Short Answer: Yes it can. Keep reading for the longer answer below.
What comes to mind when you think of the Census? Is it nuisance paperwork? Is it a demographic headcount that determines how your local congressional district is redrawn? Does it provide funding on a per person basis for health services, education programs, and new roads? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are correct! But there is so much more to this once-a-decade event.
Federal and state entities use census data every year to inform funding decisions for numerous programs. In fact, 132 federal programs used data from the Census Bureau to distribute more than $675 billion in 2015 (Hotchkiss and Phelan, 2017). Non-profit programs, such as The Water Connection, can apply for these federal funds to complete projects on the local level.
Some of the programs that received a portion of this large sum in 2015 include:
In 2019, $1.91 billion was allocated to just the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program (Lee and Brumfield, 2019). This loan and grant program funds a variety of water related projects: safe drinking water systems, sanitary disposal of sewage and solid waste, and efficient stormwater drainage for both residential and commercial properties (USDA 2015).
All 8 of the programs above focus on water in some form or fashion. However, there are numerous other programs that focus on nature and the environment as well, such as the Hazardous Waste Management State Program Support or the Wildlife Restoration Program (America Counts Staff, 2020).
There is no way of knowing exactly how much funding Colorado programs will receive in future years. We do know that it will be much less than it could have been if people in our community fail to complete and submit their Census 2020 Questionnaire.
So if you are looking for a way to help out your local community and waterways from home, start by filling out your census today! You can now submit your information online: Click here for the 2020 Census Questionnaire.
Lauren Berent, Associate Director of The Water Connection
America Counts Staff. (2020, February 27). “2020 Census Will Inform Funding for Environmental Programs. Including Mass Transit”. Census Can Help Cities Go Green. Retrieved from: https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2020/02/census-can-help-cities-go-green.html
Hotchkiss, Marisa and Jessica Phelan. (Issued September 2017). “Uses of Census Bureau Date in Federal Funds Distribution: A New Design for the 21st Century”. Version 1.0. Retrieved from: https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial/2020/program-management/working-papers/Uses-of-Census-Bureau-Data-in-Federal-Funds-Distribution.pdf
Lee, Jae June and Cara Brumfield. (November 2019). “The 2020 Census & the Environment: How Census Data are used for Environmental Justice & Climate Action”. Factsheet. Retrieved from: https://www.georgetownpoverty.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/GCPI-ESOI-Census-Environment-20191106.pdf
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development. (2015, January 13) Water & Waste Disposal Loan & Grant Program. Retrieved from: https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/water-waste-disposal-loan-grant-program
The SPREE team is excited to announce that a new mural is in display inside of SPREE HQ. The design was created by Michele Brown of La Mano Art, who came to our summer camps and helped our campers paint the mural over the course of the summer. The mural features Greenback Cutthroat Trout, our state fish, enjoying life in The South Platte River. Thank you Michele for sharing your knowledge, skills, and time with the SPREE kids this summer!
The pledge drive, announced last August, will add 500 acre-feet of environmental storage at Chatfield Reservoir through a community coalition. Denver Water has committed nearly $2 million to fund the purchase of 250 acre-feet of storage space in Chatfield — if The Greenway Foundation can raise the funds necessary to match that amount.
The 500 acre-feet of water would be added to the 1,600 acre-feet for an environmental pool being developed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado Water Conservation Board through the Chatfield Reallocation Project, for a total of 2,100 feet of storage. The environmental pool will be set aside for releases of water that will provide environmental and water quality benefits to the South Platte River below Chatfield during low-flow periods of the year when additional stream flow levels are critically needed. Key partners include the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District and Denver Water.
Releases from the environmental pool will flow through the Denver metro area, providing environmental, recreational and water quality benefits, and then be used by Central for agriculture. Every drop of water in the environmental pool will provide multiple benefits.
The project is gaining momentum as we continue to receive support from both the public and private sectors. A few months ago, the Walton Family Foundation provided $400,000 in support of the cause. If the pledge drive is successful, the foundation’s funding will purchase of 45 acre-feet of storage in the reservoir, and will also fund the creation of a management plan to maximize the releases to the South Platte River. The innovative partnerships and the EP’s multiple benefits make it a potential model for use throughout the Colorado River basin, and other basins.
Recently, the Gates Family Foundation has joined in support of the Environmental Pool, announcing their contribution of funding for 13 AF.
Local communities and individuals are also getting on board, including a commitment of 50 AF from the City and County of Denver! Arapahoe County Open Spaces Program and the cities along the South Platte River within Arapahoe County are also actively working to make a contribution to purchase 50 acre-feet to the environmental pool. The jurisdictions collaborate as members of the South Platte Working Group, which is seeking to make funding commitments by the end of this year.
Outreach and engagement efforts are also underway with numerous additional public and private entities and individuals to secure the remaining support needed to meet the Denver Water challenge. The goal is to have commitments for the full 250 acre-feet by the end of August 2017.
“The South Platte River through the Denver Metro area is affected by water quality challenges and low flow conditions frequently throughout the year” said Devon Buckels, Director of The Water Connection, the policy and water resources arm of The Greenway Foundation. “We are championing this once in a lifetime opportunity to enhance flows in the South Platte River as model of innovative water management practices because it provides multiple benefits from every drop. Increased flows support river ecosystems, reduce pollutant levels, enhance recreational opportunities for users, and ultimately supply much needed water for agriculture in neighboring communities. The Environmental Pool demonstrates the power of regional collaboration for solutions to our increasingly significant water resource challenges.”
Stay tuned for more to come!
Want more information about this project? Contact Devon Buckels at firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the last eight years, The Greenway Foundation has partnered with numerous public and private entities to collaboratively create a significant visioning, design, funding and, now, construction endeavor. When completed, the River Vision Implementation Plan will provide over $30 Million of new recreational, environmental, water quality and flood control improvements to five areas of Denver’s South Platte River Greenway.
The most recent River Vision Plan transformed Pasquinel's Landing, a 35 year old park, into a new type of park - a hybrid of natural systems, modern recreation and neighborhood gathering spaces. The design ofPasquinel’s Landing literally brings the South Platte into the park.
HOW WOULD YOU IMPROVE YOUR URBAN WATERWAY?
The second round of public meetings for the Urban Waterways Restoration Study is coming up. The purpose of this study is to identify restorative improvements to three major urban waterways in the City and County of Denver which include Harvard Gulch, Weir Gulch and the South Platte River from 6th Ave to 58th Ave.
The first round of public meetings was held in April and May, 2015. Based on public input and other data, preliminary alternatives are being developed to achieve habitat and ecosystem restoration, flood risk reduction, and enhanced recreational opportunities.
Round 2 of the public process will be an opportunity to learn about the proposed preliminary alternatives under consideration as well as provide feedback and comment.
The meetings are:
Weir Gulch: Tues, Sept. 15, 5:30 - 7:30pm, Barnum Rec Center, 360 W. Hooker St.
South Platte River: Wed, Sept. 16, 5:30 - 7:30pm, REI, 1416 Platte St.
Harvard Gulch: Wed, Sept. 30, 5:30 - 7:30pm, Harvard Gulch Rec Center, 550 E. Iliff Ave.
All three meetings will begin with an open-house format at 5:30pm followed by a 45-minute presentation of the preliminary alternatives at 6pm. The meetings will then resume an open house format until 7:30pm to provide participants with an opportunity to speak directly with project team members.
Partners in this effort include the City and County of Denver (CCD), the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (UDFCD), US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), and The Greenway Foundation. A meeting in the spring of 2016 will seek public input on the draft recommendations for all three study areas.
The project web site www.DenverWaterways.com, is a good source of background and updated project information as well as an ongoing opportunity for public input for those who cannot attend the public meetings. Public comments received via the website and first round of meetings are posted on the website along with project team responses.
For more information please email Lisa Zoeller (email@example.com) or Nora Neureiter (firstname.lastname@example.org).
HOW WILL YOU SPEND YOUR SUMMER?
Getting you and your family outside this summer is not only a fun way to recreate, it can also help with health, social and academic issues. Spending time outdoors can be a challenge when you live in the city but Johnson Habitat Park is the perfect place to bring your family and friends to spend an afternoon by the South Platte River.
See Johnson Habitat in action online with the Denver Post. All shots at the park were taken at our South Platte River Environmental Education (SPREE) Camp.
If you believe that Environmental Education is important, please consider becoming a Friend of the Greenway by making a recurring donation. Just $5 a month allows 12 students a unique trip to the River!
REMEMBERING THE FLOOD. CELEBRATING THE RIVER
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the flood of 1965, The Greenway Foundation and Urban Drainage and Flood Control District hosted a tour of the South Platte River. The tour looked at the affects of the flood and scope of the destruction. Attendees began the tour at Confluence Park to talk through the reconstruction of Shoemaker Plaza.
Then the group hoped on the bus and moved to Overland Pond Park. There the new drop structure at Florida and South Platte River Drive along with the deepening of the pond was examined.
Next the group traveled to the newly renovated Johnson Habitat Park. Attendees explored this park alongside the SPREE Summer Camp that was taking place in the park as well.
Downstream at Weir Gulch Park the group examined the first of the RVIP projects to be completed. This park is located in the heart of Sun Valley. The project included exposing the gulch, a new playground and safe access down to the River.
Finally the group returned to Confluence Park and My Brother's Bar for refreshments on the River.
Take a look at these projects online!
More photos from the tour.
IT'S OPEN! COME ON DOWN TO JOHNSON HABITAT PARK
As a former landfill dump site, Johnson Habitat Park has been born again. On June 1, 2015, Denver Parks and Recreation and The Greenway Foundation celebrated the renovation of Johnson Habitat Park, the first environmental education-focused park in Denver.
The celebration was lucky enough to have Mayor Michael B Hancock, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (UDFCD), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with students from Valverde Elementary and the Downtown Denver Expeditionary School (DDES) in attendance.
Johnson Habitat Park is a premier environmental education and play experience that includes an outdoor classroom, climbing platforms, rock sculptures, sand play and supervised camping for youth-focused programs through The Greenway Foundation. Today’s ceremony marks the completion of the second of five projects in the River Vision Implementation Plan (RVIP), encompassing over $25 million in planning, design or construction phases along the entire 10-mile area of the South Platte River.
Denver, in partnership with The Greenway Foundation, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (UDFCD) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is helping remake Grant Frontier, Overland, Vanderbilt and Johnson Habitat Park into wilderness-in-the city spaces. There will also be improvements made to three miles of the South Platte trail between and extending past the parks.
See more photos here!
Click here for a map to the park!
We are so excited to share with you the progress of Johnson Habitat Park and SPREE Headquarters. Johnson Habitat Park has been under construction for all of 2014 and the progress is astounding!
Located near Santa Fe and Alameda, this park is in the heart of Denver. This park will be the leading design for environmental play and learning in the nation and SPREE is lucky enough to host summer camps there in 2015
The park will feature fossil rubbings, the cottonwood star sticks, water access, mosaics made by campers, and even a fire pit for starlight events!
Check out the progress and join us in Spring 2015 for the grand opening!