The City of Grand Junction was selected as a recipient of Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program (COSWAP) Workforce Development funding for several fire mitigation projects. COSWAP awarded Grand Junction 17-weeks of wildland mitigation work valued at $184,212. The resources for wildfire fuel reduction from this grant will be focused on the Gunnison and Colorado River corridors.
“The Department of Corrections State Wildland Inmate Fire Teams (SWIFT) doing this work have already demonstrated excellence on other projects in our area, and we are excited to continue working with them to reduce wildfire risk in our community,” said Fire Chief Ken Watkins. “Without the people-power provided by the Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program, these projects would not be possible for the next 5-10 years.”
The project areas cover approximately 70 acres and will focus on removing invasive species to create shaded fuel breaks that will protect critical infrastructure and areas with a history of fire that pose a significant risk to people and property. To ensure the work being done provides the most benefit to the community, project areas were chosen collaboratively by the Grand Junction Fire and Police Departments along with the city’s Parks and Recreation, Utilities, Public Works, General Services, and Finance Departments.
“Congratulations to the City of Grand Junction on receiving the COSWAP workforce development grant,” said Dan Gibbs, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. “Earlier this year I was able to visit with members of a Department of Corrections (DOC) SWIFT doing similar work in Grand Junction to reduce wildfire risk in river corridors, and we are pleased to build on that project’s success with this current grant. COSWAP was created for precisely these types of projects in mind; to enable hand crews, like SWIFT, to work on fuel reduction projects to immediately benefit communities with a focus on protecting life, property, and critical infrastructure.”
The Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program (COSWAP) within the Department of Natural Resources was launched by Governor Polis’ administration through the bipartisan SB21-258 to invest in targeted wildfire risk mitigation, prioritize, and fund key mitigation projects. COSWAP is designed to quickly move $17.5 million in state stimulus funds to start on-the-ground work on fuel reduction projects and increase Colorado's capacity to conduct critical forest restoration and wildfire mitigation work that will increase community resilience and protect life, property, and infrastructure.
The eligibility requirements of the COSWAP Workforce Development grant allowed for federal agencies, state agencies, local governments, tribes, public utilities with infrastructure or land ownership, registered homeowner associations, property owner associations, formal neighborhood associations, road districts, wildfire councils, or non-profit organizations that promote fuel reduction projects. The Grand Junction Fire Department will provide project management which is required of grant recipients.
More information about the COSWAP program
Contact: Ellis Thompson-Ellis, Community Outreach Specialist | 970-283-7385 or firstname.lastname@example.org