Fremont Conservation District Projects and Outreach update
The Fremont Conservation District (FCD) would like to update the landowners within its district boundaries on the projects and outreach that we have completed through 2021.
In 2019, FCD received a matching grant from the Colorado State Conservation Board (CSCB) in the amount of $23,750 to restore the Dinkle Ditch in the Hayden Pass area that was destroyed by flooding on July 24, 2018. Hayden Pass, located in the Coaldale area, had three large events that occurred in the watershed. The first event was a wildfire that began on July 8, 2016, which burned approximately 16,000 acres and affected the Hayden and Cottonwood creek watersheds. There was a flooding event on July 13, 2017, which created post-fire flooding and debris flows which negatively impacted the watersheds and Dinkle Ditch.
On July 24, 2018, there was another devastating flooding event which additionally damaged the Dinkle Ditch and Big Cottonwood Creek. Thirteen landowners along the ditch were impacted by not being able to use their irrigation water or wells efficiently. This flooding event and erosion had negative impacts on water quality by introducing heavy loads of sediments into Hayden and Cottonwood creeks as well as Dinkle Ditch. The CSCB matching grant funds (based on the July 24, 2018, event) were used to restore the Dinkle Ditch by installing 1826 feet of 8” PVC plastic pipe and 137 feet of 12” ADS HD pipe; one steel inlet structure for the 8” pipe; assisting with labor and material costs for a 14-foot steel diversion structure for the creek; stabilizing the stream bank along Cottonwood Creek and Dinkle Ditch; and resetting a water measuring device that survived the flood. Fourteen volunteers also assisted on the CSCB grant project for a total of 641.75 hours for a total in-kind dollar amount of $16,319.70. Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) Engineer Technician Rob Fontaine surveyed and planned the installation of all irrigation pipe and structures.
In 2018, FCD partnered with Fremont County Head Start on teaching students where their food comes from with a planting project and food tasting of different vegetables and fruits. In 2019, FCD received a matching grant from the Colorado State Conservation Board (CSCB) in the amount of $1,250 to continue this project with the local preschools. FCD partnered with Fremont County Head Start, Rocky Mountain Children's Discovery Center, SPIN Preschool (Starpoint), The Ark Childcare and Mountain View Core Knowledge Pre-K, in planning and planting vegetable and pollinator gardens for the students and staff to enjoy. All planting projects are hands-on for the students to learn from and have a hand in growing their own food.
In 2020, FCD received another CSCB matching grant in the amount of $2,150 to continue this project with these preschools for improving garden areas and classroom projects. This grant continued through 2021. FCD has also participated in Family Night at Head Start, speaking to the parents on how they can have fresh food no matter where they live, and providing more than 500 garden color book handouts to families at two STEAM Fairs and the Cañon City Farmers' Market. Overall, the district has reached out to more than 1,000 students, teachers and family members on where their food comes from! Education on agriculture and agricultural products are important to the FCD Board. Staff is thankful to the preschools and schools that allow them to come in and make these presentations!
Fremont Conservation District also partners with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Colorado State Conservation Board in providing a District Conservation technician who is available to assist landowners with their projects and Environmental Quality Incentive Program applications. This is a grant funded position with NRCS providing 80 percent support and the District 20 percent support. The Technician, Mia Cory, is available for site visits for community projects. Mia assists the NRCS staff in the Cañon City, Silver Cliff, Salida and Woodland Park Field Offices on their site visits and projects, as well as providing technical assistance for the FCD cost share program. Mia is located in the Cañon City Field Office.
FCD information can be found on the website, www.fremontcd.org or our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/fremontcd. The office is located in the USDA Service Center at 248 Dozier Ave. in Cañon City. The office phone number is (719) 315-3417. The office is not open to the public at this time except by appointment only. Employees can continue to serve the public by telephone and email as well. FCD thanks the public for its patience through these trying times! It has been staff's pleasure to serve the landowners of Fremont County for more than the last 75 years!