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City Announces Funds for Natural Areas Enhancement

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The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Program invites members of the Fort Collins community to propose enhancement projects for funding through the Natural Areas Enhancement Fund.

The Natural Areas Program encourages stewardship of all natural areas. Financial assistance is available for projects designed to enhance or restore private or public natural areas in Fort Collins. Examples of projects might include native tree and shrub plantings, removal of exotic pest trees, wetland restoration, or native grassland revegetation. Examples of eligible sites include privately-owned City-certified natural areas such as those managed by homeowners associations, as well as publicly-owned natural areas, wetlands, and some stormwater detention areas. School projects also may be eligible. Project proposals from private citizens, neighborhood groups, nonprofit organizations, school groups, and corporations are encouraged. City, County, and Federal projects are not eligible for this fund.

The City of Fort Collins allocates some of the monies generated from the citizen-initiated Open Space Yes! sales tax for the enhancement funds. The City is appropriating $15,000 this year for the enhancement fund. Projects up to that amount will be considered; smaller budget projects ($2,000 or less) with a supporting volunteer commitment are encouraged. Funds are targeted for implementation of projects. Planning projects and salary costs are not considered for funding.

Over the past 17 years, the City of Fort Collins Natural Area Enhancement Fund has provided over $217,000 for enhancement of 58 sites.

To receive enhancement funds for privately owned land, the property must first be certified as a natural area by the City. An application can be submitted at the same time as the Enhancement Fund application. In addition, the land must be at least ¼ acre in size and be within the limits of the Fort Collins Growth Management Area, but need not be within the City limits. Applicants must provide proof of project approval from landowner(s).

Applications must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. Friday, November 4, 2011. Incomplete or inaccurate applications will not be considered. Funds will be awarded in December 2011. Applications can be obtained on-line at www.fcgov.com/naturalareas/pdf/enhancement-grant-application11.pdf or by calling Karen Manci at 970-221-6310.