The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department awarded six applicants Natural Areas Enhancement funds from the $15,000 available in 2012. Funds for Russian olive removal on privately-owned open spaces in southeast Fort Collins were received by Fossil Creek Meadows Homeowners Association ($6,755), Greenstone Homeowners Association ($1,200), and Westchase Homeowners Association ($1,545). Legacy Land Trust received $2,000 to help fund Russian olive removal on the Levinger Property Conservation Easement in northwest Fort Collins. Two companies received funds to continue their on-site wildlife habitat enhancement projects: Anheuser-Busch Fort Collins Brewery ($2,000) and Avago Technologies ($1,500).
Since its inception in 1994, the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Enhancement Fund has provided over $247,000 for enhancement of 64 sites. Thirty-one homeowner associations, five neighborhood groups, seven private landowners, eleven schools from elementary to college, and two businesses have been among the recipients over the last 18 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 managed by entities other than the Natural Areas Department.
The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department 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 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. Funds can also be used to enhance public lands, other than those managed by the Natural Areas Department. All sites must be within the Fort Collins Growth Management Area.
A total of $15,000 from the citizen-initiated Open Space Yes! sales tax will be available for grants again in fall 2013.