Water-Colorado’s most precious bird and human resource-is a core issue for legislators in the 2021 legislative session.The legislator approved more than $53 million In the new bill for water-related projects. We all depend on healthy, flowing rivers. Audubon’s participation in the severe drought conditions on the West Slope, Colorado water resources plan updates, watershed and wildfire restoration needs, Audubon’s participation has increased the awareness of water resources among legislators and partners across the state. Read on for the highlights of what we have achieved together.
Water fund wins
Colorado Water Project
Birds and humans need clean and reliable water, which is related to funding.Audubon Network submitted more than 900 action alerts to legislators to support HB21-1260, General transfer of funds for the implementation of the National Water PlanHB1260 allocated US$15 million to the Colorado Water Conservation Commission (CWCB) Water Resources Program Implementation Cash Fund and allocated US$5 million to the Basin Roundtable.
Do you have an environmental project, research or planning idea that you are ready to implement? If yes, right now It’s time to apply. With these additional funds, Water plan grant The funding, matching of research and planning has been reduced to 25%, while the standard matching of 50% for construction projects still exists. The deadline for grant applications for 2021 is July 1st and December 1st.
Watershed and wildfire recovery capacity
The historic wildfires in 2020 and concerns about the strong wildfire season in 2021 have made watershed and wildfire recovery a top priority. Two bills were passed to help meet these needs: SB21-054, Wildfire mitigation and response transfer, A total of US$9 million was allocated, of which US$4 million was used for the CWCB River Basin Grant Program, and SB21-240, Watershed recovery stimulation, It allocated $30 million to the CWCB Watershed Grant Program to protect watersheds from wildfires through research and restoration.
Agriculture and drought resistance
Colorado ranchers and farmers are struggling to get through another Dry year. Xipo suffered drought in three of the past four years. Birds, other wild animals and communities that rely on agricultural landscapes are also struggling. Audubon and our partners support three bills to help improve agricultural drought resistance and improve soil health.
HB21-1242, Creation of the Office of Agricultural Drought and Climate Adaptation, Grant $500,000 to the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) for a new drought and climate recovery cash fund.
SB21-235, Efficiency plan stimulus, A total of US$5 million was allocated, of which US$2 million was used to provide soil health subsidies to CDA.
SB21-234, Agriculture and drought resistance, Grant 3 million US dollars to the Drought Relief Fund to provide financial and technical assistance for the transportation of hay or fodder from outside Colorado, support the restoration of pastures after fire/drought, and provide technical assistance to help producers prepare for future droughts .
The success of water funding makes it clear to our state legislators that water is the number one issue for Colorados. We hope that policymakers will continue to focus on ensuring that the natural infrastructure of our watersheds, rivers, and wetlands are protected to meet the environmental and community needs of future generations in our state.
Water resource awareness for decision makers
In May, the Audubon Rocky Mountains and Water Management business concluded the 2021 morning water legislators webinar series. Audubon and Business for Water Stewardship would like to express their deep gratitude to the hosts and attendees of the Water Legislators webinar series. More than three sessions (The value of Colorado water, water connections, with Water quality), more than 230 legislators, staff/support staff and the informed public participated in the on-site meeting.
As a country, from residents to decision makers, we need to understand, learn more, and participate in decision-making around our water resources. The decisions we make about the health of water and rivers affect the entire state of Colorado—birds and humans.