ALAMOSA, Colorado – The Rio Grande Headwaters Trust and Ducks Unlimited will advance their goal of protecting 25,000 acres with help from a donation by Chet Choman, president of Colorado Realty and Land Company. Ducks Unlimited is working with the Trust and other partners to use this contribution for a multi-phase conservation project. The project will protect wetlands and waterfowl habitat through conservation easements on private lands in the San Luis Valley.
“Protecting Colorado’s natural resources is necessary to maintaining our way of life,” said Choman. “The Rio Grande Headwaters Trust and Ducks Unlimited are working to ensure the lands surrounding the Rio Grande are protected from development and that the natural systems that recharge groundwater and protect municipalities from flooding remain intact.”
RiGHT is a local land trust in the San Luis Valley, and has worked since 1999 to conserve the San Luis Valley’s land, water and way of life. RiGHT is using Choman’s contribution to support its Rio Grande Initiative to establish conservation easements on 25,000 acres. DU and RiGHT have partnered with Great Outdoors Colorado, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the North American Wetlands Conservation Council and many other contributors to complete this project. The targeted area includes riparian and seasonal wetlands that are vulnerable to development along the Rio Grande.
As part of the initiative, DU and RiGHT will hire and maintain staff with the expertise to establish and monitor conservation easements. DU will also use part of Choman’s contribution toward public policy efforts in the San Luis Valley to promote and develop favorable conservation policies.
Choman has been in the real estate business for 37 years serving the Alamosa, Monte Vista, La Jara, Mosca and Conejos Valley communities. His contributions to the community go beyond supporting conservation and include serving on the board as president for Habitat for Humanity, and as president for La Puente Home. Choman also serves as past president of the parish council for Sacred Heart Catholic Church and various other charitable organizations and foundations.
“There are 54,000 acres available for conservation easements along the Rio Grande and gifts like the one from Mr. Choman will help us protect as much as we can,” said Greg Kernohan DU conservation program manager in Colorado. “We will also use this gift to leverage additional dollars through federal grants to support our efforts in the region and increase the impact of this contribution.”
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with more than 12 million acres conserved. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands − nature’s most productive ecosystem − and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.