our board by the end of our fiscal year (June 30th, 2020). This new plan, filled with innovative goals and strategies to accomplish our mission, has generated many new and exciting programs that we will be launching over the next several months. A few of these programs include: a brand new membership program with enhanced benefits for our dedicated members, a revamped and robust business giving program that will enable local businesses to help protect Central Colorado, and a legacy giving model that will give our donors and community members the opportunity to make a lasting impact in Central Colorado for decades to come.
Staff Directory & Contact Information
Although our office is to remain closed to the public until further notice, our staff is available and more than happy to speak with you. If you would like to contact us, please use of of the following methods:
Temporary COVID-19 Office #:
Executive Director, Adam Beh:
Conservation Director, Lucy Waldo:
Watershed Restoration Specialist, Buffy Lenth:
Agricultural Projects Manager, Natalie Allio:
Membership Coordinator, Julie Richardson:
Director of Development & Communications, Zach Tucker:
We Appreciate Each and Every One of You
From everyone here at the Conservancy, we wish you all the best in this season and want you to know your support means the world to us. We hope to see you soon! From our families to yours, stay positive and continue to enjoy the beautiful lands, waters, and unmatched quality of life
here in Central Colorado.
Central Colorado Conservancy