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News from around Colorado – August 2019

News and opportunities for working lands in Colorado

Wildflowers on Glade Park, CO

Grasses and Wildflowers at 9,300 feet on Glade Park, CO.  The wet winter and spring has helped provide plenty of forage that is available for livestock and wildlife if properly managed. It sure has provided for great scenery this year too!

HIGHLIGHTS

A Call for Riparian Projects on Private Lands

RiversEdge West (REW), formerly the Tamarisk Coalition, is a nonprofit based in Grand Junction that focuses on the advancement of riparian restoration through education, collaboration and technical assistance across the American West. REW has become well versed and successful over the years with regards to working on public land restoration projects throughout the Colorado River Basin. As time went on, however, REW identified the value of bringing in more private landowners on projects.

Fortunately, the NRCS has long offered programs for private landowners and has a great deal of experience contracting land improvements. Rather than reinvent the wheel, REW partnered with NRCS to create a shared Private Lands Biologist position and hired Sarah Wilson in the winter of 2018. Sarah’s past experiences include working with conservation districts, natural resources, state parks, private landowners, and fisheries. The primary goal of Sarah’s role as the Private Lands Biologist is to increase project services to private landowners on behalf of both agencies.

Today, Sarah is actively seeking landowners and managers with riparian area projects that could benefit from technical assistance. Riparian areas can include wetlands, ponds, drainages, ditches, creeks, reservoirs, and river banks. Projects can include, but are not limited to: invasive species removal & revegetation, erosion control, wildlife habitat enhancement, grazing management with fencing & watering facilities, irrigation improvements, nutrient management, cropping system adjustments, orchard conservation practices, etc.

To learn more about utilizing funding assistance and guidance for your riparian area projects, please contact Sarah Wilson, Private Lands Biologist, at: swilson@riversedgewest.org or call 307-321-3363.

 

2019 Colorado Leopold Conservation Award

Agricultural conservation practices have given Mike and Julie Livingston and their land the resiliency to overcome adversity. Through hard work, holistic management and perseverance, the Livingstons have built a ranch that is sustainable for generations to come.  Read more and watch the inspiring video from Sand County Foundation.

 

Zoetis establishes research lab at CSU

Zoetis, the world’s leading animal health company, has signed an agreement with Colorado State University to establish a research lab at CSU that will explore the livestock immune system and target new immunotherapies – paving the way for new alternatives to antibiotics in food-producing animals. The new 3,000-square-foot Zoetis Incubator Research Lab will operate at the Research Innovation Center on CSU’s Foothills Campus starting in early 2020. Read the entire article here.

 

Vesicular stomatitis cases have been confirmed in 20 Colorado counties

The Colorado Department of Agriculture has confirmed cases of vesicular stomatitis (VSV) in the following counties: Adams, Alamosa, Archuleta, Boulder, Broomfield, Conejos, Delta, Douglas, Gilpin, Grand, Jefferson, La Plata, Larimer, Mesa, Montezuma, Montrose, Morgan, Ouray, Pueblo, and Weld counties in Colorado. There are currently 254 quarantined locations statewide, and 177 released quarantines. 

“It is of utmost importance that livestock owners report VSV occurrences and comply with hold or quarantine orders to limit the potential for disease spread in this VSV outbreak.” said Colorado State Veterinarian Dr. Keith Roehr.  Any vesicular disease of livestock is reportable to the State Veterinarian’s Office in Colorado – to report call 303-869-9130.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Badger Creek Ranch Land Health Workshop | Aug. 16-17 | Cañon City, CO

This workshop is two days of landscape assessment, range planning, and soil conservation. Perfect for ranchers, land managers, beginning agrarians/students, and anyone else looking to improve their skills and knowledge on rangeland management and monitoring. Tools, gloves, and handouts will be provided during the workshop. Attendees are welcome to camp Thursday and Friday night at the ranch and will be responsible for camping gear and most meals during their stay. Attendees will need to bring lunch on Friday, but will be provided lunch on Saturday. This workshop is free! Registration is now open! Topics include:

    • Practice rangeland health monitoring and plant identification in the field, and learn how to create a comprehensive grazing plan.
    • Soil Conservation & Erosion Control
    • Build erosion control structures through hands-on instruction and learn how to read the landscape to better understand surface water flow and the erosion process
    • Brief presentations from Bird Conservancy of the Rockies and Colorado Section of the Society for Range Management

 

Raft the River with RiversEdge West | Aug. 24 | Fruita, CO

Join RiversEdge West (REW), Rimrock Adventures, and hand-picked local river experts on for their annual river trip and dinner along the Colorado River!  This year they are excited to welcome the creative musical duo, Tim + Richard to their riverside venue. Spanning across acoustic, rock, gypsy, folk, jazz, and blues genres, Tim + Richard’s unique sound is not to be missed.

Seats are limited. Registration ends on August 15. Tickets are $85 to attend or $72 for REW members. All proceeds will support river restoration and youth education in the Grand Valley.

 

Wonders of Wetlands for Private Landowners | Aug. 29 | Pagosa Springs, CO

Learn about opportunities for wetlands and wildlife on private lands.  Space is limited. Please RSVP to Kristina.kline@usda.gov. Topics include:

    • Importance of small wetlands
    • Habitat elements and species of concern
    • Wetland and riparian restoration
    • Financial and technical assistance options
    • Priority wildlife species and identification
    • Bring binoculars for some birding!

 

Cheatgrass Treatment Workshop | Sept. 13 | Gunnison, CO

Cheatgrass is an annual invasive grass, and its range is expanding in the Gunnison Basin. This plant increases wildfire frequency, reduces forage for livestock and big game, and reduces the quality of wildlife habitat. 

If you want to learn how to control cheatgrass on your land, join Bird Conservancy of the Rockies & the Gunnison Conservation District for a FREE informational workshop on cheatgrass ecology and management. Topics will include:

    • Cheatgrass id, impacts of grazing on cheatgrass, impacts on fire
    • Cheatgrass treatment options and ways to reduce the spread
    • Other weeds to treat
    • How to calibrate equipment
    • Public‐private treatment collaboration

Cost is FREE but RSVP required. Lunch will be provided. Contact Aleshia Rummel (970) 707‐3044; aleshia.rummel@usda.gov  or Marcella Tarantino (970) 707‐3049; marcella.tarantino@co.usda.gov

 

Colorado Prescribed Fire Council Meeting | Sept. 19 | Durango, CO

Please join us at a prescribed fire practitioner and manager focused council meeting at the San Juan Public Lands office in Durango, CO on September 19. We will bring a variety of speakers to present on topics related to getting “good fire” on the ground, including smoke management planning, new firefighter situational awareness technology, and collaborative burning. We will cap the day off with a field tour.

This meeting will be concurrent with the San Juan Prescribed Fire Training Exchange. Anyone attending the meeting is invited to join the TREX for the next day’s day of operations. Participants are also welcome to stay at the TREX camp for an additional fee to cover meals.

Please sign up here. Also, see below for a link to take the survey on barriers to prescribed fire in the state.

 

Creating a Future for Ranching & Farming | Sept. 28 | Dove Creek, CO

Hosted by HMI and partners, join us to discover how Cachuma Ranch & Fozzie’s Farm are working to create a future for ranching & farming. Be inspired with Ken & Kathy Lausten’s vision for the 8th generation of their family ranch and Jay Loschert’s passion to foster community engagement in agriculture. Hear how they are using Criollo cattle, family traditions and innovative approaches restore land health & productivity,increase financial viability, and develop good working relationships in the community. Discover how you can improve your land health, bottom line and quality of life while building a sustainable future!

The event will include lunch and the cost is $20, please register soon, space is limited for this valuable event.

 

OPPORTUNITIES FOR ENGAGEMENT

Rio Grande National Forest Land Management Plan

The USFS is happy to announce the release of the Rio Grande National Forest’s land management plan and supporting documents – final environmental impact statement (FEIS) and Draft record of decision (ROD). The land management plan is the culmination of working together with local communities, neighboring forests, special interest groups and state and federal partners for over four years and will guide all management decision and activities conducted on the 1.8 million acre Rio Grande National Forest. The land management plan will guide stewardship of the Rio Grande National Forest into the future.

On Friday, August 2, 2019, the legal notice was published in the Valley Courier announcing the start of the objection period. This publication begins the 60-day filing period where participants with specific concerns may file objections. Meetings will be held during the objection period to explain and clarify the land management plan and the next steps in the process.

 

WLA invited to represent landowners on the Colorado Collaborative for Healthy Soils Advisory Committee

Colorado’s diverse agricultural sector has a long legacy of land stewardship. In particular, farmers and ranchers across the state employ practices to manage and improve the health of their soil – practices which, minimize input costs, conserve water, reduce erosion, provide wildlife habitat, and optimize yields. Over the past few years, many voices from Colorado’s farming and ranching communities have begun exploring ways that these management practices can be recognized and incentivized at a statewide level. Recently various stakeholders have come together to form a results-based Collaborative that will guide the development of policies and programs to improve that adoption of soil health practices on Colorado’s farm and ranch land.  WLA will be involved in the Collaborative to ensure landowners are a part of discussion forums that consider the best path forward for soil health policies and programs in Colorado. Providing a voice to landowners to ensure program and policy options will benefit the greatest number of farmers and ranchers across the state. Helping to guide the Collaborative’s vision through legislative and rulemaking processes will enhance relationships and build a common-sense approach to promoting conservation practices throughout Colorado’s agricultural community.

 

Your Voice Counts on the Future of Prescribed Fire in Colorado!

The Forest Stewards Guild is offering a survey to better understand the barriers to prescribed fire use in Colorado.  The Guild practices and promotes responsible forestry as a means of sustaining the integrity of forest ecosystems and the human communities dependent upon them. The Guild engages in education, training, policy analysis, research, and advocacy to foster excellence in stewardship, support practicing foresters and allied professionals, and engage a broader community in the challenges of forest conservation and management.  Please contact daniel@forestguild.org for more information.

Participate in this SURVEY to share your views on Barriers to Prescribed Fire Use in Colorado.

 

CDA submits comments regarding the BLM Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Domestic Sheep Grazing Permit Renewals

On behalf of both the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR), we, Kate Greenberg and Dan Gibbs, would like to thank you for the opportunity for our respective agencies to comment on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Domestic Sheep Grazing Permit Renewals in the Gunnison Field Office. CDA, acting through its Conservation Services Division, and DNR, acting through Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), have been cooperating agencies and have actively participated throughout this process and development of this EIS. We send this letter jointly and present it as a brief explanation of the accompanying individual agency letters.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) submitted comments regarding the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Domestic Sheep Grazing Permit Renewals (DOI-BLM-CO-S060-2014-0001-EIS). Contact Mr. Les Owen at 303-869-9032 or les.owen@state.co.us for questions about the comments.

 

Thank you!

If you have news to share, need more information, or have any questions, feel free to send me a message: john@westernlandowners.org.

 

Membership

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The Western Landowners Alliance advances policies and practices that sustain working lands, connected landscapes and native species.

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