Important Bird Areas

Grand Valley Riparian Corridor

Colorado

Location: The Grand Valley Riparian Corridor consists of several parcels along the Colorado River floodplain in the Grand Valley, bounded on the east by Debeque Canyon and on the west by Horsethief Canyon. Nearby cities include Palisade, Grand Junction, and Fruita.
The parcels within the IBA include:
Colorado River State Park (Island Acres Park, Corn Lake Park, Fruita Riverfront Park, Colorado River Wildlife Area, Connected Lakes Park);
State Wildlife Areas (Smith SWA, Walter Walker SWA, Horsethief SWA);
City of Grand Junction property (Las Colonias Park, Eagle Rim Park, Watson Island, Confluence Point, Riverside Park);
City of Fruita property (Kingsview Bottom);
Habitat acquisitions/easements (Grand Junction Wildlife Area, Orchard Mesa Wildlife Area, Debeque Wildlife Area);
Educational facilities (Botanical Gardens, Columbus Elementary Science Park, Palisade H.S. Outdoor Science Park);
Grand Valley Audubon Society property (Lucy Ferril Ela, Ela Annex 1.

Vegetative/natural features: The site contains much of Colorados best remaining Rio Grande Cottonwood (Populus wislizenii) habitat. Over the past century, human developments and invasive plant species have severely degraded this habitat.

Ownership: Federal, State, Municipal, Private

Ornithological Summary

Lowland riparian habitat comprises less than 2% of the land area of Colorado, but provides nesting, wintering, and/or resting habitat for approximately 75% of the states bird species. Nearly 300 bird species have used this site over the last 15 years, which include nearly 70 breeding species and over 70 wintering species.

Research and educational activities: Grand Valley Audubon Society plans to build a nature center within this area to provide interpretive services.

a brochure listing all known species and their observations is in the IBA folder.

Conservation Issues

Serious threats: invasive/non-native plants (Russian olive, tamarisk, Russian knapweed); development (agricultural, residential, and industrial) impinging on the riparian zone.

Minor threats: predators; hydrologic changes.

Potential threats: introduced animals (e.g., European starlings may be a cause of the 90+% reduction in the Lewiss Woodpecker population over the last 40 years); cowbird parasitism; pollution; disturbance to birds and habitat.

Efforts to address threats: The corridor, under the direction of a Riverfront Commission, is developing into a major recreational and open space area. In the last decade, serious efforts to protect this riparian habitat have been initiated including the establishment of the Colorado River State Park, several state wildlife areas, and Grand Valley Audubon Society properties. Extensive habitat restoration projects are also planned.

Ownership

Grand Valley Audubon Society plans to build a nature center within this area to provide interpretive services.

Habitat

The site contains much of Colorado's best remaining Rio Grande Cottonwood (Populus wislizenii) habitat. over the past century, human developments and invasice plact species have severely degraded this habitat.