Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative
Who We Are
The Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative is a new stakeholder-driven collaborative aimed at increasing the resilience of our forests, habitat, communities, recreation opportunities, and water resources across all lands in the Rocky Mountains. The initiative is taking the groundbreaking approach of tasking a diverse group of partners from Colorado to identify important landscapes, shared interests and potential strategies where a collective effort has the potential to make transformational changes in the health and resiliency of the ecosystem. The initiative invited federal, state, local, private and non-profit partners from across Colorado to look across private and public lands at places where comprehensive management could make a significant difference in restoring forests and habitats; protecting communities; supporting recreation and tourism; and securing clean water for downstream users. The four RMRI values for Colorado are wildlife & forests, water, communities and recreation.
Co-convened by the National Wild Turkey Federation and the U.S. Forest Service, RMRI mobilizes over 40 partners across Colorado to deliver cross-boundary solutions to three priority landscapes that were selected through our stakeholder driven process. RMRI partners are united by our four shared values: Restore forests and habitat, protect communities, support recreation and tourism, and ensure clean and secure water.
Increasing the resilience of our forests, wildlife habitats, communities, recreation opportunities, and water resources across all lands in the Rocky Mountains.
Embrace Shared Stewardship principles by building a collaborative foundation to address challenges, identify opportunities and potential solutions that will lead to measurable and scalable results in the restoration of critical landscapes in the Rocky Mountains.
The RMRI SW Steering Committee is identifying opportunities and barriers to restoration work across the nearly 800,000-acre Southwest project area, stretching 120 miles along Colo. Highway 160, including the towns of Cortez, Dolores, Mancos, Durango and the San Juan National Forest. The committee will draw heavily on the expertise and values from the local communities through a newly established Advisory Network, a group of dozens of local stakeholders, to help guide the steering committee toward local priorities and issues. This collaborative input will build a strong foundation for the 10-year implementation of RMRI in the Southwest.
Over 10 years, efforts could involve:
- Mitigating 20,000 acres of private lands and associated infrastructure that have high fire risk; treating 290,000 acres of National Forest adjacent to communities;
- Protecting water quality and quantity in McPhee Reservoir; McPhee irrigates 75,000 acres of agricultural land and supplies drinking water to multiple towns, including the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.
- Safeguarding the Dolores River, which supports sensitive native fish; provides a premier 200-mile boating opportunity; delivers water to the Colorado River to help meet obligations to the Lower Basin under the Colorado River Compact.
- Protecting the Animas, Mancos, Florida and Los Pinos rivers, and Lemon, Jackson Gulch and Vallecito reservoirs, which support recreation-based economies; supply agricultural and municipal water to Durango, Mancos, Mesa Verde National Park, Bayfield, Ignacio, the Southern Ute, and downstream New Mexico communities and the Navajo Nation.
- Helping communities to be more accepting of the role of wildfire and prescribed fire.
- Enhancing access and safety for the San Juan National Forests by clearing dead, dying and down trees from trails, and improving trailheads.
- Preserving diversity of wildlife habitat and wildlife connectivity.
- Supporting a growing wood products industry through development of markets; and
- Maintaining the economic viability of southwest Colorado communities through a vibrant recreation opportunity, established local industry, and a resilience to future disturbances.
For more information on the Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative click here.