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Fireshed Ops Committee: Increasing pre-project interagency coordination

March 29, 2022

On Thursday March 10, several members of the Northern Colorado Fireshed Collaborative’s Operations Committee got together to plan for an upcoming wildfire mitigation grant opportunity through the Colorado Department of Natural Resources’ Strategic Wildfire Action Program. In attendance were representatives from Colorado State Forest Service, Big Thompson Watershed Coalition, Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed, Estes Valley Watershed Coalition, Larimer Conservation District, The Ember Alliance, Larimer County Conservation Corps, Larimer County Office of Emergency Management, US Forest Service and Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services.

The Ops group sorted through multiple potential wildfire mitigation projects to identify two large-scale projects, one each in the Cache la Poudre and Big Thompson watersheds, that are in high priority treatment areas and would compete well at the state level for COSWAP implementation funding. Potential projects were scored on metrics such as shovel-ready acres, landowner readiness, landscape scale treatment potential, cross-jurisdictional treatment potential, project priority using multiple modeling frameworks, ingress/egress protection, source water and infrastructure protection, recreational asset protection, and wildlife habitat benefit, among others. After debating each potential project’s benefit in each of these categories and poring over large format maps of the project areas, the Ops group selected the two projects that everyone agreed would best meet the intent of the COSWAP project implementation funding and address the priorities of the areas. Organization leads on these projects will assist in drafting the grant application to be submitted by Larimer County Office of Emergency Management.

This pre-project interagency coordination, and pursuing joint and/or linked funding requests, is what makes the Northern Colorado Fireshed Collaborative such a powerful driver to get wildfire mitigation work done on the ground and bolsters the Ops Committee’s purpose of supporting “cohesive and robust treatments and forestry operations across boundaries.”

To get involved with the Northern Colorado Fireshed’s Operation Committee please email Max Erickson at max.erickson@colostate.edu