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News Release

Colorado NRCS Provides $500,000 in Financial and Technical Assistance to Landowners Affected by High Park Fire

NRCS Colorado 2012 News Release       

For Immediate Release   Katherine Burse-Johnson
Public Affairs Specialist
Office Number: 720-544-2863
Fax Number: 720-544-2965

August 10, 2012

Colorado NRCS Provides $500,000 in Financial and Technical Assistance to Landowners Affected by High Park Fire -
Application Deadline: Monday, September 3, 2012


Ft. Collins - USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering $500,000 in financial and technical assistance through its Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) to help landowners who are affected by the recent High Park Fire.

The High Park Fire destroyed more than 87,000 acres, of which 39,570 (45.2%) of those acres occurred on private lands. This fire was one of the largest and most destructive fires in the history of Larimer County, destroying 259 homes and disrupting the lives of hundreds of residents.

NRCS is committed to working closely with landowners who are adversely affected by this devastating fire and assisting them with addressing local area resource concerns,” said Todd Boldt, District Conservationist, NRCS Fort Collins Field Office. “Landowners interested in reducing erosion, sedimentation, and the effects of debris flows that compliment wildlife habitat, and who are willing to install erosion control practices to protect the riparian and lowland areas from sedimentation are strongly encouraged to sign up for WHIP funding.”

Colorado will be accepting applications for this special WHIP signup period until Monday, September 3, 2012. Applications will be prioritized and ranked based on criteria such as: identified resource concerns that will be addressed in the contract, percent of the operation to be enrolled, and location of the operation in relation to values at risk within the High Park Fire.

Applicants should work with their local NRCS staff to select and design appropriate practices that will reduce erosion, sedimentation, and debris flows into riparian areas and improve riparian function for wildlife. Participants are expected to maintain cost-shared conservation practices for the expected lifespan of the conservation practice.

NRCS has identified several practices that are available under this special signup, including:

  • Critical Area Planting (native grass seeding to reduce erosion)
  • Dike
  • Filter Strip (to reduce sedimentation in riparian areas)
  • Grade Stabilization Structure
  • Herbaceous Weed Control (mechanical of chemical control of noxious weeds)
  • Mulching (certified weed-free straw or chipping of burned dead trees on site)
  • Clearing and Snagging
  • Riparian Forest Buffer
  • Steam Habitat Improvement & Management
  • Sediment Control Basin
  • Underground Outlet
  • Terrace (log erosion barriers, straw wattles)

To be eligible to apply for this special WHIP funding, the applicant must have control of the land to be treated for the contract period. “Control” means possession of the land by ownership, written lease, or other legal agreement. Increased payments are available for eligible socially disadvantaged landowners in addition to beginning and limited resource farmers or ranchers and Indian tribes.

WHIP is a voluntary program for conservation-minded landowners who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat on agricultural land, nonindustrial private forest land, and Tribal land.

If you are affected by the High Park Fire and are a private landowner interested in receiving assistance through WHIP, please contact Boldt at 970-215-9897, email him at, or stop by the field office (2150 Centre Ave, Bldg A, Fort Collins). Additional program requirements and information about WHIP is available on the Colorado NRCS website at