June 2022

SUMMARY

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is asking for proposals for the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership by Aug. 5, 2022. Additionally, the USDA is investing more than half a billion dollars through the Great American Outdoors Act to address deferred maintenance, some of which will assist Colorado maintenance. Colorado’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently outlined its 2022 legislative successes and accomplishments. Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC) recently announced the availability of roughly $4 million in competitive grants to support the outdoor recreation industry. And National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) seeks proposals its America the Beautiful Challenge by July 21, 2022.

PARTNERS & LANDSCAPES

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.

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Envision awarded for helping to make Chaffee ‘A great place to live life outside’ RMRI-Upper Arkansas


At a Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Commission meeting on June 1st in Buena Vista, CPW Southeast Regional Manager Brett Ackerman presented a partnership award to Envision Chaffee County for its substantial and prolonged efforts in ecological planning, including helping to reduce the wildfire risk in Chaffee County. Envision Chaffee County is an RMRI Partner focused on the Upper Arkansas landscape.


More…

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USDA Seeks Proposals for Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership RMRI


The U.S. Department of Agriculture is asking for proposals for the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership to improve forest health on public and private lands. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Forest Service are seeking the proposals by Aug. 5, 2022, for fiscal year 2023.


More…

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America the Beautiful Challenge 2022 Request for Proposals RMRI


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced the launch of the America the Beautiful Challenge (ATBC) 2022 Request for Proposals (RFP). The ATBC vision is to streamline grant funding opportunities for new voluntary conservation and restoration projects around the United States. Full Proposal Due Date: Thursday, July 21, 2022. 


More…

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Colorado OREC offers $4 million in competitive grants RMRI


The Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC) recently announced the availability of roughly $4 million in competitive grants to support the outdoor recreation industry throughout Colorado. This recovery program is funded by Economic Development Administration (EDA) American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Applications are expected to open on June 1, 2022. 


More…

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Colorado scores historic wins for farmers, ranchers, water, public lands, forests and the outdoors RMRI


Colorado’s land, water, wildlife and forests saw increased funding, programs and support that will save Coloradans money and protect our great outdoors as the Colorado Department of Natural Resources outlined its 2022 legislative successes and accomplishments. For a complete list of DNR’s legislative accomplishments, click here.

USDA announces $503 million to improve outdoor recreation and conservation on National Forests RMRI

U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing more than half a billion dollars through the Great American Outdoors Act to address deferred maintenance, improve infrastructure, increase user access and support rural economies while also meeting conservation goals. USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region announced June 7 that in Fiscal Year 2022 it will invest $26,962,595 into 67 projects to address deferred maintenance within the region. The Rocky Mountain Region includes national forests and grasslands in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and most of South Dakota and Wyoming. More…

 

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Council of Western State Foresters: Request for Proposals RMRI

The Council of Western State Foresters' Forest Products Committee requests proposals from qualified respondents to research, prepare, and present a written report and presentation format summary on wood wool cement products and wood fiber insulation. The submission deadline is June 30, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. MDT. More…

 


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Forest Service announces pause of prescribed fire operations on National Forest System lands RMRI

In light of recent prescribed burn escapes, the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service Randy Moore announced May 20, 2022, a temporarily halt to all prescribed burns on National Forest System lands. Additionally, he ordered the creation of a review team consisting of representatives from the wildland fire and research community. Reps from across the wildland fire and research community will conduct the national review and evaluate the entire prescribed fire program. This is expected to take about 90 days. The Denver Post reports that the 90-day pause will delay projects to reduce risk across 14,000 acres in Colorado and 18,500 acres in the Rocky Mountain region. Colorado “supports the use of prescribed fire as a management tool, but it has to be done at the right time, in the right place, and with the right resources,” Colorado’s Chief of Wildland Fire Management Vaughn Jones said. “We need to be able to utilize all tools in the toolbox to address the issues of wildland fire…..Any decisions made about continued use, or pausing the use of prescribed fire, need to be made by individual agencies based on their program and internal policy.”

 

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Johnny Morris Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund to support priority NWTF projects including the Western Shared Stewardship Initiative RMRI

The Johnny Morris Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund is proud to announce it has awarded a $300,000 grant to the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) to benefit priority local and national conservation projects including the Western Shared Stewardship Initiative, a unique partnership set to address urgent wildlife habitat needs, wildfire challenges and watershed improvements in the western United States. The landmark grant, enabled by noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris and generous Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s customers who round up purchases in stores and online to the Outdoor Fund, is a gamechanger for the NWTF’s critical conservation needs in 2021. More…

 

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Partnerships Peaks: RMRI and CFLRP landscape scale programs RMRI-SW

Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) and RMRI are distinct initiatives but complement each other to improve conditions for people, animals and vegetation across all lands in Southwest Colorado. There is significant geographic overlap in the focus areas of CFLRP and RMRI, and, working together, these initiatives will be critical to accomplish our shared goals. One of the most important outcomes is to mitigate the impacts of large-scale wildfire at a landscape scale throughout Southwestern Colorado.

 

"We know that our forests need restoration, our communities and watersheds need

protection and that we're not doing enough," said Patt Dorsey, West Region Director of Conservation Operations for the National Wild Turkey Federation. "CFLRP in combination with RMRI increases our ability to try new strategies, increase collaboration and make a difference in moving our forests to a more climate and wildfire resilient state." More…

 

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An A-to-Z Guide to Biochar Production, Use, and Benefits RMRI

The RMRI Biomass Utilization Subcommittee published a fact sheet. In it, they state, “At RMRI, we are focused on the woody biomass found on private and public lands. More specifically, we are focused on its removal and utilization.” The production of biochar is one method to address this cross-jurisdictional challenge. The Rocky Mountain Research Station recently published its biochar A-Z guide.


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Wildfire Crisis Strategy: A turning point RMRI

We’re at a turning point in the management of our nation’s forests, explains U.S. Forest Service executive and RMRI Partner Brian Ferebee. Congress officially recognized this when they granted us more than $3 billion for hazardous fuels work in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This funding was a helpful down payment on the work we must do under the Wildfire Crisis Strategy (WCS). RMRI stands to serve as a model for implementation of the strategy. The National Forest Foundation—an RMRI Partner—has been hosting employee and partner WCS roundtables since February. They recently released a report on those discussions. More…

 

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A win for Colorado water RMRI

Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed two bills May 23 impacting Colorado water. On House Bill 1316 - the “Projects Bill” appropriates $18.6 million for water programs administered by CWCB including $8.2 million for the Colorado Water Plan. Senate Bill 028 creates the Groundwater Compact Compliance Fund for Colorado’s Rio Grande & Republican River Basin to finance much needed groundwater use reduction efforts by retiring irrigation wells as approved by our state engineer. More…

RMRI Fact Sheets...in the latest edition

of The Source, RMRI's quarterly newsletter.

Read The Source today.
IN THE NEWS

Governor Polis Signs Multiple Bills Funding Critical Water Conservation Programs

Following a busy legislative session for the Colorado General Assembly, which ended May 11, Governor Polis signed several bills directing funding to numerous programs administered by the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). Complete list here.

SUBCOMMITTEE UPDATES

Biomass Utilization Subcommittee

 

Biomass Subcommittee April 19, 2022, meeting notes here.

 

  • The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) has recently been interested in identifying and promoting impactful biomass businesses on the Front Range through their financial assistance program.


  • Colorado Timber Resources is looking to expand its product manufacturing capacity. They bring in a significant amount of feedstock.


  • A prospective biochar company in Southwest Colorado is exploring whether agricultural producers might consider using biochar.


  • Pueblo Community College – Bayfield is exploring the option of launching a forestry operations program. They are touring mills in Southwest Colorado to understand the labor market and develop a curriculum.


  • Forestry technology providers are interested in demonstrating their products, such as curtain burners, to attract investment and community support. The CSFS is looking for opportunities to organize these demonstrations across Colorado. The companies are willing to front most of the cost of the demonstrations.


  • The U.S Forest Service (USFS) Wildfire Crisis Strategy is allocating over $18 million for forest management on the Front Range. This funding can help support forestry businesses on the Front Range and is something that the Biomass Utilization Subcommittee should consider.



  • The USFS, CSFS, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are in conversations with Xcel about establishing a bioenergy plant. The USFS, CSFS, and BLM are assessing the amount of biomass supply available to the plant over the next ten years.


  • Colorado Springs Utilities is exploring opportunities to transport biomass in the Pikes Peak area to facilities around the nation. Colorado Springs Utilities would like to use the rail system to take biomass to sawmills in Wyoming. They are working with the USFS and CSFS to calculate the biomass supply available for transport.


  • Colorado Timber Industry Association (CTIA) has been presenting to the state legislature on workforce and biomass issues. CTIA has also been talking with the National Forests in Colorado about quantifying biomass availability to promote biomass businesses. The best information on biomass availability is on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests and the Rio Grande National Forests because they have the most up-to-date Forest Plans.


  • IronWood Mill in Southwest Colorado has suspended their operations. They have faced challenges from the community related to noise and sawdust production.


 

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Workforce Capacity Subcommittee

 

Workforce Capacity Subcommittee April 28, 2022, meeting notes here.

 

  • House Bill 1166 (HB22-1166) is a bill in State Legislature that would create an internship program specific to the timber industry. Businesses could apply to the program to receive funding to pay 50% of an intern's position up to $10,000. The bill would also extend the sales and use tax exemption for the use of wood harvested in Colorado and create a state income tax credit for the timber production equipment purchases. There is broad support for the bill in the House Energy and Environment Committee. The bill has bipartisan support. UPDATE: HB22-1166 lost.


  • RMRI Workforce Capacity Chair, Molly Pitts, testified at the State Legislature and talked about workforce capacity issues in the timber industry.


  • Heather Houk, Pueblo Community College, and Tim Reader have toured timber mills in Southwest Colorado to discuss workforce opportunities associated with launching a forest industry program in Pueblo Community College – Bayfield.


  • The Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) has been managing a forestry training program for SCC participants. Their training program includes how to estimate the number of trees per acre and how to write a management plan. SCC participants who participate in this program receive an educational award.


EVENTS

June 21, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.: RMRI Communications Subcommittee

RMRI invites you to the next RMRI Communications Subcommittee meeting via Teams. Request to join the meeting at restoretherockies@gmail.com. Past meeting summaries and more at https://restoringtherockies.org/communications-subcommittee

 

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June 24, 1-3 p.m.: RMRI Biomass Utilization Subcommittee

RMRI invites you to the next RMRI Biomass Meeting via Zoom. Request to join the meeting at restoretherockies@gmail.com. Past meeting summaries and more at https://restoringtherockies.org/biomass-utilization-subcommittee

 

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June 28, 2-4 p.m.: RMRI Workforce Capacity Subcommittee

RMRI invites you to the next RMRI Workforce Capacity Meeting via Zoom. Request to join the meeting at restoretherockies@gmail.com. Past meeting summaries and more at https://restoringtherockies.org/workforce-capacity-subcommittee

 

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July 15, 1:30-3:30 p.m.: RMRI Virtual Partners Meeting

RMRI invites you to the next RMRI Partners Meeting via Zoom. Request to join the meeting at restoretherockies@gmail.com. Past meeting summaries and more at https://restoringtherockies.org/meeting-summaries

 

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August 23-24: Colorado Water Congress Summer Conference

Annual summer conference takes place in Steamboat Springs, CO. More…


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October 11-12: 2022 Sustaining Colorado Watersheds Conference

Located at the Westin in Avon, Colorado, the theme this year is, Bridging Connections: Learning from the Past, Investing in the Future. More…

LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS

On May 25, 2022, RMRI Partner, Fire Adapted Colorado (FACO)—in coordination with Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Southern Rockies Fire Science Network, Colorado Forest Restoration Institute, Center for Collaborative Conservation, and JW Associates—hosted a webinar titled "Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act/ Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Overview for Forest Collaboratives." Alexander Funk, Director of Water Resources for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, delivered a presentation clarifying the new infrastructure law—known as BIL—for collaboratives. This is from his presentation. Presentations and video recording available here.


Bipartisan Infrastructure Law/Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)


The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) is also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). BIL was signed into law by President Biden in November 2021. Essentially, BIL authorizes and appropriates spending for most programs. Authorizations are generally good for five years (end of FY 2026). This includes generational investments in “climate resilience” including more than $50 billion to protect against droughts, floods, and wildfires—including improvements of physical and natural infrastructure.


Over 60% of the funding in the BIL will be distributed via formulas to States and Tribes (40% competitive). Climate resilience funding will be available through multiple federal agencies and through grants, loans, internal funding formulation, and cooperative agreements. A significant amount of funding will be available to States, local governments and Tribes, but NGOs are eligible for several programs.


BIL Highlights for Wildfire Resilience/Mitigation:


  • $8.25 billion for wildfire management — USDA and DOI
  • $11.7 billion Clean Water State Revolving Fund
  • $1 billion Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC)
  • $500 million Watershed and Flood Operations Program (Pl-566)
  • $85 million annually - America the Beautiful Challenge — National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (through multiple federal agencies) focus on large-scale, voluntary landscape restoration/conservation


BIL Highlights for Collaborative Capacity:

 

  • Collaborative Capacity — $100 million authorized through USDA/USFS for “collaboration and collaboration-based activities under the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP).
  • Rural Partners Network — Places new federal staff in select rural communities to help local leaders navigate and access federal resources, administered through USDA Rural Development.
  • Cooperative Watershed Management ProgramBOR, supports watershed restoration/collaboration and planning.
  • Multi-Benefit Watershed Health Improvement Program — BOR, new funding opportunity for planning and design of multi-benefit projects.

 

Overview resources shared during the IIJA webinar:

 

SUBMISSIONS, QUESTIONS & FEEDBACK
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.
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Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative

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RMRI is a Shared Stewardship pilot project that mobilizes 40+ Partners across federal, state, Tribal and local jurisdictions to increase pace and scale of forest restoration. Partners direct investments at improving a few larger landscapes rather than make slow progress in multiple small places. RMRI Partners plan together, prioritize together and act together. Partners are restoring landscapes in the RMRI-Southwest, RMRI-Upper Arkansas and RMRI-Upper South Platte landscapes.