Colorado State University received more than $550,000 to fund three research projects through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The funds will support projects through the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, a research unit in the Warner College of Natural Resources.
The first project, “Tools for Colorado Wetlands: Essential Information for Identification, Assessment and Conservation,” will focus on developing a Colorado Wetland Field Guide. The tool will be comprised of botanical descriptions of more than 500 wetland plants, information on priority wildlife and wetland-dependent species and rare plants. The field guide will be used as a resource to determine a plant’s wetland identity, conservation rarity and ecology. A Colorado Wetland website will be developed in addition to the guide providing easy online access to a database of wetland ecosystem and conservation status information.
Also funded is a project titled “Setting Mitigation in the Watershed Context: Developing a Multi-tiered Approach to Improve Compensatory Mitigation,” which will be completed in partnership with the CSU Department of Biology, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This project will create a protocol for improving compensatory wetland mitigation using a wetland profiling approach. The research team will study a portion of the rapidly developing northern I-25 corridor in Colorado to quantify changes in the abundance and types of wetlands during the past 30 years and the condition of existing wetlands. The project will develop a framework for developing wetland profiles throughout Colorado to link regulatory decisions with scientific information on wetland health.
The final funded project, “Survey of Critical Wetlands and Riparian Areas in Teller County,” will expand on Colorado Natural Heritage Program’s ongoing assessment and documentation of imperial plants, animals and unique plant communities. CSU research teams will partner with Teller County and the Coalition for the Upper South Platte to perform a prioritized survey and conditional assessment of the county’s wetlands.
The funding is from the EPA Region 8, Wetland Program Development Grant Program and the three CSU projects support the EPA’s strategic plan and contribute to Colorado’s Wetlands Strategy.
For more information on the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, visit http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/.