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Landscapes & Partners


San Juan National Forest Prescribed Fire Update

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The San Juan National Forest's prescribed fire program began its 2023 season in early May and continued into June. The Spring prescribed fire season has come to an end, and operations will continue in the fall if conditions permit. 

The Dolores ranger District completed 1,376 acres in the Boggy Draw area in June and may burn up to another 9,000 acres in the fall.

The Columbine Ranger District completed 2,430 acres on the Vallecito-Piedra project in the Beaver Meadows area. Operations will continue in the Vallecito-Piedra units in fall if conditions permit.

The Pagosa Ranger District did not have spring prescribed fire projects planned for implementation due to wet conditions. Plans are underway to conduct prescribed fire on the district in the fall. Video | Details


Jerome Miller/Miller Gulch Project

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The Jerome Miller/Miller Gulch project outside of Bailey, Colo., nears completion as crews take pause through the summer. The project area encompasses 1,521 acres on the U.S. Forest Service’s Pike National Forest. To date, 1,043 acres have been treated while the remaining 478 acres will be treated in the winter and spring of 2023-2024. Spearheaded by Stewardship West, the non-profit entered into a stewardship agreement with the U.S. Forest Service in January of 2022. Today, the U.S. Forest Service, Denver Water, Aurora Water, the Colorado Department of Natural Resources via COSWAP, and VM West have each invested in the project.


The Jerome Miller/Miller Gulch project is situated between the North Fork and the South Platte River before the two merge and enter Strontia Spring Reservoir, eventually becoming the water supply for Denver and Aurora residents. The Buffalo Creek Fire and the Hi Meadow Fire left burn scars that are visible from the project area. About 10 miles south, the Hayman Fire struck in 2002 and was Colorado's largest fire for 18 years. Once complete, the project will improve forest and watershed health, improve wildlife habitat and reduce wildfire risks to people, communities, forest goods and services.


Strategic forest treatments begin in Lake County

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With a new community wildfire protection plan and grant funding in-hand, strategic forest treatments designed to reduce the intensity of a wildfire will begin in earnest around Lake County this year.

Projects are based on treatment priority areas identified in the Lake County Community Wildfire Protection Plan, which the county updated in 2022. Projects slated for this year include a fuel break to protect the Gem Valley, Four Seasons, Silverhills and other nearby subdivisions, as well as continued roadside thinning along County Road 4 near Leadville proper. Fuel mitigation activities by the U.S. Forest Service will continue this summer around Turquoise Lake, a component of the Tennessee Creek Project. And the National Forest Foundation joins other Forest Health Council partners, including Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS), to support a project on private and Bureau of Land Management properties near the Sugarloaf Dam, where about 180 acres are slated to be addressed this fall.


The wildfire plan incorporates a range of community protection priorities, including infrastructure and cultural assets such as power lines and historic structures. A new community chipping program also will begin this summer. The program is a partnership among the Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative (ARWC), Colorado Mountain College, Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue and Lake County Public Works. The chipping program and a significant portion of the forest thinning work is funded by CSFS grants awarded to the county earlier this year. Projects also are funded by the Colorado Strategic Action Wildfire Program (COSWAP). More…

Events & Conferences

Cost Analysis Tool Demo 

On July 27, from 11am to 12pm, Han Sup Han, Director of Forest Operations and Biomass Utilization, Ecological Restoration Institute, will present an Excel-based model on a thinning cost analysis. If interested, contact Becca Samulski at [email protected].


Aspen Ecology & Management Workshop 

July - Aug. 1 in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Registration link coming soon. Contact Gloria Edwards at [email protected] for details.

Colorado Water Congress Summer Conference

August 22-24 | Steamboat Grand

2023 Colorado Forest Collaboratives Summit

Sept. 6-8, 2023 | Salida, CO

Sustaining Colorado Watersheds Conference 

Oct. 3-5, 2023

Colorado Outdoor Industry Leadership Summit

Oct. 6-7, 2023 | Steamboat Springs, CO

Faces of RMRI

James Savage of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management explains how RMRI brings together partners to develop projects.

Workforce Capacity Update

By Molly Pitts

Year after year, Colorado proves to be a leader in promoting forest health, reducing wildfire risk and protecting watersheds. Yet challenges persist for Colorado’s forests. High among them is building and sustaining a workforce to tackle changing climates, wildfires, water shortages and invasive species. Our Workforce Capacity Subcommittee is effecting change for the better.

Molly Pitts is Executive Director of the Colorado Timber Industry Association. She co-leads RMRI’s Workforce Capacity Subcommittee. If you would like to join or support the committee, contact Molly at [email protected].

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Grants & Funding

  • Grant opportunities, courtesy of USDA Forest Service, Region 2, State, Private, & Tribal Forestry (SPTF).

  • Zero Foodprint RESTORE Grant: About $200,000 will be awarded in Colorado in grants of up to $25,000 each to farmers and ranchers to sequester carbon. Application deadline: July 20, 2023.


RMRI Factsheets

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In this issue of The Source, we focus on the work accomplished in 2022 in each of RMRI's three Colorado landscapes in the Southwest, Upper Arkansas and Upper South Platte.

RMRI Factsheets
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RestoringTheRockies.org | [email protected] 

The Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative serves as the common entry point for restoration efforts in the Rockies. RMRI supports Partners across federal, state, Tribal and local jurisdictions to increase pace and scale of forest restoration. This is Shared Stewardship in action.