Colorado Open Lands nets $298K GOCO grant for conservation planning along the South Platte River

Journal-Advocate (March 22, 2024)—The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) board awarded Colorado Open Lands a $298,000 grant to engage in conservation planning along the South Platte River Basin.

The grant is part of GOCO’s Planning and Capacity program, which invests in projects that address opportunities, explore issues, engage communities, and examine outdoor trends.

Colorado Open Lands (COL) will partner with Colorado West Land Trust to collaborate and learn from each other’s water-focused work across the continental divide. COL will also bring together partners representing varied interests in the South Platte River Basin, including municipal water developers, water conservancy districts, those interested in farmland, and the Colorado Water Trust. Together they will explore new strategies and financing tools to encourage collaborative investments in farmland and water rights that meet multiple uses and keep the economy and ecology of the region intact.

Carmen Farmer, Senior Project Manager at Colorado Open Lands shared, “We are excited about this opportunity to explore a new paradigm in land and water conservation, one that emphasizes collaboration and innovation to address the complex challenges facing not only the South Platte River Basin, but also the greater challenges across an ever-growing Colorado.”

The South Platte River Basin is home to some of Colorado’s most productive farmland and largest farm economies. It is also located in one of the state’s fastest-growing counties with the most water rights in the state. Traditional conservation easements have not been enough to counter the rapid conversion of irrigated farmland, and easements have been at least four times as expensive as other regions. This project is critical to ensuring important lands and their resources are conserved.

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 5,600 projects in all 64 counties of Colorado without any tax dollar support. Visit for more information.

Read the original Journal-Advocate article.