This fund was established in 2003 at the Telluride Foundation by a cooperative agreement between the San Miguel Conservation Foundation, San Miguel Open Space Commission, San Miguel Watershed Coalition, Sheep Mountain Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, Town of Ophir Open Space Commission and Trust for Public Lands.
According to a countywide Open Space and Recreation survey performed in 1998, the number one priority of County residents was the protection of open space. Similarly, a recent Telluride and Mountain Village Visitor Services (the regional marketing and central reservations organization for the region) survey of our guests found over 96% rated the scenic beauty of our region as paramount for the enjoyment of their trip here. The Telluride Foundation's Land Conservation Field of Interest Fund is designed to provide fiscal support to the organizations working to protect, restore and enhance open space, water and wildlife habitat in San Miguel County and in the San Miguel River Watershed. Distributions from the Fund are used to catalyze land preservation and restoration projects that might not transpire without the Fund's fiscal support.
This Fund will have the following benefits and uses:
- Protect open space and scenic vistas.
- Protect and restore wildlife habitat and riparian areas.
- Support the regional economy by preserving the open space and scenic vistas that attract visitors to the area and keep them coming back, and by encouraging continuation of a viable and sustainable agriculture economy through preservation of ranch and farmland and use of agricultural best management practices.
- Promote education about open space, wildlife, conservation easements and the importance of agricultural lands.
The Telluride Foundation's Grants Committee will use the following criteria when selecting projects to be funded from the Fund: The project must be in San Miguel County or the San Miguel River Watershed.
- Projects should benefit riparian areas, scenic vistas, wildlife habitat, important agricultural lands or parcels identified in: the 1999 Colorado Natural Heritage Program biological inventory of the Watershed, Colorado Department of Wildlife maps or The Nature Conservancy's Southern Rockies and Colorado Plateau Ecological Regional Plans.
- Projects should maximize the value of the Foundation's contribution through matches. Matches may be donations from individuals or from other organizations (e.g., GOCO).
- Projects should provide protection in perpetuity.
- Projects should be ranked according to urgency.
- Projects should be adjacent to public land, protected open space, or biologically important parcels thus creating contiguous open space or habitat rather than individual unconnected parcels of open space or habitat.
- Public access is not a requirement, but where appropriate, should be allowed on the project.
- The current owners' history of agricultural best management practices (i.e., grazing, crop rotation, use of pesticides, etc) and/or commitment to introduce agricultural management practices.
- Projects should provide protection for historic structures or archeological sites where applicable.
- Projects must be voluntary and not involve litigation or condemnation.
- Awarded funds shall not be used for applicant's operational expenses, such as rent and phones.
The Grants Committee's decision making process will be supported by a small advisory committee composed of individuals with expertise in land conservation. The Executive Director of the Telluride Foundation will appoint the advisory committee.