The Escalante River Watershed Partnership (ERWP) recently received The Nature Conservancy in Utah’s 2015 Conservation Partnership Award – the Chapter’s highest honor. This award is presented annually at the Conservancy’s Annual Meeting of the Board to the conservation leader or organization that has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the Conservancy’s mission by helping achieve tangible, lasting conservation results and furthering the cause of conservation in Utah.
ERWP was nominated for its outstanding work restoring critical habitat and building a model for youth engagement and community-based conservation in the Escalante watershed. Over the past six years, ERWP has engaged over 400 AmeriCorps and Youth Corps members and scores of volunteers to remove invasive Russian olive along 70 miles of the river corridor, an area totaling over 5,000 acres!
On hand to receive this prestigious award were Noel Poe, Executive Director of Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, and Linda Whitham, Central Canyonlands Program Manager for the Conservancy in Utah.
ERWP is a collaborative partnership comprised of federal and state agencies, NGO’s and local partners with a shared vision of watershed restoration. According to Noel Poe, “This acknowledgment is especially rewarding for the partnership as we begin our 7th year and continued efforts to restore and maintain the natural ecological conditions of the Escalante River and its watershed and involve local communities in promoting and implementing sustainable land and water our practices”.
Over the past few years these partners have worked together to achieve several restoration goals including: launching a Citizen Science initiative to monitor water quality and other water issues; restoring over 50 miles of native fish habitat; conducting research on Russian olive invasion; establishing a network of long-term monitoring sites; and surveying springs and seeps throughout the watershed.