The Salida Trail Ecological Restoration Project
The Salida Trail Ecological Restoration Project, also known as STERP, is in full swing this summer. This collaboration between the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas (LTUA), Salida-area Parks, Open Space and Trails (SPOT), the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA), the City of Salida, and Chaffee County is working to create healthy, natural habitat corridors along the Monarch Spur Trail. Habitat improvements focus on the removal of invasive species and the establishment of native grasses, wildflowers, shrubs, and trees along the upland portions of the trail, as well as work to restore the riparian area, or stream bank habitat, along Ditch Creek which joins the trail at 7th Street and runs along its side to the Arkansas River.
STERP members recently worked with a Southwest Conservation Corps crew to establish a storm water mitigation wetland on either side of the bridge at the entrance to the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Visitor Center at 307 W. Sackett Ave. in Salida. This wetland is designed to act as a natural sponge, soaking up and filtering storm water runoff from Salida’s city streets, pulling out pollutants, dropping sediment from the creek, and cooling the water before it enters the Gold Medal Trout waters of the Arkansas River. The plants utilized in this natural water treatment process include Blue Flag Iris, Swamp Milkweed, Tufted Hairgrass, Wooly Sedge, American Managrass, and Baltic Rush. These are all native species known for their ability to withstand flooding and filter out storm water pollutants, the number one cause of water pollution in the United States. As this storm water mitigation wetland matures it will act as an important buffer between storm water running off the streets of Salida, carrying dog waste, cigarette butts, motor oil, and other pollutants, and the cool green waters of the Arkansas River.
This community improvement project was made possible through a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant awarded to the City of Salida which was used to hire the Southwest Conservation Corps crew, and a grant from the Colorado Garden Foundation awarded to the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas which paid for the plant materials, as well as the support of the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA). Folks interested in learning more about STERP or who would like to get involved in local restoration efforts are encouraged to contact Buffy Lenth, the STERP Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas at 719-539-7700.
It takes a village to establish a planting.
Hello dear Salida Trail Volunteers,
Greetings to you all. I hope you had a fun 4th of July weekend!
During the last week of June we had our first Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) crew of the summer and we got a lot accomplished! The crew helped us pull a ton of cheatgrass and Russian thistle, dig up many mullein plants, clip and spray countless Canada thistle plants with vinegar, weed and mulch the habitat island at 7th Street, plant a stormwater mitigation wetland in front of the AHRA building, plant a new island of upland vegetation along the trail between 1st and 2nd Streets, and plant several new accent plants along the creek including choke cherries and red-twig dogwood. I invite you all to get out on the trail and check out the new improvements.
I’m writing to you today because a crucial part of ensuring that the trees and shrubs we planted are able to survive and thrive is to make sure they are well-watered, especially during the heat of the summer. If you would be willing to help water these new plants it would be of great help!
I have stashed a 5-gallon bucket along the trail between 1st and 2nd Streets, which can be dipped in the creek and used to water the Rocky Mountain Junipers (6), Rabbit brush (5), Western sagebrush (5), and Apache Plume (3) newly planted along this stretch of trail. The bucket is hidden behind the willows where they first begin growing along the creek coming from 1st Street. If you walk this stretch of trail regularly and could chip in by watering please let me know.
The plants in the habitat island at Holman Ave could also use additional water. I have stashed a 5-gallon bucket at the base of the tree at the corner of the landscaped lot nearest the parking area across from the habitat island. The bucket can be filled with the hose at the dog park across the street and used to water the plants in this habitat island. Perhaps some of you live in Trailside (or know someone who does?) and would like to help water these trees and shrubs? Again, please be in touch if you would be available to help these plants take root and provide valuable wildlife habitat along the trail corridor.
If you would be interested in registering as a volunteer with the City of Salida and getting trained on using their water truck to water plants along the trail, that is a possibility as well.
Thank you so much for all you do!
Salida Trail Ecological Restoration Project Coordinator
Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas
Project coordinator hired by LTUA to manage busy season of improvements
SALIDA—A season of continued improvements on the popular Monarch Spur trail in downtown Salida begins June 1 with a volunteer work day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. along the trail.
Volunteers will learn about proper weed eradication techniques and then help pull weeds and pick up trash with the Salida Trail Ecological Restoration Project (STERP), a joint effort created to restore the trail to a natural habitat, where native plant and wildlife species can thrive alongside residents’ recreational use of the trail.
The Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas (LTUA) hired Project Coordinator Buffy Lenth through funding provided by Salida-area Parks, Open-space and Trails (SPOT) to manage work activities on the trail.
Interested volunteers are encouraged to contact Lenth at STERPcoordinator@ltua.org for more information about Wednesday’s work day.
STERP is a partnership among LTUA, SPOT, Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA), the City of Salida and Chaffee County.
Lenth holds a masters degree in ecology from Colorado State University. She is a former resident of Westcliffe, where she taught high school, lived on a ranch, served as a board member of the Wet Mountain Valley Food Coop and Sustainable Ways, and helped found the Cliffs’ Park Community Garden.
Lenth has worked as a wildlife technician for the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, the U.S. Forest Service in Steamboat Springs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Montana on a grizzly bear study, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and served in the Peace Corps as a conservation specialist in Mexico.
She and her husband moved to Salida in August with their three children.
“The Land Trust is excited to include Buffy on our staff,” Executive Director Andrew Mackie said. “Her extensive experience in ecology and restoration projects will be invaluable as she leads the many activities we have planned on the Monarch Spur trail this summer and helps coordinate the activities of all the partners.”
For more information about STERP’s summer schedule, call the office at 539-7700.