The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Program awarded five applicants Natural Areas Enhancement funds from the $15,000 available in 2011. Avago Technologies received $2,000 to jump start their newly certified natural area with native trees and shrubs. Fossil Creek Meadows Homeowners Association received $6,900 to continue their Russian olive removal project along Mail Creek. Lindenmeier Homeowners Association received $600 to continue their wildlife enhancement project at Lindenmeier Lake. Ridgewood Hills Master Community Association received $2,000 for native trees and shrubs to begin enhancing their Raptor Corridor Natural Area. The Rolland Moore West Neighborhood Network received $3,500 to increase native plant diversity within a created stormwater wetland on Ross Natural Area.
Since its inception in 1994, the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Enhancement Fund has provided over $232,000 for enhancement of 63 sites. Thirty-one homeowner associations, five neighborhood groups, six private landowners, eleven schools from elementary to college, and two businesses have been among the recipients over the last 17 years. Non-public sites have ranged in size from the minimum ¼ acre on a large residential lot to over 50 acres of homeowner open space. The Natural Areas Enhancement Fund is an excellent way to provide seed money for projects that benefit the wildlife of the Fort Collins community, whether they are on private or public lands.
The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Program encourages stewardship of all natural areas and invites members of the Fort Collins community to propose enhancement projects for funding through the Natural Areas Enhancement Fund. The funds can be used to enhance privately-owned or publicly-owned natural areas in the Fort Collins area, including City-certified natural area sites proposed for restoration to meet natural areas criteria. Sites must be at least ¼ acre in size.
A total of $15,000 from the citizen-initiated Open Space Yes! sales tax will be available for grants again in 2012. Proposals from neighborhood groups, non-profit organizations, school groups, corporations, and individuals are eligible. Applications will be available early fall 2012.