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EPA to recognize Cherry Creek watershed group

Release Date: 7/12/2004
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      Denver -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will present an Environmental Achievement Award to the Cherry Creek Stewardship Partners for its Smart Growth for Clean Water project accomplishments. The award will be presented at a celebration at Douglas County's Prairie Canyon Ranch on July 14 at 4 p.m. The public and press are welcome to attend.

The SGCW project has made the Stewardship Partners a leader in finding innovative and collaborative solutions to the natural resource impacts of unprecedented growth in the Cherry Creek Watershed. Among many issues in the watershed, excess runoff of phosphorous and other nutrients from developing urban and suburban areas has the potential to degrade water quality and harm a prized community fishery and other aquatic life.

"The Partners is a network of individuals and a forum for improving natural resources stewardship in the Cherry Creek Basin," said Partners Watershed Coordinator and awardee Casey Davenhill. "We're a group of volunteers from government and the private sector who work to leverage resources to provide education and information on the benefits that come from connected open space, trails and neighborhood landscapes."

Significant SGCW Project accomplishments in the Cherry Creek Basin include:
  • Development of a Basin Stewardship Plan (under Trust for Public Land leadership) to protect key riparian, aquatic and upland zones, including quantification of the water quality benefits of smart growth strategies.
  • A formalized agreement among Denver, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties, and Parker, Centennial, Glendale and Greenwood Village to use comprehensive, integrated approaches to land conservation, water quality protection, public education and recreation in the watershed.
  • Creation of a "Phosphorous Facilitator" role to bridge issues between planners and developers, resulting in more environmentally friendly technologies and needed code changes or incentives. This program is now being implemented by the Cherry Creek Basin Water Quality Authority.
  • Sponsorship of Water Quality Concepts tours on Smart Growth and Open Space for developers and planners to raise awareness of smart growth tools and the value of open space to preserving Cherry Creek's riparian area.

"The SGCW project is just the beginning in our effort to integrate development design with water quality and water resource goals," said Arapahoe County Engineer and awardee Lanae Raymond. "The Partners have committed to 'leave no developer behind' in the smart growth for clean water effort in the basin. If there is a developer who wants to explore innovative designs that increase their bottom line and build community values, we are here to work with them."

"The Partners are very deserving of this award," said EPA Assistant Regional Administrator, Max Dodson. "The SGCW project has inspired tremendous momentum in addressing impacts from growth on the environmental health of the Cherry Creek Basin."

Team members who are receiving an award include:
Chris Rowe, CO Watershed Network
Dick Parachini, CDPHE
Robert F. McGregor, AMEC
Lanae Raymond, Arapahoe County
Cherry Creek Basin Water Quality Authority

Jim Wulliman, Muller Engineering
Casey Davenhill, CC Partners Coordinator
Nissa Maddox, Trust for Public Land
Beth Conover, City and County of Denver ( formerly Headwaters)
Terry Baus, City and County of Denver
Toby Sprunk, Douglas County Open Space

For more information and/or directions to the celebration, contact Toby Sprunk at (303) 660-7334.