A new partnership in the Arkansas River Basin of Colorado.

The Arkansas River Conservation Cooperative (ARCC) donated $15,000 to the Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative (ARWC) general fund in 2022 and has committed another $15,000 for 2023.

ARWC is a boots-on-the-ground conservation organization that spawned out of the Arkansas Basin Round Table. Its work includes wildfire fuel mitigation, post-fire/flood recovery, and stream restoration. Its service area spans the Arkansas River Basin from Leadville to the Colorado-Kansas border. 

The Monarch Pass fire mitigation project could be a model for other mountain areas.

The decision of the ARCC board to donate to the general fund was a result of conversations between Bob Hamel, executive director of ARCC, and Jonathan Paklaian, executive director of ARWC.

Even though ARWC was awarded millions of dollars in grants, getting the money was contingent on completing the work. This was resulting in a cash-flow problem with contractors. The ARCC board saw an opportunity to make a real difference for an organization that was doing important work.

The ARCC board will consider donating additional funds to ARWC above and beyond its current commitment but it would likely be tied to specific projects that align with our mission.

Additionally, ARWC and ARCC are exploring ways to further partner for the benefit of the Arkansas River Basin in Colorado.

As the ARCC board searches for ways to protect flows on the Arkansas River, we find that conservation will be critical in protecting the flows we do have. Also, reducing sediment in our reservoirs protects storage and allows the Voluntary Flow Management Program to function.

Travis Hochard, Treasurer/Secretary, ARCC

ARWC Projects

ARWC post-fire recovery projects include mitigation and restoration work in areas impacted by the Hayden Pass Fire, Spring Creek Fire, and Decker Fire, with post-fire water quality monitoring on the Arkansas River between Salida and Cañon City.

The Monarch Pass beetle kill project is another ARWC project that could serve as a model for wildfire mitigation in treacherous areas.

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