DENVER – The Western River Conservancy, a key organization in protecting river ecosystems across the western United States, will receive a Colorado Lottery Starburst Award for using Lottery proceeds to protect San Luis Hills State Wildlife Area.
The preservation was made possible thanks to a $2.3 million Lottery-funded grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO).
Western Rivers Conservancy played a key role in the protection of the 17,020 acres, which lies inside the Rio Grande Natural Area. The area conserved the natural, historic, cultural, wildlife, and recreational resources along a 33-mile stretch of the Rio Grande River. The river’s floodplain provides favorable habitat for bald eagles, river otters, the northern leopard frog, and the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher. Along the river, you’ll find old oxbows and the occasional cottonwood and willow tree stands.
The Colorado Lottery Starburst Awards recognize excellence in the use of Lottery proceeds in outdoor recreation and conservation that enhance a community’s environment.
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In FY2018 alone, the Lottery distributed $140.7 million in proceeds. Since its creation 35 years ago, the Lottery has returned more than $3.2 billion back into the state of Colorado. Lottery proceeds are distributed to three primary beneficiaries: GOCO, Conservation Trust Fund, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. These organizations provide grants and direct funding for parks, recreation, open space acquisition, trails, and wildlife and conservation education. For more information on Starburst Awards, visit ColoradoLottery.com
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