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Monthly Update

October 2022


RMRI Partners met for the first time in person in nearly three years at Durango Oct. 4-6. More details will follow in the next RMRI Monthly Update. Meanwhile, COSWAP investments continue to bolster RMRI landscapes. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is soliciting proposals for the annual RESTORE Colorado Program (applications due November 10, 2022). Youth in the RMRI-Upper Arkansas landscape build fences and clean up forests. And more updates from RMRI’s Workforce Capacity Subcommittee and Biomass Utilization Subcommittee. 


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.

COSWAP in RMRI-Southwest: La Plata County fire mitigation efforts RMRI-SW

Visiting crews will begin extensive wildfire mitigation efforts on 83 miles of roads throughout La Plata County. Initial efforts in October will begin with mitigation along County Road 117 as well as the Vista de Oro subdivision on the Fort Lewis Mesa. A map of the targeted area is available here. The work will be funded through the Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Plan (COSWAP), which was created to administer funds via the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.



COSWAP in RMRI-Southwest: Montezuma County wildfire mitigation efforts RMRI-SW

The Mancos Conservation District, in partnership with the Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest Collaborative, Wildfire Adapted Partnership, and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, was recently awarded $1,000,000 by the CO Department of Natural Resources through the Colorado Strategic Wildlife Action Program (COSWAP). Under the Landscape Resilience Investment, this funding will provide targeted wildfire risk mitigation on private lands in the Mancos and Dolores watershed to increase community resilience and protect life, property, and infrastructure.



COSWAP in RMRI-Upper South Platte: Partners focus on Teller County RMRI-Upper South Platte

The Woodland Park Field Office of the Colorado State Forest Service received a $1 million Landscape Resilience Investment grant through the Colorado Department of Natural Resources Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program (COSWAP) that will fund essential forest management activities near the North Catamount reservoir. This fuels treatment project known as the North Cat 2, will help shift the risk from catastrophic wildfire on the landscape, increase protection to vital drinking water supply and infrastructure, protect wildlife habitat and provide increased protection to communities adjacent to the North Catamount reservoir. Forest management activities and project work under this grant are slated for completion by 2025. More…



Fences & benches built from wildfire mitigation improve outdoor spaces RMRI-Upper Arkansas

RMRI Partners in the RMRI-Upper Arkansas landscape are treating ecosystems while also serving communities. Natural fencing and new benches will be placed at popular recreation areas in the towns of Salida, Poncha Springs and Buena Vista, as the Southwest Conservation Corp (SCC) completes a project funded by Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO). SCC provides youth, young adults and veterans with challenging service and educational opportunities through projects that promote personal growth and an ethic of natural resource stewardship. The Healthy Forests, Fences and Benches project serves the organization’s mission well because it includes public service components, from reducing wildfire danger to protecting wildlife to improving the outdoors for residents and visitors. More…



Dolores Ranger District plans to burn slash piles this fall and winter RMRI-SW

The San Juan National Forest’s Dolores Ranger District plans to burn slash piles generated from forest thinning and timber sales in areas north of Mancos, east and northeast of Dolores, and east of Dove Creek. The USDA Forest Service recently completed a 90-day nationwide operational pause and program review of protocols, decision support tools and practices related to the implementation of prescribed fire. This pause has allowed us time to identify and immediately implement program improvements to ensure firefighters have the resources, tools and support needed to safely carry out this important work. The lessons learned, driven by the best available science, will be implemented before resuming the prescribed fire program. More…



Middle schoolers make the grade during forest cleanup RMRI-Upper Arkansas

Students from Darren Patterson Christian Academy “adopted” a recreation area in September. Twenty-three middle schoolers from the Buena Vista school cleaned up an area of the San Isabel National Forest. The event, hosted by Chaffee Rec Adopters, reinforced educational priorities by helping students get real-world experiences. Chaffee Rec Adopters volunteers have used a mobile app to survey more than 2,200 dispersed campsites along the county’s forested road system. The information is used by land agencies to focus stewardship efforts and manage the impacts of growing recreation use. “Adopters” have removed more than 15,000 pounds of ash and trash from county recreation sites during cleanup events this year. More…



RESTORE Colorado 2022 Request for Proposals RMRI

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is soliciting proposals for the annual Restoration and Stewardship of Outdoor Resources and Environment (RESTORE) Colorado Program. Applications are due November 10, 2022. Cross-boundary landscape projects that are within RMRI’s three focal areas are the target for the forested lands applications. More...



Loan program helps reduce wildfire severity while improving wood profits RMRI

“The Wildfire Risk Mitigation Loan Fund provides financing to wildfire mitigation contractors and forest products businesses to invest in new equipment and working capital to address Colorado’s increasing wildfire challenge. It is administered in partnership with the SLVDRG and other lenders like the Northwest Loan Fund,” said RMRI partner Tim Reader, the wood products specialist with the Colorado State Forest Service. More…



Bird/Forest Management Tool Workshop RMRI

The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies has worked with the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute to create a spatial tool that maps potential benefits of forest treatments for bird occupancy and richness in forested regions along the Front Range (see the email below for more details). They are looking to host a virtual workshop to showcase the tool. If you are interested in participating in the workshop, please contact Jennifer Timmer at Bird Conservancy of the Rockies (jennifer.timmer@birdconservancy.org) directly to be put on their contact list.

The latest edition of The Source,

RMRI's quarterly newsletter.

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In this issue of The Source, we focus on RMRI Partners in each of RMRI's three Colorado landscapes in the Southwest, Upper Arkansas and Upper South Platte.

Read The Source today!


Forest Ambassadors end second successful season

RMRI extended support to partner San Juan Mountains Association as Forest Ambassadors end a second successful season. SJMA members covered trails from Blue Lakes to Ice Lakes, Vallecito to Lizard Head, and many popular places in between. More…


Workforce Capacity Subcommittee


The RMRI Workforce Capacity Subcommittee met Sept. 8, 2022. These are highlights. Meeting notes available here.


  • Molly Pitts and Tim Reader, Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS), presented to the Wildfire Matters Review Committee. The Committee develops ten bills each year and introduces five of them in the legislative session. Some of the bills the Committee plans to advance this year are related to purchasing equipment for wildfire suppression.

  • Nathan Van Schaik and Molly Pitts worked together to develop a trifold with information on forestry careers. Still in draft form, the trifold is aimed at recruiting graduates and those interested into the forestry industry. This brochure would be helpful for volunteers enrolled in the conservation corps.

  • When people in Colorado realized a national civilian climate corps would not come to fruition, they established the Colorado Climate Corps through the state—funded directly by the American Rescue Plan Act. The program is funded through 2024. The Colorado Climate Corps primarily focuses on fieldwork related to watershed health, forest health and the transition to green energy.


Biomass Utilization Subcommittee


The RMRI Biomass Utilization Subcommittee met Sept. 14, 2022. These are highlights. Meeting notes available here.


  • Mike Landes of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), joined the Subcommittee meeting as a guest speaker to explain Colorado business recruitment and state incentives. Around 73% percent of businesses that applied for an incentive in Colorado within the past year have moved to Colorado. The promotion of biomass utilization in Colorado, however, is new for the state, and the state currently has no defined legislation outlining incentives for biomass businesses. Details here.

  • Due to additional funding allocated through the federal infrastructure bill, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) will be announcing a new program to support businesses utilizing forest biomass. The new program will support established or new facilities utilizing material from National Forest Service or tribal lands. The program will be more flexible than the existing Wood Innovation and Community Wood programs. Grant proposals will be due 30 days after the announcement of the new program, and the review process will be expedited.

  • The Inflation Reduction Act will grant $100 million for wood innovations over the next 5 to 10 years. The USFS Washington Office is deciding whether to apply that funding to an existing program or launch a new program. Some of the funding is earmarked for biomass and transportation subsidies.


Oct. 27 Colorado Forest Collaboratives Network Summit

The purpose of the Forest Collaboratives Summit is to connect place-based forest collaboratives from across the state and facilitate information-sharing about issues most relevant to collaboratives. Register | Agenda



Nov. 4, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. – RMRI Workforce Capacity Subcommittee

RMRI invites you to the next RMRI Workforce meeting via Zoom Nov. 4, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Request to join the meeting at restoretherockies@gmail.com. Past meeting summaries and more at https://restoringtherockies.org/workforce-capacity-subcommittee.  



Nov. 29, 9-11 a.m. – RMRI Biomass Utilization Subcommittee

RMRI invites you to the next RMRI Biomass meeting via Zoom Nov. 29, from 9-11 a.m. Request to join the meeting at restoretherockies@gmail.com. Past meeting summaries and more at https://restoringtherockies.org/biomass-utilization-subcommittee



April 11-14 2023 Colorado Wildland Fire Conference

Main conference session is April 12-13 w/pre- and post-con workshops and tours. Theme: Accelerating Adaptation and Managing Expectations. Details at www.wildfire-colorado.com


At the Sept. 14, 2022, RMRI Biomass Utilization Subcommittee meeting, members discussed legislation related to biomass utilization. Here are some key takeaways from that meeting.


  • State legislators have demonstrated an interest in supporting forest management activities and fuels mitigation programs. Some state legislators are considering a bill to support internships for timber industry and timber-related businesses. They have also expressed interest in supporting biomass utilization through financing and a potential grant program.

  • The Wildfire Matters Review Committee is considering several potential bills. Some of the proposed legislation that the Committee is considering include:

  • An increase in wildfire mitigation funding and nurseries
  • Promotion of wildfire-resistant homes and fire investigation
  • An increase in funding for industry equipment purchases and additional training programs
  • Wildlife protection regulations

  • In last year’s legislative session, there was a bill that established a timber industry internship program, expanded the sales tax exemption for the use of beetle-kill material, and established a tax incentive for forestry equipment purchases. The timber industry internship program was popular among legislators, but the other two were not due to the large fiscal note associated with them. This year, the plan is to separate the internship program from the other two tax incentives.

  • One prospective bill will allocate funding to a low-interest loan program that Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) runs. This loan program is for forestry businesses upgrades or for purchasing new equipment.


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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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.

Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative