Montrose, CO — The City of Montrose has once again been selected by the Colorado Youth Corps Association and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to receive three weeks of work from the Western Colorado Conservation Corps (WCCC) to assist with the city’s ongoing efforts to remove invasive Russian olive from the riparian corridor at Cerise Park in spring 2019.
The WCCC crew’s efforts are valued at $27,000. The city will support the efforts of the crew by providing an in-kind match of $8,713. The city applied for youth corps crew assistance in September.
The project area within Cerise Park was identified because of its ecological and recreational benefits. Russian olive has grown in this area with little interference for up to 50 years, resulting in very dense growth. The Colorado Noxious Weed Act designates Russian olive as a “List B” species that is required to “either be eradicated, contained, or suppressed depending on the local infestations.”
The city is slowly losing mature trees and overstory canopy because of invasive species. By reducing the number of prolific Russian olive trees, native grasses and cottonwoods will become more established. The biological community will improve over time by having more space, sunlight, nutrients, and water to thrive.
"We are very excited to have the Youth Corps back to Cerise Park to pick up where they left off in 2018," said City of Montrose Parks and Special Projects Superintendent John Malloy. "In 2018 they treated 3.5 acres for Russian olive and really opened up the riparian corridor for native plants to thrive. In addition to the removals, we were able to plant a number of narrowleaf cottonwoods in the treatment area in hopes that a few years from now these trees will be growing into a native tree canopy for birds and other riparian species."
After removing Russian olive, the WCCC will plant 50 native narrowleaf cottonwoods to ensure that habitat for wildlife is not lost. Areas may have to be retreated in the future to eradicate regrowth.
The project builds off the success of prior GOCO-funded youth corps crews who completed invasive species removal work in 2017, and 2018 at Cerise, Riverbottom, and Taviwach Parks.
The Colorado Youth Corps Association announced that 200 Colorado youths will get jobs next summer working on critical outdoor recreation and land conservation projects throughout the state. These projects will enhance Colorado’s trails, parks, open spaces and wildlife habitat in 11 counties throughout the state. Funds for this project were awarded by GOCO, which receives a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds, to the Colorado Youth Corps Association for use by accredited youth corps.
The goal of the program is to employ youth and young adults throughout the state on critical outdoor recreation and land conservation projects in partnership with local governments and open-space agencies. In June 2018, the GOCO board of trustees announced that GOCO would invest $500,000 of lottery revenue in youth corps projects in 2019. GOCO has approved $250,000 for local governments and $250,000 for open space organizations.
"This grant has been instrumental for us to work on invasive plants in a variety of areas over the years. The grant has funded the Western Colorado Youth Corps to work at Cerro Summit, our Marine Road Conservation Area, Taviwach Pond and Cerise Park over the past four years," Malloy said.
Learn more about the Colorado Youth Corps Association at www.cyca.org.
Learn more about Great Outdoors Colorado at www.goco.org.
For more city news visit CityOfMontrose.org.