May 2022


One of the primary goals of RMRI is to bring more attention and effort—as well as leverage funding—to the selected project areas to affect bigger change across land-ownership boundaries. We are beginning to see this as RMRI Partners begin to attract funding through the Gates Family FoundationNational Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the U.S. Forest Service’s Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP). RMRI welcomes Audrey Miles-Cherney as the Upper South Platte Partnership (USPP) Watershed Coordinator.


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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RESTORE Colorado grants to 5 projects on 3 RMRI landscapes RMRI

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)—an RMRI Partner—announced $3.5 million in awards from its Restoration and Stewardship of Outdoor Resources and Environment (RESTORE) Colorado program. RESTORE Colorado has funded 5 projects that are contributing to RMRI priorities since the program began in 2020. The five grants will go to Jefferson Conservation District, National Forest Foundation (2x), Mountain Studies Institute and Chaffee County. Collectively the 5 projects will:

  • Restore more than 1,400 acres of forest habitat on private and public lands.
  • Improve habitat management on 400 acres of public lands.
  • Open 16 miles of stream by rectifying 2 passage barriers.
  • Restore 1.34 miles of riparian and instream habitat.
  • Engage more than 350 volunteers to assist in this work.


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MSI announced as recipient of RESTORE Colorado grant funding RMRI-SW 

The Mountain Studies Institute (MSI)—an RMRI Partner—was announced as a recipient of RESTORE Colorado grant funding for its work in the Mancos Watershed. This project aims to restore riparian habitat and revegetate degraded floodplains, in-stream habitat and improve hydrology to benefit native fish like the roundtail chub and bluehead sucker. The goal is to improve fish passage, open access to 16 miles of stream for fish refugia, restore 1.34 miles of stream geomorphology and aquatic habitat, restore 11.32 acres of floodplain, and treat 40 acres for invasive tamarisk.

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Gates Family Foundation invests in RMRI RMRI

Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative is getting a two-year boost from the Denver-based Gates Family Foundation, thanks in part to RMRI co-convener the National Wild Turkey Federation. In 2019, Gates Family Foundation awarded the NWTF a two-year, $200,000 grant for the landscape-scale initiative and has recently added to this initial investment with another round of funding, awarding another $200,000 to bolster the efforts of RMRI for another two years. More…

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USDA Forest Service to invest over $3 million in Southwest Colorado RMRI-SW 

The 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. More…

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Spotlight Success: RMRI recognizes Partners Molly Pitts and Amy Schwarzbach RMRI

The Colorado State Forest Service highlighted its 2021 partner award winners. Among them include RMRI partners Molly Pitts and Amy Schwarzbach. Molly is executive director of the Colorado Timber Industry Association. She leads the RMRI Workforce Capacity Subcommittee and chairs the RMRI Biomass Utilization Subcommittee. Amy is the Natural Resources Manager for the City of Durango. Amy is a member of the RMRI-Southwest Steering Committee and a champion for recreation—an RMRI value. More…

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USPP announces new watershed coordinator RMRI-Upper South Platte

We welcome Audrey Miles-Cherney to the Colorado State Forest Service effective May 2, when she begins work as the Upper South Platte Partnership (USPP) Watershed Coordinator. 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. This new position is responsible for general administrative duties and specific tasks that support the USPP.

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NFF’s Matching Awards Program a nationwide grant opportunity for RMRI Partners RMRI

The National Forest Foundation announced the that it is currently soliciting proposals for its Matching Awards Program (MAP). MAP is a national, competitive grant program that provides federal funds for on-the-ground projects benefiting America's National Forests and Grasslands. The application deadline is June 22, 2022. An informational webinar is offered May 25, 2022. More…

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RMRI co-convener NWTF announces leadership transitions RMRI

The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) announced that Becky Humphries, its CEO since 2017, will retire in February 2023 as the organization celebrates its 50th anniversary. Becky Humphries and Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen were RMRI co-conveners. To succeed Humphries, the NWTF Board of Directors has appointed Jason Burckhalter and Kurt Dyroff, two of the organization's top staff executives, as co-CEOs, effective immediately. Humphries will serve with them until she steps down. More…

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Common Ground awards $890,005 for forest health, rural landscapes and recreation management RMRI-Upper Arkansas

The Chaffee Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) approved funding during their May 10 regular meeting. The BoCC has awarded $890,005 in grant awards to 14 recipients during the Spring 2022 Chaffee Common Ground funding cycle. The grant funding package includes:

  • $519,205 for forest health and wildfire resilience
  • $208,100 to sustain rural landscapes
  • $162,700 for recreation management that protects watersheds and landscapes in Chaffee County.
  • Matching cash and in-kind funds total $1,787,370.

Chaffee Common Ground is a conservation funding program addressing landscape challenges for the community. It invests a 0.25 percent sales tax to strengthen forest health and reduce wildfire danger; conserve and support working agriculture and rural landscapes; and manage the impacts of growth in outdoor recreation. More…

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America the Beautiful Challenge 2022 Request for Proposals RMRI

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), through anticipated cooperative agreements from the Department of the Interior (DOI), Department of Defense (DoD), and the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is pleased to announce 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. This Request for Proposals is a first step toward consolidating funding from multiple federal agencies and the private sector to enable applicants to conceive and develop large-scale, locally led projects that address shared funder priorities spanning public and private lands. Full Proposal Due Date: Thursday, July 21, 2022. More…

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Pine River Ranches Wildfire Mitigation Weekend RMRI-SW

The National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA) and State Farm recently awarded 100 participants from across the country each $500 awards to complete a planned wildfire risk reduction project on the event day, May 7, 2022. The community at Pine River Ranches was awarded a grant to host a Wildfire Community Preparedness Day with a free woodchipper. Twenty-three neighbors participated. A total of 224 hours of volunteer time was donated to the community. Slash was chipped on 21 parcels along all the roads in Pine River Ranches. An estimated 320 cubic yards of slash was chipped and some of it hauled to places where it can be safely used as mulch for erosion control.

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USDA Forest Service invests more than $131M in 15 landscape restoration projects RMRI

Landscapes within the Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative, a partnership co-convened by the NWTF and the Forest Service, were identified by partners early in the crafting of the Wildfire Crisis Strategy and are now included in both the initial and future investments. Moreover, at Wildfire Crisis Strategy meetings and roundtables, RMRI is being pointed to as a model for how to implement shared stewardship conservation delivery on a landscape scale. More…

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Hunting groups are leading the charge on wildlife conservation in Southwest Colorado

Arguably the most significant development led by hunters has been the Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative. More…


Rocky Mountain Region receives large fund to mitigate wildfire risk

U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region will direct $18.1 million to treat 10,000 acres of land. The initial project areas are located in the Arapaho and Roosevelt national forests along with the Pike and San Isabel national forests. Work on the Pike complements work in the RMRI Upper South Platte landscape. More…


CPW partners with CYCA to fund $398 thousand in OHV trail maintenance projects

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is partnering with the Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA)—both RMRI Partners—to hire 41 weeks of service corps this summer to repair off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails impacted by increased visitation and wildfire damage. More…


VIDEO: Understanding The Fire Paradox: Why We Need Fire To Prevent Fire

That’s why more planned fire will occur in the Forest Service’s new wildfire crisis strategy. In many cases, it will take thinning the trees before burning to prevent a disaster. The plan includes treating more than 50 million acres across the U.S., and it will take maintenance.. More…


San Juan National Forest receives $3 million from USDA program

The funding will complement the Forest Service budget and “allows for a lot more work to get done on the ground,” said Dolores District Ranger Derek Padilla. “It will benefit a variety of forest health programs.” In 2020 and 2021, $7.4 million from RMRI funding was split between the Dolores Ranger District and the Columbine Ranger District for projects. Padilla said the bulk of the RMRI funding went to the Dolores Ranger District because the district had many completed plans that were ready to implement. More…


Understanding the risks of prescribed fires

Prescribed fire escapes are, indeed, very uncommon. One 2006 study of prescribed fires conducted by the Forest Service found that less than 1% of prescribed fires under its jurisdiction escaped between 2003 and 2005. While that snapshot is limited (the agency performed a third of all prescribed fires in the U.S. during those years) other studies reinforce the relatively low probability of escapes. For instance, prescribed burn associations in five Great Plains states reported 16 escapes out of 1,094 burns conducted between 1995 and 2012—a rate of less than 2%. More…


Biomass Utilization 

The Council of Western State Foresters is requesting proposals to complete a Wood Wool Cement and Wood Fiber Insulation Feasibility Analysis. Responses are due to the Council by 4:00 p.m. MDT June 30, 2022. Access the entire RFP here.


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 25 – Understanding Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (Virtual)

Get helpful information and resources on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Colorado’s forest collaboratives: an overview of existing programs anticipating increased investments (CFLRP, GNA, Joint Chiefs, Cross-Boundary Ecosystem Restoration) and what applicants need to know. Register...


May 25: Informational webinar on NFF’s Matching Awards Program

The National Forest Foundation is currently soliciting proposals for its Matching Awards Program (MAP). MAP is a national, competitive grant program that provides federal funds for on-the-ground projects. The application deadline is June 22, 2022, and an informational webinar is offered May 25, 2022. More…


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…


The Colorado legislature’s 120-day lawmaking term ended May 11, 2022. Here is a list of bills we’ve been tracking at RMRI that passed. Colorado legislation tracking courtesy of the Colorado State Forest Service.



HB22-1007: Assistance Landowner Wildfire Mitigation

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.


  • Last Action: Passed


HB22-1011: Wildfire Mitigation Incentives For Local Governments

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: Passed.


HB22-1012: Wildfire Mitigation And Recovery

Concerning healthy forests, and, in connection therewith, creating the wildfire mitigation and recovery grant program.


  • Brief Summary: As Amended, this bill would provide a full-time, ongoing Carbon Specialist to the CSFS. The bill requires for the CSFS to develop a Forest Carbon Co-Benefit Framework for project-level forest management practices.

  • Last Action: Passed.


HB22-1132: Regulation And Services For Wildfire Mitigation

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. The bill also sets forth civil and criminal penalties for a person who does not provide notice prior to conducting a controlled burn or otherwise violates the bill's requirements. It also has requirements for when a controlled burn may occur.


  • Last Action: Passed.


HB22-1323: Updates To State Forest Service Tree Nursery

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: Passed with a $5 million allocation from the General Fund.


HB22-1379: Wildfire Prevention Watershed Restoration Funding

Concerning transfers from the economic recovery and relief cash fund to provide additional funding for the management of certain natural resources, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.


  • Brief Summary: The bill requires the state treasurer to make a $3 million allocation to the HFVC and $2.2 million to FRWRM for projects that will help communities address the urgent need to reduce wildfire risks by supporting implementation of risk mitigation treatments that focus on promoting watershed resilience.


  • Last Action: Passed.




SB22-007: Increase Wildfire Risk Mitigation Outreach Efforts

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: Passed. This bill allocated $600,473 for 2023.
If you would like your work highlighted in this monthly email update, submit to RMRI communication manager, Nathan Van Schaik, at Or, to discuss any communications issues or concerns, contact Nathan via email or at (720) 584-6571.
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