From our man on the scene, Ty Churchwell:
After three years of raising money, advocating and planning, the largest and most ambitious 5 Rivers TU project to date is complete. The entire chapter should be proud of our accomplishment. This was truly a community project and our most valuable resource has been improved.
This project was born of our involvement with the Animas River Task Force, a citizen advisory council with representation by the chapter. A City of Durango ordered river corridor assessment identified nine locations within city limits where sever riverbank degradation was occurring. TU and Animas Riverkeeper representatives recognized the opportunity for a project and jumped at the chance. A partnership was formed and planning began.
The section of the Animas below 9th street, along Roosa Ave., was determined to be the highest priority, this due to its visibility and proximity to the downtown corridor and the tree assets in peril. Additionally, trout habitat in this section was minimal and in need of improvement. Many of our visiting anglers find this water to be the most convenient for their quick afternoon outings while the family shops.
Five Rivers and Riverkeeper began raising money in 2006. An initial plan was designed and the City of Durango was approached for permission and potential partnership. Our partners with the city were thrilled that a grassroots effort was forming and they signed on in support. Financial assistance was offered and they acted as the contractor for grant requests and permitting. The partners applied for and were awarded a DOW “Fishing is Fun” grant representing roughly 75% of the project costs. Via the annual fundraising banquet, the chapter raised our commitment of $7000. Once the 2009 city budget was approved, we were fully funded.
Numerous contractors were interviewed and we had a say in who was hired. In Western Stream Works from Ridgeway, we found a passionate restorator who embraced our beliefs and vision for the project. Contrived and man-made was not the look we were going for. Quality habitat and long-term riverbank protection was the goal. Thank you Bill!