The Weld County Youth Corps Association recently received grant dollars to help mitigate invasive plant species along the area’s rivers and protect the state’s water resources.
This will likely come as exciting news to water users in northeast Colorado’s South Platte River Basin, who see invasive phreatophyte plants — deep-rooted plants that obtain water from permanent ground supplies or from the water table — as a major problem.
A study conducted last year by the Colorado Water Institute showed that invasive phreatophyte plants continue to increase in the South Platte basin, resulting in large quantities of non-beneficial consumptive water use — perhaps as much as 250,000 acre feet per year, or 80 billion gallons.
According to a new release, the Weld County Youth Conservation Corps will receive $15,000 to remove invasive vegetation from riverbanks and sandbars of the South Platte River.
The project is coordinated with and sponsored by Ducks Unlimited.
The corps will also receive $7,500 to eradicate tamarisk and Russian olive along the St. Vrain River in a project for the Weld County Weed Division.
A total of five projects in 2014 — funded through a $50,000 grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board, which is a division of the Department of Natural Resources — will be conducted by Colorado Youth Conservation Association-accredited youth corps in conjunction with local project sponsors in four counties throughout the state.
For the South Platte River project, the Weld County Youth Corps Association crew will clear invasive vegetation from three protected properties located along the South Platte River in Weld and Morgan counties. This work will improve the river channel habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife and reduce consumptive water use.
The project will start at Weld County Road 1 and extend about three linear miles toward the confluence with the South Platte River.
The Weld County Youth Corps Association proposal was one of eight representing $105,000 in requests for 14 weeks of work to mitigate these plants throughout the state.
The Weld County Youth Corps Association — serving youth and young adults ages 14-24 — engages its corps members in community and conservation service projects throughout Weld County.