A woman standing with a shovel and a woman kneeling, holding a small plant about to plant it at a local park

RiversEdge West awarded $20,000 Grant from Xcel Energy to Support River Restoration and Community Engagement Initiatives

[Grand Junction, CO – May 1, 2024] – RiversEdge West (REW), a leading organization dedicated to riparian (riverside) ecosystem restoration and community engagement, is pleased to announce it has been awarded a $20,000 grant from Xcel Energy. This generous grant will bolster REW's efforts to enhance riparian health, foster community stewardship, and expand environmental education initiatives within the Grand Valley.

"Funding from Xcel Energy will be instrumental in supporting our ongoing efforts to protect and restore riparian ecosystems within the Grand Valley," said Cara Kukuraitis, Director of Development and Communications for RiversEdge West. "Through strategic partnerships and collaborative initiatives, we can ensure the long-term health and vitality of our rivers and the communities they sustain."

The grant will support various programs and initiatives aimed at riparian restoration, community engagement, and environmental education:

  1. Desert Rivers Collaborative (DRC): Since 2012, REW has led the Desert Rivers Collaborative (DRC) to protect, restore, and maintain native riparian (riverside) habitat in Mesa and Delta Counties. The DRC, consisting of diverse stakeholders such as federal, state, municipal, non-profit, corporate, and private partners, has made significant strides in riparian restoration since its inception in 2012. With over 962 acres of initial Tamarisk (TRO) removal, 1,000.5 acres of TRO re-sprouts, 307.5 acres of seeding and revegetation, and treatment of 1,627 acres of secondary weeds, the ongoing stewardship of these lands is paramount to safeguard these investments. The grant will fund habitat maintenance and monitoring throughout the Grand Valley, including four weeks of vegetation treatments on BLM-managed lands to protect wilderness characteristics.
  2. Grand Valley River Corridor Initiative (RCI): RCI is a community-driven initiative focused on sustainable planning to ensure that our river corridor is managed to support its diverse values. Funding will support the RCI Core Team in enhancing coordination, planning, and collaboration on river corridor-related activities, laying the groundwork for long-term collaborative efforts.  
  3. Environmental Education and Stewardship: REW's educational initiatives, including the Wellspring Project, classroom programming across D51, and stewardship events, will receive support to connect youth and adults to rivers and engage the community in stewardship projects at local parks and open spaces, e.g., Connected Lakes, Las Colonias.  

"We are grateful to Xcel Energy for their generous support, which will enable us to expand our reach and impact in the Grand Valley," added Cara. "Together with our partners and supporters, we are committed to creating resilient and thriving riverside ecosystems for generations to come."

RiversEdge West is a Grand Junction-based 501 (c) 3 nonprofit dedicated to the restoration of ecosystems for the benefit of both fish and wildlife as well as the economic, social, and cultural well-being of communities in the American West.

Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company operating in eight Western and Midwestern states. The company is committed to providing cost-effective, clean, responsible energy delivered with the highest standards for safety, reliability, and responsiveness. Xcel Energy supports communities in four important focus areas: STEM education; environmental stewardship; economic sustainability; and access to arts and culture.