Water-Wise Turf Transitions

John Beltrone, Edgewater Mayor

Walking around Edgewater this spring and summer, I have noticed a remarkable transformation taking place. More and more, residents are making the decision to remove all or part of their grass lawns. The transition away from grass lawns has allowed many to express their creativity through new and exciting landscapes. Stunning blends of flowers, raised beds, rocks, native grasses, wood chips and trees are adding color, variety and curb appeal to our city. 

For me, the most compelling reason to remove grass lawns is our changing climate and the drying Colorado River Basin. Denver Water (Edgewater’s water provider) has been pumping water from the Fraser River, a tributary of the Colorado, since 1936 via the Moffat Tunnel. In a typical year, about half the water we use is diverted from the Colorado River Basin. With major cuts to accessing Colorado River water coming next year, making smart water conservation efforts now will help us avoid having to take drastic measures in the future.

There are other environmental and lifestyle reasons why people are making the switch. Time saved from not having to mow, as well as the emissions and noise that come with it, tops the list for many. Others are excited to reclaim the space for more native plants and flowers, creating nearby natural habitats and critical pollinators. 

The up-front investment of time and money in removing grass lawns certainly pays dividends for your home and our community, but they are also barriers that exclude many from participating. Fortunately, the city and the state are developing programs to help those interested.

Thanks to leadership on the Sustainability Board, the city is participating in Resource Central’s Garden in a Box program. This partnership, which began this spring, allows residents to purchase professionally designed, water-wise garden kits tailor-made for Colorado yards at a discount. Also, thanks to legislation passed earlier this year, the state is developing a turf removal program to provide financial incentives for residents to replace their lawns. 

Each new water-wise landscape makes our community more resilient, helps regenerate the environment, and improves human well-being. I appreciate all those who have worked to transition their yards and look forward to more water conservation progress in the city. 

Contact Edgewater Mayor John Beltrone at jbeltrone@edgewaterco.com or 720-643-6077.

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