River restoration volunteers Audubon Rockies Western Rivers Initiative
River restoration volunteers Audubon Rockies Western Rivers Initiative
Western Rivers

Western Rivers Events

Connect to and restore your western rivers
River restoration volunteers. Photo: Abby Burk/Audubon
River restoration volunteers. Photo: Abby Burk/Audubon
Western Rivers

Western Rivers Events

Connect to and restore your western rivers

Native riparian and wetland vegetation is critical for supporting thriving bird populations, ecosystem services, and providing clean drinking water. We have a way for you to help these essential habitats that we all depend upon! Audubon Rockies and Wildland Restoration Volunteers (WRV) are teaming up again in 2018 to enhance and restore streamside and wetland areas across Colorado. Project days are full of “how to” education, citizen science monitoring, friendships, and environmental therapy for your heart. Sign up early for projects directly through the links below. Early registration helps us to forecast volunteer meals and needed labor.

We cannot do this without you! If you cannot donate your time, please consider a financial donation to Audubon Rockies to support these vital projects. Together, we are making a difference for birds and rivers!

September 10-11, 2018: Dolores River Restoration and Tamarisk Removal

(30 volunteers needed per day)

Spend a few days camped out under the cottonwoods in the spectacular Gateway Canyon! 2018 is the fifth year of a collaborative effort with WRV, Rivers Edge West, the Dolores River Restoration Partnership, and Audubon Rockies to restore a priority native ecosystem inside the stunning Dolores River Canyon Wilderness Study Area. In 2018, volunteers will cut small tamarisk trees, or regrowth of previously cut larger trees, and may also cage cottonwoods to protect them from beavers.\

This is a celebrated project, known far and wide for fabulous food, awe-inspiring scenery and intriguing local history. *Sign up for the Uncompahgre Plateau Sage Grouse Restoration Project from September 6-9th and make a whole week of it. Anyone who signs up for both projects can get to ride in the WRV carpool from Boulder and go on a special day-off adventure with us!

REGISTER here for September 10-11, 2018: Dolores River Restoration and Tamarisk Removal

September 29-October 2, 2018: Uncompahgre Plateau Sage-Grouse Habitat Restoration

(35 volunteers needed per day)

Wet meadows and riparian areas in sagebrush shrublands provide important brood-rearing habitat for the Gunnison sage-grouse, listed as threatened by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. These habitats are also important for numerous other species, including neo-tropical migratory birds, elk and mule deer, as well as to ranchers for livestock grazing.

In 2018, we're taking the success that WRV has had in Gunnison over the past 4 years and moving up to the Uncompaghre National Forest to replicate this work. We will be camped out for four days at a historic Civilian Conservation Corps camp (with showers!) and travelling from there to work sites each day. Food will be provided by talented volunteer cooks!

Volunteers will be constructing multiple rock structures on small streams and drainages in the watershed. We will apply the approach of restoration expert Bill Zeedyk, author of Let the Water do the Work: Induced Meandering, An Evolving Method for Restoring Incised Channels (2012). We will be using rock to build small scale erosion control structures which help to trap sediment, raise the water table over time, and sustain the plant community that the Gunnison Sage Grouse depends upon. This work helps make the ecosystem more resilient to the effects of climate change.

REGISTER here for September 29-October 2, 2018: Uncompahgre Plateau Sage Grouse Habitat Restoration  

October 10, 2018:  St. Vrain Creek Tamarisk Removal

(20 volunteers needed)

Tamarisk (Salt Cedar) grows aggressively, choking native vegetation which negatively impacts bird habitat. Following the September, 2013, flood, thousands of tamarisk have germinated along St Vrain Creek, east of Longmont. These tamarisk seedlings are intermixed with native cottonwoods, willows and other native seedlings that are naturally growing in response to the flood. Tamarisk pose a major threat to watershed health across the west, costing billions of dollars in degraded habitat and lost water.  

Come enjoy panoramic views of the Front Range as you continue work from 2016-2017, and help remove tamarisk through hand-pulling small seedlings, pulling with weed wrenches on the medium sized plants, and possible "cut and stump" treatment on the larger plants that cannot be pulled. This treatment involves sensible dabbing of a small quantity of herbicide to the stump.  You'll be rewarded for your efforts by likely seeing circling eagles as we work to remove tamarisk.

REGISTER here for Wednesday October 10, 2018: St Vrain Creek Tamarisk Removal

How you can help, right now