Citizens Advisory Committee summarizes 2021 activities
The Chaffee Common Ground Citizens Advisory Committee’s third annual report summarizes 2021 investments and the program’s third funding cycle, during which $2,448,241 in grants were awarded to 18 recipients. Awards included $2,015,600 for forest health and wildfire resilience, $249,640 to sustain rural landscapes, and $183,001 for recreation management that protects watersheds and landscapes in Chaffee County. Matching cash and in-kind funds total $10.5 million in 2021.
To date, more than $5 million has been awarded by Common Ground to 23 local groups and partnerships for 36 programs and projects. Matching investments for these grants will bring $24 million in value to the community by 2026.
“The community owes a great deal of thanks to the support of nonprofits, federal and state agencies and the many volunteers who have proposed and made many great programs possible,” said Rick Hum, Vice-chair of the Common Ground Citizens Advisory Committee.
The 2021 report is the third installment of a commitment to accountability made during the 2018 ballot measure campaign that funded Common Ground through a 0.25% sales tax. Major investments in 2021 include a $1.64 million grant over five years to seed the Upper Arkansas Forest Fund, for forest treatments that reduce wildfire threat as prioritized in the Chaffee County Community Wildfire Protection Plan.
Common Ground continues to directly support agricultural sustainability by funding conservation easement opportunities, irrigation ditch maintenance projects and additional programs that help keep ranches in operation as the county experiences fast-paced growth and development.
Investments in recreation management in 2021 focused on two new and complimentary programs, Chaffee Recreation Rangers and Chaffee Recreation Adopters, that support better stewardship of the county’s busiest dispersed camping areas.
All project and program activities, as well as aggregated funding information, are provided in the report.