In recognition of the CRA Excellence in Riparian Area Management Awards, each award winner received a membership to the CRA. We welcome these new members to the CRA. In summary the awards were given to:
- Bill Chase for his “River Keeper” activities and promoting riparian values in Steamboat Springs, Colorado;
- Larry Budde for work on the Brush and Tamarack riparian wetlands;
- Perry Handyside for restoration and creation of wetlands along several miles of the Blue River near Kremmling, Colorado;
- Tracy and Lana Leonard for riparian stewardship of the Saint Vrain in Boulder County, Colorado; and
- Steve Treadway for leadership in protecting and restoring riparian areas in the Lower South Platte Basin.
2000 Wildlife Landowner of the Year:
Steve was also recognized for his work along the Lower South Platte by the Division of Wildlife. Steve and Carol Treadway were recently announced as the recipients of the 2000 Wildlife Landowner of the Year award. A panel of judges selected the Treadways for restoring wetlands for shorebirds and waterfowl on their 160-acre property along the South Platte River in Morgan County.
“The Treadways recognize wildlife as an economic asset and as such have promoted hunting and wildlife viewing as a potential source for new money coming to rural agriculture communities,” said Tim Davis, Division of Wildlife coordinator for private lands.
Thanks to the support of The Wetlands Reserve Program, a voluntary USDA program that provides technical and financial support to landowners who desire protecting and restoring wetlands, the Treadways have improved their land for wildlife and the public.
“The Treadways worked meticulously to develop the shallow wetlands on what was previously cropland adjacent to the South Platte River,” Davis said. “The Treadways are strong believers that habitat conservation, farming, and ranching can be and should be accomplished with mutual benefit.”
To create their wetlands, the Treadways built a series of low dikes and flooded 10-acres with irrigation water, formerly used for farming. They have produced a 40-acre wetlands that is used by such species as Bullock’s orioles, northern pintails, and mallards.
Agency personnel from the Division, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helped build the dike, installed fencing, and planted more than 12 types of native grasses such as smart weed and prairie cord grass. The rewards include shorebirds and waterfowl flocking to the newly constructed refuge. The Treadways also enhanced the aquatic life on their property. They have structured a gravel pit into a productive warm-water fishery as part of a highway development project.
The Treadway’s generosity to improve their land for wildlife will soon benefit the public as well. The family has plans to develop a fishing and bird watching club, allow for limited bird hunting and provide additional habitat to attract migratory birds for watchable wildlife enthusiasts.
Through additional funds provided by Partners for Wildlife, a program administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Treadways are currently working to restore another 40-acres of their land into a shallow-water habitat for nesting birds. Mockingbirds, flickers and western kingbirds will soon be able to use the vegetation for nesting, forage and protection. With help from these federal programs, developing the land for wildlife habitat is what Treadway says is “phasing out conventional farming on marginal farmland and restoring wetlands for birds instead.”
“For many years, I’ve looked forward to the benefits of supplying habitat for wildlife,” Treadway said. “I have a personal interest in wildlife and I wanted to see the land enhanced for that purpose.”
“I hope to set an example for other people,” Treadway said. “Promoting wildlife is a nice legacy to leave to the area.”
2000 Wildlife Landowners of the Year runners-up:
Maurice and Helen Stillings, of Alamosa were the runners-up for the 2000 Wildlife Landowner of the Year award. Their family farm is composed of 680-acres of irrigated cropland and pastureland along the Rio Grande River, northwest of Alamosa.
In winter, the Stillings use their land as winter pasture for his family’s herd of cattle, and in the summer the deer and elk migrate to the area to benefit from the Stilling’s land.
For many years, the Stillings have creating habitat for small game and have encouraged waterfowl and big game animals to use their property through their conservative grazing management practices.
The Stillings also provide youth hunting opportunities on their property. Each year the Stilling’s open up their land to 4-H clubs for youths to learn how to properly use a firearm and provide the setting for youths to practice their hunting techniques. Free access to the ranch as a training facility has insured that activity costs for the youth are at a minimum.
Each year the Landowner Recognition Program honors landowners who have worked hard to protect and enhance wildlife habitats, while opening up their lands to the public.