Battlement gets $75,000 for Monument Gulch restoration |

Battlement gets $75,000 for Monument Gulch restoration

BATTLEMENT MESA – The Battlement Mesa Service Association has received a $75,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment to assist with the Monument Gulch Wildfire Restoration Project.

The grant results from settlements reached between the Department of Public Health and Environment and American Soda LLP and Kinder Morgan Inc. over alleged air quality violations in Parachute and Rio Blanco County, respectively.

Floods following four recent fires, including the 1999 Monument Gulch fire, damaged water treatment facilities in the Battlement Mesa area, said Kenny Maxon, chairman of the Monument Gulch Wildfire Restoration Project.

Maxon said the group will spray for noxious weeds and cheatgrass in Monument Gulch. Most of the local fires started in cheatgrass, said Maxon, and the group hopes that ridding the gulch of cheatgrass will help reduce fire risk.

Following the spraying, the group plans to reintroduce native plants, which should reduce the flood danger and sediments carried by floods that can be damaging to water treatment facilities.

The Monument Gulch fire burned through residential communities in June 1999, destroyed nine homes and caused more than $2 million in damages. A youth was convicted of starting the fire.

American Soda will spend a total of $583,500 in Garfield County for environmental projects and education, as part of a $1.2 million settlement. The company and the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission reached the settlement in November 2002.

American Soda was accused of air pollution violations at its mine in the Piceance Basin and its processing facility near Parachute.

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