Phase 1: Saint Vrain Forest Health Partnership Project
The project is part of the St. Vrain Forest Health Partnership which is a collaborative of agencies and community members working to increase the pace and scale of cross-boundary forest restoration in the St. Vrain Watershed. Projects selected provide critical linkages between existing burn footprints and treatments on federal, County, and City and private lands. Further, the projects complement the USFS NEPA process that is poised to begin in early 2023 within the St. Vrain Forest Health Partnership planning area. Once complete, the USFS will be able to scale up treatment in the watershed, which will facilitate further cross-boundary opportunities in the coming years. Specific cross-boundary opportunities are described below:
- Peak to Peak Planning Area links existing USFS and RMNP treatments north and south, offers a key line of defense for fire suppression prior to roadless area in Research Natural Area (and all downstream communities).
- Conifer Road to Big Elk Fire Planning Area links Cook Mountain project to Highway 7 and Big Elk fire, creating a connected fire suppression boundary immediately upstream of Ralph Price Reservoir, Town of Lyons and City of Longmont. Further, the project directly reduces risk to hundreds of private landowners in the Conifer Road neighborhood.
- Cook Mountain Implementation project offers good anchor point for future prescribed burns conducted on USFS land within Research Natural Area zone of St. Vrain and connects with existing USFS treatments and City of Longmont Treatments.
- North Shore Project will function as a fuels reduction project for adjacent residential properties as well as mitigating future post-fire sedimentation in Ralph Price Reservoir.
- Boulder County Hall Ranch and Antelope Park Projects will mitigate future post-fire sedimentation in Longmont Reservoir, Longmont’s primary domestic water intake.
- Eagle Ridge Project links the recent burn footprint in Lyons to a critical fire suppression boundary for the town of Lyons. The north-south orientation of this project, coupled with being a ridgetop, is ideal for a shaded fuelbreak.
Project Goals: Implement and plan effective fuels reduction projects within the St. Vrain Watershed that provide for infrastructure protection and public safety while adhering to accepted principles of forest restoration in the lower montane.
Treatments: ~380 acres, RFP release mid-February/2023, contract in place May/2023. Contractor begin operations based on contractor’s schedule and site conditions. Anticipate May-June/2023 start date. Completion December/2023.
Planning: ~4,000 acres within the watershed, start summer field season 2023 and continuing through 2025
- The Watershed Center
- Boulder County
- City of Longmont
- Boulder Valley and Longmont Conservation Districts
- Colorado State Forest Service
- USFS-ARP Boulder District
The SVFHP Phase One project was awarded $1 million of state funding from the Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program Landscape Resilience Investment in 2022. The project partners amplified that funding as follows:
- Boulder County – $290,435 cash and in-kind support;
- City of Longmont – $65,000 Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation state grant money and $466,964 of in-kind support;
- Boulder Valley and Longmont Conservation District – $316,486 Environmental Quality Incentive Program (USDA);
- Watershed Center – $100,000 cash match from partners including Argosy Foundation, Colorado Water Conservation Board, Justin Brooks Fisher Foundation, St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District, and U.S. Forest Service.
- Total non-COSWAP contribution – $1,238,885