April 2022
U.S. Forest Service is funding 15 CFLRP landscapes, including in Southwest Colorado. CFLRP and RMRI are distinct programs/initiatives but complement one another—plus, there is significant geographic overlap in the priority areas of these two initiatives. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)—an RMRI Partner—recently announced $3.5 million in awards from its Restoration and Stewardship of Outdoor Resources and Environment (RESTORE) Colorado program. Plus, the U.S. Forest Service announced its ten initial landscapes to be funded to begin implementation of its Wildfire Crisis Strategy—one of the 10 landscapes is the Front Range, where RMRI is recognized as a Partner and sections of the RMRI-Upper South Platte landscape overlap. And RMRI is being discussed on the national stage, explains Tom Spezze, who served as a guest speaker at a recent RMRI Communications Subcommittee meeting, describing RMRI as one of the most “formidable, landscape-scale, multi-partner conservation coalitions in the country.” Full speed ahead!
RMRI Partners increase the pace and scale of restoration work on these three large landscapes across Colorado: RMRI-Southwest, RMRI-Upper Arkansas and RMRI-Upper South Platte. This is their work.
USDA Forest Service invests more than $31M in 15 landscape restoration projects RMRI
The U.S. Forest Service will use $31.1 million for 15 projects funded through the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) that, with partnership support, aim to reduce the risk of severe wildfires, support local economies, create jobs and enhance forest and watershed health in eight states. In Colorado, $3 million will go to the Southwest Colorado CFLRP project boundary. which encompasses a 1.9-million-acre project that spans private, municipal, state and federal lands. The project aims to promote resilience, enabling the area to adapt to future disturbance while retaining ecosystem function, productivity and ecosystem services. The strategy is to enhance the resilience of critical watersheds, wildlife and aquatic habitats, community infrastructure, economic drivers and forest conditions. CFLRP and RMRI are distinct programs/initiatives but complement one another to improve conditions for people and nature across all lands in Southwest Colorado. There is significant geographic overlap in the priority areas of these two initiatives and, working together, these initiatives will each be critical to reach their shared goals to mitigate the impacts of wildfire at a landscape scale.
RESTORE Colorado announces $3.5 million in new conservation grants RMRI
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)—an RMRI Partner—recently announced $3.5 million in awards from its Restoration and Stewardship of Outdoor Resources and Environment (RESTORE) Colorado program. More…
$18.1 Million Dedicated to Projects in Colorado’s High-Risk Front Range RMRI
The U.S. Forest Service announced that ten initial landscapes will receive $131 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investment to begin implementation of its Wildfire Crisis Strategy in Fiscal Year 2022. Efforts to confront the wildfire crisis will increase in the Rocky Mountain Region this year as additional projects to reduce wildfire risk and support forest health will be initiated in Colorado’s Front Range. The region will receive $18.1 million to treat 10,000 acres in Fiscal Year 2022. The Colorado Front Range projects will focus on cross-jurisdictional and strategically important fuels treatments and maximize collaboration with communities and partners to prevent devastating wildfires throughout the high-risk Front Range. These are the first of many projects to be completed in the Rocky Mountain Region over the next 10 years. RMRI is recognized as a Partner in the Front Range where sections of the RMRI-Upper South Platte landscape overlap. More…  
Questions for Conor Hall, new director of CO’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Office RMRI
Conor Hall took the reins of Colorado’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Office a little more than three weeks ago, just as the office began handling a flood of federal grant money and addressed the departure of Denver’s Outdoor Retailer trade shows. More…
Spotlight Success: RMRI recognizes volunteer Cindy Williams RMRI-Upper Arkansas
Volunteer appreciation week is April 17-23. RMRI recognizes the volunteer work of Cindy Williams. Cindy co-lead Envision Chaffee County in the Upper Arkansas landscape. Envision facilitates the RMRI Upper Ark Project, the Forest Health Council and the Chaffee Rec Council. Since the beginning of RMRI, Cindy has been a force: so much so that people assume she's a paid employee. She is purpose driven and the people and places of Chaffee County are central to that purpose. Cindy related, "Some days getting collaborative fuels mitigation happening is like landing a barracuda!"
Forest Service to conduct prescribed burn in the Beaver Meadows and First Notch Areas this spring RMRI-SW 
The Columbine Ranger District is planning to burn approximately 1,500 acres this spring in the Beaver Meadows and the First Notch areas of the San Juan National Forest to reduce the risk of wildfire and to improve forest health. Both are in the RMRI-Southwest landscape. The area is located approximately 10 miles northeast of Bayfield. Operations may begin in April, depending on weather conditions and availability of fire personnel and other resources. More...


USPP secures funding for watershed coordinator for first year RMRI-Upper South Platte
Work in the Upper South Platte landscape is led by the Upper South Platte Partnership (USPP), a collaboration between government agencies, water providers, nonprofit organizations and academic institutions. The USPP is nearing completion in selecting its first Watershed Coordinator. The coordinator will bring multiple stakeholders in the USPP watershed together to prioritize and accelerate forest restoration. The position, once filled, will be a boon to collaborative work in the RMRI-Upper South Platte landscape. The position is only funded through the first year as officials with the Colorado State Forest Service and U.S. Forest Service determine future funding. If your agency can support, please contact Allen Gallamore at Colorado State Forest Service (LM.Gallamore@colostate.edu).

A few questions for Conor Hall, new director of Colorado’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Office RMRI
Conor Hall took the reins of Colorado’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Office a little more than three weeks ago, just as the office began handling a flood of federal grant money and addressed the departure of Denver’s Outdoor Retailer trade shows. More…

New Director of the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry outlines initiatives RMRI
Conor Hall, the new director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office introduced himself in an email to OREC subscribers, and outlined the office’s latest initiatives:

  • Colorado has hosted the Outdoor Retailer show for the past five years and, while we’re disappointed we could not reach an agreement to keep the show in Colorado, it is paramount that we continue to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars. The State of Colorado, the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade, and the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office are excited to work closely with Colorado’s robust outdoor recreation industry to imagine and build the next iteration of an OREC-focused gathering here in Colorado.

  • We are building out two grant programs to disburse approximately six million dollars to help our industry (for-profit businesses, nonprofits, local governments, economic development groups, higher educational institutions, and tribes) recover and come back stronger from the pandemic. Stay tuned for more information on these opportunities later this spring/summer.

  • After a two-year hiatus, the Colorado Outdoor Industry Leadership Summit (COILS) will be back in person, and what better place to gather than in Crested Butte. Space is limited and filling up quickly, so please register if you are interested in joining our office and 200 industry leaders for, what promises to be, a fun and informative gathering.
Accomplishments...in the latest edition
of The Source, RMRI's quarterly newsletter.

CSFS presents annual forest health report state legislators
Last month, the CSFS presented its annual report on forest health to legislators at the state Capitol, highlighting the current conditions of Colorado’s forests and the need to reduce wildfire fuels. “This is a unique moment for Colorado’s forests,” said Matt McCombs, state forester and director of the CSFS. “Drought continues to spur insect activity in our forests and increase the potential for more record-setting fires like those we’ve seen the last two years, whether that’s acres burned or structures lost. In this report, we look at the trends driving these forest health challenges and what the Colorado State Forest Service is doing to protect our forests and help communities adapt to a new normal for wildfire.” More…

Drought conditions continue to weaken Colorado forests fighting insects, disease
State and federal forestry experts emphasized the weakening of trees due to drought conditions while presenting their latest observations made during an aerial survey of Colorado and Wyoming forests last year. “Years of persistent drought, an indicator of a warming climate, remains a key driver for outbreaks of bark beetles in our forests,” said state forester McCombs. More…

President’s budget invests $2.8 billion to support economies, outdoor rec
The Departments of Agriculture and the Department of Interior announced their proposed Fiscal Year 2023 allocations of $2.8 billion in projects, grants and programs authorized in the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) to support local economies, outdoor recreation, access to public lands and voluntary national conservation efforts in every U.S. state. More…

Forest officials: New funding great start in addressing crisis of wildfire threat
The Forest Service is staffing up and is working on identifying high-priority projects to take on first with the help of the new funds. In Colorado, Regional Forrester Frank Beum said, the areas at highest risk are mostly on the Front Range, which the agency plans to focus on first in the state over the next few years. More…

Interior Department releases 5-year plan to address wildfire risk
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has released a five-year plan to address wildfire risk on DOI protected land. It will help to prepare communities and ecosystems against the threat of wildfire by making investments in forest restoration, hazardous fuels management, and post-wildfire restoration. Much of it will be funded by Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) which provides $1.5 billion for the DOI’s Wildland Fire Management Program. More…

White House actions to expand and improve trucking jobs
The White House is working to get more people in the trucking industry. Trucking moves 72 percent of goods in America and is a lynchpin in our goods movement supply chain. Trucking costs grew more than 20 percent last year as a surge in demand for goods caused by the pandemic confronted a decline in trucking employment that preceded the pandemic. The low supply of drivers is driven by high turnover and low job quality. Fact Sheet…
Workforce Capacity

Notes from the Feb. 25 meeting are available here.

  • The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is ramping up to increase its hiring efforts. USFS regions and districts have received the approval to hire more staff, but the exact numbers are unclear.

  • The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) provided funding to Colorado for tourism and outdoor recreation. The Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC) has put together a grant program awaiting final approval. Biomass projects may be eligible for technical and strategic planning funding if the project involves developing a biomass plan that complements an outdoor recreation strategic plan. Grantees cannot use the funding for capital purchases. Only nonprofits and government agencies are eligible to receive funding.

  • Xcel Energy is discussing constructing a biomass plant in Hayden, Colorado. They may need funding for strategic planning.

  • House Bill 1166-22 is under consideration. The bill would create a sales tax exemption for Colorado wood product manufacturers. Businesses could claim up to $10,000 in sales tax credit. The bill is still under consideration. An amendment may be added to the bill to allocate funds for a forestry industry internship program through the CDA. It would be good for subcommittee members to show support for this bill.

  • The RMRI Workforce Capacity Subcommittee has identified priorities for 2022 and is in progress developing its Work Plan.


Social License

Notes from the March 8 meeting available here.

At the RMRI meeting Dec. 1, 2021, Sarah McCaffrey of the Rocky Mountain Research Station presented research on social license and forest management. Here are some of the Social License Subcommittee's takeaways:

  • Most of the public does buy into and understand the concepts and principles of forest management.

  • Social license is built on relationships and one-on-one conversations.

  • The public can understand complex information, so partners should not simplify messages to gain public buy-in.

  • A good messaging campaign understands the highest priorities of the target audience, and that priority might not be directly related to forest management.

  • Partners need to listen to people and understand their specific interests.

  • People understand the risk and want more information, not only on how forest management mitigates risk but also on how forest management can benefit wildlife.

  • Messaging should focus on solutions, not scaremongering.

  • There are better terms to use than social license, such as social acceptance.

  • Partners should consider working with authority figures and decision-makers to deliver nuanced messages.

The Social License Subcommittee will soon begin meeting every other month, while the Communications Subcommittee will begin meeting on alternating months. Designated dates and times are to be determined. Lastly, the Social License Subcommittee is developing goals for 2022 and at the next meeting will develop strategies to help reach their goals. Notes…



The Communications Subcommittee last met April 13, 2022. Here are some updates:

  • The subcommittee released the next issue of The Source, which focuses on 2021 outcomes. The issue doubles down as a practical handout for the landscapes—front page RMRI, and back page individual landscape. The Source | 2021 Accomplishments Issue.

  • The RMRI Social License Subcommittee will begin hosting its meetings every other month.

  • Tom Spezze is the Senior Director of Conservation-West for the National Wild Turkey Federation. He was also one of the original RMRI members who led conversations leading to the formation of RMRI. The Communications Subcommittee invited Tom to speak on RMRI’s relevance at the national level and provide guidance to Subcommittee members. Here are some of the highlights of that conversation. More…
April 28, 9 – 11 a.m.: RMRI Workforce Capacity Subcommittee
RMRI invites you to the next RMRI Biomass Meeting via Zoom April 19, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Request to join the meeting at restoretherockies@gmail.com. Past meeting summaries and more at https://restoringtherockies.org/workforce-capacity-subcommittee

April 28-29: Arkansas River Basin Water Forum
The 26th episode of the Arkansas River Basin Water Forum will focus on “Risk and Resilience in the Arkansas Basin,” exploring topics that include the effect of Colorado River policies on the Arkansas River, ongoing drought and potential aridification in the southwestern United States, the impact of wildfires on water supplies, and much more. Keynote presentations will be provided by Dan Gibbs, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, and Chris Sturm, Watershed Program Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board. Register…


May 5, 10-11:30 a.m.: Science for Managers webinar:
"Too Much, Too Little or Just Right? Forest regeneration in fire-adapted landscapes"
Co-hosted by Rocky Mountain Research Station and Southwest Ecological Restoration Institutes, this land-manager-focused lightning talk webinar is dedicated to forest regeneration and reforestation in western fire-adapted forests. Short science presentations will highlight what is happening with regeneration following fire and forest treatments plus considerations and tools for reforestation. To rsvp, and receive a calendar invite and follow-up info visit: https://tinyurl.com/regenwebinar


May 19-20: Colorado Outdoor Industry Leadership Summit
OREC’s annual Colorado Outdoor Industry Leadership Summit (COILS) is a two-day event of networking, idea sharing, and expert discussions to build and sustain the outdoor industry in Colorado. COILS 2022 will take place on May 19 and 20, 2022 in Crested Butte. More…


May 31 - June 2: CCI Summer Conference
Colorado Counties Inc. 2022 Summer Conference is in-person and requires registration. Register...


June 13-15: 155th Colorado Cattlemen’s Association Annual Convention
Every June, CCA members meet on either the East or West slope of Colorado for a week full of education, networking, committee meetings, and a lot of fun. More…


August 23-24: Colorado Water Congress Summer Conference
Annual summer conference takes place in Steamboat Springs, CO. More…
Colorado legislation tracking courtesy of the Colorado State Forest Service.

Concerning wildfire mitigation assistance for landowners.
  • Brief Summary: This bill establishes the Wildfire Mitigation Resources and Best Practices grant program within the CSFS. Grants must be awarded to applicants proposing to conduct outreach among landowners in high wildfire hazard areas and the forest service must consider the potential impact of the applicants' proposed outreach when awarding grants. There would be $300,000.00 available per year, for grants of around $10,000.00. CSFS gets .6 FTE to administer the grant program. 

  • Last Action: 03/7/2022 | House Committee on Finance Refer Amended to Appropriations

Concerning the establishment of a state grant program that provides funding to local governments that dedicate resources for wildfire mitigation purposes.
  • Brief Summary: The bill establishes the Wildfire Mitigation Incentives for Local Government grant program in the CSFS. The grant program is established to provide state funding assistance in the form of grant awards to local governments to match revenue raised by such governments from a dedicated revenue source that is intended to be used for forest management or wildfire mitigation efforts at the local level.

  • Last Action: 02/17/2022 | House Committee on Energy & Environment Refer Amended to Appropriations

Concerning healthy forests, and, in connection therewith, creating the wildfire mitigation and recovery grant program.
  • Brief Summary: This would be a supplemental program under FRWRM, focusing on awarding grantees funds that to the extent practicable, shall ensure that biomass that is removed from forests is recycled or disposed of in a manner that reduces the amount of carbon that enters the atmosphere. This is a $1m grant program, with CSFS getting 5% in administration costs.

  • Last Action: 02/17/2022 | House Committee on Energy & Environment Refer Amended to Appropriations

Concerning the provision of wildfire mitigation services, and, in connection therewith, regulating controlled burns on private property.
  • Brief Summary: The bill requires that a fire department (defined to include a fire protection district as well as a county or municipality) be notified prior to conducting a controlled burn on private property and prohibits a person from conducting a controlled burn under certain conditions.  

  • Last Action: 03/10/2022 | House Committee on Energy & Environment Refer Amended to Appropriations

Concerning the adoption of incentives to promote the timber industry in Colorado.
  • Brief Summary: The bill creates the timber industry workforce development program (internship program) in the CSFS to provide incentives to timber businesses to hire interns through partial reimbursement of the costs to such businesses of hiring interns.

  • Last Action: 03/31/2022 | House Committee on Energy & Environment Refer Amended to Finance


Concerning updates to the Colorado state forest service seedling tree nursery.
  • Brief Summary: The bill requires the Colorado state forest service to make certain upgrades and improvements to its seedling tree nursery in order to expand its capacity and its ability to contribute to reforestation efforts in the state. The general assembly is required to appropriate money to the Colorado state university system in the 2022-23 state fiscal year for allocation to the state forest service to make the specified upgrades and improvements to the seedling tree nursery.

  • Last Action: 04/6/2022 | House Committee on Energy & Environment Refer Unamended to Appropriations

Concerning increasing the resources available for fire protection services provided by volunteer and seasonal firefighters
  • Brief Summary: The bill allows fire departments, including fire protection districts and volunteer fire departments, to be compensated from state funding sources for wildland fire suppression activities conducted in the fire department's jurisdiction.

  • Last Action: 04/5/2022 | Introduced In House - Assigned to Transportation & Local Government


Concerning outreach to the public relating to wildfire risk mitigation practices, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
  • Brief Summary: The bill requires CSFS to convene a working group to assess how to expand outreach measures associated with Wildfire Awareness Month, and provides an appropriation (+/- $800,000) for the expanded campaign. The campaign will be for years 2023 and 2024. This includes staffing for the CSFS.

  • Last Action: 03/25/2022 | Introduced In House - Assigned to Energy & Environment


Concerning conservation easements.
  • Brief Summary: The bill creates a new state income tax credit (new credit) for certain taxpayers who were denied state income tax credits for conservation easements donated between 2000 and 2013 (original credit) if the federal internal revenue service allowed a federal income tax deduction for the same donation.

  • Last Action: 03/16/2022 | Senate Committee on Finance Refer Amended to Appropriations

Concerning measures to promote reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in Colorado.

  • Brief Summary: This bill makes changes to HB19-1261, Climate Action Plan To Reduce Pollution.
  • Last Action: 03/30/2022 | Senate Committee on Finance Refer Amended to Appropriations
If you would like your work highlighted in this monthly email update, submit to RMRI communication manager, Nathan Van Schaik, at nathaniel.vanschaik@usda.gov. Or, to discuss any communications issues or concerns, contact Nathan via email or at (720) 584-6571.
Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative