Fireshed Partner Spotlight: Larimer Conservation District
The Larimer Conservation District (LCD) (formerly the Fort Collins and Big Thompson Conservation Districts) is a proud partner of the Northern Colorado Fireshed Collaborative and has been an active proponent of natural resource conservation since the original districts were founded in the 1940s.
Conservation Districts were formed in the wake of the Dust Bowl and the aftermath of the Great Depression. CDs were created as a “place-based” convener of local stakeholders to protect the water, soil, and other natural resources. LCD still works with local landowners and partners to identify resource concerns relevant to our landscape and implement evidence-based conservation practices. In 2016, LCD stood up their Healthy Forest Initiative, designed to address forest health concerns on a landscape scale. Since then, LCD has planned and implemented over 3,500 acres of forest restoration treatments across the forested landscapes of Larimer County from the Wyoming state line to the Estes Valley area.
We know that fire is a necessary component of a healthy ecosystem. However, decades of over-grazing and fire suppression have negatively impacted our forests’ health and resilience to fire and other disturbances. Forest restoration is more than simply thinning forests and reducing fuels to prevent fires. LCD’s holistic treatments mimic the positive effects of our pre-colonial fire regime to restore forests to a condition capable of withstanding disturbances such as fire. LCD’s full-time forestry staff study the fire history and forensic evidence at each project site and work with landowners, land managers, and partner organizations to create unique treatment plans that mimic the positive effects of fire. The result is healthier forests, enhanced wildlife habitat, protection for critical water infrastructure, and of course, increased resilience to wildfires.