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Five Star Urban Waters grants totaling $99k awarded to three projects in Colorado

With support from EPA, community-led projects will receive funding to restore urban waters and streams, and address water quality in priority watersheds

Contact Information: 
Lisa McClain-Vanderpool (
Stacey Eriksen (

Denver, Colo. (August 14, 2018) – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced three Five Star Urban Waters grants to the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, Groundwork Denver and the Rocky Mountain Field Institute, totaling $99,069. 

“The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant program protects, conserves, and restores community wetlands and waterways by cooperatively working with local partners,” said Darcy O’Connor, Assistant Regional Administrator for the Office of Water Protection in EPA’s Denver office. “By collaborating with these local organizations we can tackle local level high priority watershed issues, sustainably and effectively.”

Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory received a $22,158 grant to conduct habitat restoration and community outreach along the South Platte River. The project will restore malfunctioning water control structures on permanent Wetland Reserve Program easements along the lower South Platte River, restoring at least 40 acres of open wetland and managing at least 201 acres of surrounding habitat to support at-risk migratory waterfowl, waterbirds and shorebirds. The project will also educate landowners and invite private landowners to implement wetland best management practices for wildlife habitat along the river corridor. Project partners include the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (U.S.D.A.) Natural Resources Conservation Service, Ducks Unlimited and Colorado Openlands.

Groundwork Denver has received $46,911 to carry out water quality outreach and residential activities on Bear Creek.  The project will improve the water quality and riparian habitat of Bear Creek in Denver County, Colorado while providing a career pathway for 34 low-income youth employees and stewardship opportunities for local residents, by offering education and resources to reduce watershed human impacts. The project will install green infrastructure to reduce runoff from residential properties, coordinate community volunteer days to remove invasive plant species, clean up trash and replant native species in the riparian habitat. Project partners include Home Depot, River Network, Colorado State University Stormwater Center, Eco Friend Bee, Harvey Park Sustainability Team, Metro State University, Colorado River Watch and the cities of Denver, Lakewood and Sheridan.

The Rocky Mountain Field Institute was awarded $30,000 to conduct community environmental stewardship in southern Colorado involving the education of about 2,300 youth and adult community volunteers in Colorado Springs and throughout surrounding counties to restore 20 acres of habitat impacted by fire and invasive species. This project will work with the Conservation Corps in addition to other volunteers, supporting at least 75 corps members who will learn conservation employment skills. Project partners include the Friends of the Garden of the Gods, Mountain Chalet, Indy Give and the City of Colorado Springs. Funding for this grant is from FedEx and the U.S.D.A. Forest Service Urban Waters program.

These three grants were among 59 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program grants totaling $2.2 million and were awarded to restore wildlife habitat and urban waters in 30 states and the District of Columbia. Grantees have committed an additional $5.2 million in local project support, generating a total conservation impact of more than $7.4 million.

NFWF’s Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program supports projects that develop community stewardship of natural resources and address water quality issues in priority watersheds across the country. Support for the 2018 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program is provided by the Wildlife Habitat Council, and major funding by EPA, U.S.D.A Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fedex, Shell Oil Company, Southern Company and BNSF Railway.

“The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program generates measurable results for wildlife and communities across the nation,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The 59 grants announced today will help communities improve water quality and support wildlife through a variety of conservation efforts, from the removal of invasive species and planting of native vegetation to the reduction of stormwater runoff and creation of wetlands.”

The 2018 grant winners were selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 250 applications. A full list of 2018 projects is available here​.

Since 1999, the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program has supported more than 945 projects, with more than $11.9 million in federal funds, $10.6 million in private and corporate contributions, and $74.7 million in matching funds at the local level.

For more information about the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant program, visit