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Interior Promoting Colorado Conservation Projects

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar joined Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and others at a ribbon cutting for the new visitor center at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City.
Photo by Kirk Siegler
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar joined Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and others at a ribbon cutting for the new visitor center at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City.

The Interior Department plans to fund three land and water conservation projects in Colorado as part of the Obama Administration’s new America’s Great Outdoors initiative.   

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made the announcement at the site of one of them Thursday, during a ribbon cutting of a new visitor center at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City. 

Secretary Salazar said the idea is to create contiguous corridors for wildlife.

"This gateway marks the transformation of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal from a toxic dumping ground, to the home of bison, birds and native prairie,  from a chemical weapons depot, a place of  war, to a place of peace," Salazar said at the ceremony.

Salazar said the Fish and Wildlife Service will put $350,000 toward connecting the refuge with Denver’s vast open space and trail system, and eventually nearby Rocky Mountain National Park. 

Resources are also headed to restoring the Rio Grande Corridor in the San Luis Valley, where Salazar hails from, and to conservation projects along the Yampa River in northwest Colorado, the only relatively free-flowing river left in the state.

The three Colorado projects are the first in the nation to receive modest federal funds.

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.
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