Landscape Stewardship Awards - 2010

Brady and Jane Farrell, private landowners and members of the Bonanza Stakeholders Group receive award from Eric Janes, Colorado Representative for the Public Lands Foundation

THE PUBLIC LANDS FOUNDATION presents the Bonanza Stakeholders Group in south central Colorado with a Landscape Stewardship Award for watershed and aquatic ecosystem restoration and mine waste stabilization.   The Foundation grants this recognition to honor the work of private citizens who work to advance and sustain community-based stewardship on landscapes that include, in whole or in part, lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The Kerber Creek Restoration Project is located in the Kerber Creek watershed, tributary to San Luis Creek and the Rio Grande River.  The project occurs on lands administered by both the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and private lands, all of which have sustained some damage from legacy mine wastes.  The Bonanza Stakeholders Group (BSG) was created in 2007 and is comprised of local landowners, non-profits, volunteer groups, State and county agencies that have interests in restoring the Kerber Creek watershed.  The BSG partners with the BLM, USFS, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Mining in the area from the 1890s through the 1970s degraded Kerber Creek and the riparian corridor, lowered pH and water quality, eliminated fish and invertebrate life, and set up an unnatural geomorphology.  By 2005 general tailings treatment and removal objectives had been achieved, although some tailings remained and 17 miles of degraded stream channels still persisted.

The partnership has evolved from a BLM-led effort to a landowner-led project operating through the shared responsibility, trust and commitment fostered within the BSG.  In the last two years, 60 acres of mine waste have been treated and stabilized with vegetation, water quality has improved, and two miles of stream sinuosity improvement have been made.  The project has sixteen State, nonprofit, federal and volunteer partnering organizations.  As a result of efforts of these organizations and the stakeholders, over $1.3 million has been raised for cleanup, and over 8,000 volunteer service hours have been contributed.   Restoration of the Kerber Creek watershed has enjoyed great success over the past several years, which would have been impossible without the efforts of the Bonanza Stakeholders Group.

The Public Lands Foundation is pleased to present the Bonanza Stakeholders Group with this citation and the Landscape Stewardship Award for invaluable contributions to the stewardship of America’s public landscapes.

Henri Bisson
September 15, 2010