Forest Health

Blanco Basin tour highlights!

Last week we hosted a short tour and discussion about the recent and on-going forest thinning projects occurring in the Blanco and Navajo Basins. This particular tour focused on work in the upper part of the Blanco Basin where eight landowners have partnered this year with the Alliance to improve forest health and wildfire resilience on their land. We were graciously hosted at the Reed-Hare Ranch (thank you Sandlin and Jerry!) where we discussed the funding source and partners supporting the on-ground work, regional collaborative efforts, heard from our US Forest Service partner about their recent decision to focus more resources in the basin, and viewed one of the mastication thinning treatments on the Ranch.

About 40 people attended, with mostly our landowner partners. We also had representation from the US Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), The Nature Conservancy, the Bureau of Reclamation, and two regional partnerships - the San Juan-Chama Watershed Partnership and the San Juan Headwaters Forest Health Partnership, in addition to Alliance staff. Thank you to all our friends and neighbors who attended on Friday!

You can read more about the Navajo-Blanco Resiliency Project HERE, including a downloadable fact sheet and more information on the US Forest Service's "Blanco Basin Vegetation Management Project".

All pictures courtesy of Caitlin Barbour, CPLA/BOR AmeriCorp VISTA Volunteer.

Chama Prescribed Fire Training Exchange

As part of our Forest and Watershed Health Program, the Chama Peak Land Alliance (CPLA) in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and other regional partners will be hosting a Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX) in Chama, NM this spring.  The intent of this training is to provide opportunities for local and regional firefighters, scientists and managers to work and train together, build their experience in prescribed fire practices, fire effects, and other conservation efforts affecting forests, woodlands and grasslands in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.

The Chama Peak Land Alliance (CPLA) and partners are working collaboratively across ownership boundaries to improve the resiliency of regional forests and watersheds to catastrophic wildfire, forest insect and disease outbreaks, and climate change impacts. One-third of New Mexico’s drinking water is sourced from the San Juan-Chama Watershed, a matrix of private and public lands in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. By working together we are increasing the capacity of private landowners and public agencies to improve forest health at scale and protect vital water, wildlife, and cultural resources. Collaborative partnerships active in the region include the Rio Grande Water Fund, the San Juan Headwaters Forest Health Partnership, the San Juan-Chama Watershed Partnership, and the 2-3-2 Cohesive Strategy Partnership. More information and links to these groups may be found at www.chamapeak.org/partners.

We'll be watching the weather as we get closer to spring. Recent dry weather may preclude conducting prescribed burns, in which case we will evaluate the event and seek other meaningful training and work opportunities for participants.

We invite professional wildland firefighters and prescribed fire practitioners, fire and resource managers, ecologists, biologists, conservationists, students and faculty, researchers and scientists from federal, state, tribal, non-governmental and private organizations to be part of our burn team.

Join us for hands-on burning and learning in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Everyone is welcome; if you do not have the minimum training requirements we will provide them to you. There is no cost for basic training. Event registration fees may be waived for local participants.

More information and the registration form can be found here.

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