The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and the Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA) are pleased to announce the release of the 2024 Conservation Service Corps grant cycle with up to $1.2 million in funding for outdoor recreation, stewardship, and restoration projects completed by conservation service corps members.
Donor Name: Great Outdoors Colorado
County: All Counties
Type of Grant: Grant
Size of the Grant: Up to $1.2 million
The goal of these funds is to employ youth and young adults (ages 14-25) throughout the state on critical outdoor recreation and natural resource stewardship projects using the network of conservation service corps accredited by CYCA.
CYCA is a statewide coalition of eight accredited conservation service corps that employ and train youth, young adults, and veterans (typically ages 14–25). Through their work, corps members understand and address stewardship issues facing Colorado, including water conservation, land use, fire danger, and the impact of invasive species. Young people also contribute to their communities and gain job readiness and leadership skills that prepare them for future careers in the natural resource sector. In addition, most corps members earn a stipend for their service and an AmeriCorps education award to use toward attending college or reducing their existing student loans. CYCA-accredited corps serve more than 1,700 participants each year.
Conservation service corps crews complete a variety of projects, including:
- Trail construction and maintenance
- Tamarisk, Russian olive, and other invasive species mitigation – chainsaw crews, including pesticide/herbicide application, are available
- Fence installation and de-construction
- Wildlife habitat improvement
- Riparian restoration
- Beetle kill hazard mitigation – chainsaw crews available
- Fire fuels mitigation – chainsaw crews available
- Applicants must apply for a minimum of two weeks of conservation service corps work. One week of work consists of a minimum of 320 hours of labor (8 people for 40 hours each, for example) inclusive of one-way travel and 4-5 hours per week of on-site education activities for the crew.
- The project’s primary objective must consist of enhancing/restoring open space, wildlife habitat, or other ecosystem (e.g. noxious weed removal, forest health, fire recovery, flood recovery, riparian restoration, etc.) or constructing/enhancing/restoring trails or other passive recreational infrastructure including signs, fences, tent pads, etc. Please note: They welcome forest health projects with impacts beyond defensible space where outcomes enhance or restore open space, wildlife habitat, or improve other ecosystem considerations.
- The project must occur on land owned or controlled by a: i. municipality, county, or other political subdivision of the state; ii. land trust or other private party when the land is permanently protected by a conservation easement or other permanent use restriction; or iii. federal agency Please note: while federal agencies are not an eligible applicant, projects that occur on federally-managed land are permissible if they are to perform stewardship or restoration projects; or develop improvements for or stewardship of passive recreation, e.g. soft surface trails. The applicant must be a local government or open space organization and they must clearly demonstrate how their community will benefit from the project—such as demonstrable impact on the local economy, improvement of an interconnected riparian area, etc.
- Projects must provide a public benefit and comply with any conservation easement, other use restriction, or government policies or procedures concerning management of the property’s resources.
- Applicant must demonstrate capacity to host a conservation service corps crew, and coordinate closely with the corps in advance of submitting a proposal, to ensure the project is appropriate.
This program is open to the following entities eligible to receive GOCO open space and/or local government funds:
- Colorado municipality or county
- Political subdivision of the State of Colorado that includes in its mission the identification, acquisition, or management of open space and natural areas
- Title 32 special district eligible to receive distributions from the Conservation Trust Fund
- 501(c)(3) non-profit land conservation organization that includes in its mission the identification, acquisition, or management of open space and natural areas, e.g., land trusts
For more information, visit GOCO.