OSMRE / VISTA Team Projects

Western Slope Conservation Center

Julia Bowman

OSMRE / VISTA: Julia Bowman
Supervisor: Sarah Sauter
Address: 204 Poplar Ave., Paonia, Colorado 81428
County: Delta
Voice Telephone: 970-527-5307
Email: director@theconservationcenter.org
Web site: www.theconservationcenter.org
Congressional District: 3rd
Bureau: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE)


The mission of the Western Slope Conservation Center is to build an aware and active community that protects, preserves, and enhances the natural, human, and economic resources of Delta County.

About the Surrounding Community

Delta County, CO has been and continues to be disproportionately affected by resource extraction industries, including coal mining and natural gas development. The closure of Elk Creek Mine and others creates uncertainty surrounding the coal-mining industry and the local economy. Of the residents living in the zip codes served by the Western Slope Conservation Center, 14.6% live below the national poverty level and an average of 19.3% work in the agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, and mining industries.

Project Overview

The OSMRE/VISTA works on the Paonia River Park (PRP) project to help stimulate the local economy and to create a public space that is an educational and recreational asset to people locally. The development of the PRP employs local artists, managers, and construction crews, while also requiring local construction materials and attracting new river tourism revenue. The OSMRE/VISTA develops projects and events that showcase the natural beauty of the landscape, embrace the diversity of local artisans; creates an ADA-compliant river access where wheelchairs, strollers, and families will be able to access the river conveniently and safely; coordinates “Conservation Day Field Trips” for 4th grade students; engages local youth in regional Conservation Corps Teams to employ local youth on work crews; and coordinates riparian restoration projects; and creates opportunities for community volunteers, especially the under-served community members, to serve and participate in Western Slope Conservation Center activities.

Sponsors and Partners

Town of Paonia