The GOCO board awarded the Douglas County Conservation District (DCCD) a $24,150 grant to continue a multi-year restoration project along East Plum Creek.

GOCO, or Great Outdoors Colorado, distributes a portion of lottery funds to benefit outdoors projects.

According to the news release, the grant is part of GOCO’s conservation service corps program, a partnership between GOCO and the Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA). The program funds the employment of conservation service corps for outdoor recreation and natural resource stewardship projects.

CYCA represents a statewide coalition of eight accredited corps that train youths, young adults and veterans to work on land and water conservation projects.

Corps members earn a stipend for their service and an AmeriCorps education award to use toward college or reducing existing student loans.

“The partnership between GOCO and CYCA represents the best of what Colorado stands for,” said Scott Segerstrom, executive director of CYCA. “These resources will result in communities safer from wildland fire, waterways flowing free from invasive species, and enhanced recreation infrastructure to support our outdoor economy. Most importantly, this partnership will create hundreds of jobs that will be filled by youth and young adults recruited from communities across the state. The professional development and leadership growth they experience will be the amazing legacy of this investment.”

The East Plum Creek Restoration Partnership has already completed river restoration work on a half-mile of the creek over the last three years. Using GOCO funds, the DCCD will employ a Mile High Youth Corps crew for four weeks of continued river restoration work across three reaches of the creek.

Crews will continue to regrade, contour, and revegetate the stream banks and damaged floodplains. They will plant 5,000 native riparian species and other aquatic plants to help improve the creek system’s water quality and wildlife habitat. In addition, an herbicide application crew will work on a one-mile stretch of the creek through Lowell Ranch.

The project will help partners achieve several goals, including controlling noxious weeds, increasing native plant diversity, improving and expanding habitats for all river wildlife, and creating a functional stream system.