This UP-CFLRP project benefits from a decade of relationships, trust building, and partnerships that have produced multiple landscape-scale projects that span jurisdictional boundaries. The Uncompahgre Partnership was created in 2001, and includes representatives from the Bureau of Land Management – Uncompahgre and Grand Junction Field Offices (BLM); Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW); the U.S. Forest Service GMUG National Forests; Western Area Power Administration (Western); Tri-State Generation and Transmission Assoc; and the Public Lands Partnership (PLP), which represents county commissioners, city administrators and representatives from the timber industry, agricultural producers, environmental groups, recreationists and citizens from five counties (Montrose, Delta, Mesa, San Miguel and Ouray). Uncompahgre/Com, Inc. (Unc/Com), which was incorporated in 2000, serves as the 501(c)(3) nonprofit fiscal agent of the PLP and the UP.
The mission of the UP is to develop a collaborative approach to improve the ecosystem health of the landscape, using best available science, community input and adaptive management. The UP ’s efforts have earned awards from: 1) Department of Interior’s “Four Cs” Award, recognizing model example of consultation, cooperation, communication and conservation; 2) U.S. Forest Service’s Excellence in Collaboration Award for meeting goals of the National Fire Plan; 3) Wildlife Society’s Award for Professional Achievement in Habitat Management; and 4) U.S. Forest Service Regional Honor – Caring for the Land Stewardship Award for the development of native plant materials. To learn more about the UP, visit our website at: www.UPartnership.org.
The UP-CFLRP will use the highly successful approach from the Unc Mesas Project as a model for landscape restoration and community-based monitoring. The central goal of the Unc Mesas Project is to promote improvements in diversity and productivity of the native ecosystem of the Uncompaghre Mesas area of the Plateau. Uncompahgre Mesas is a 74,000-acre landscape comprised of NFS lands with a number of private in-holdings. The first phase of this demonstration effort focused on a 17,000-acre portion of this larger landscape. NEPA for the 17,000 acre landscape was completed in a short period of time and there were no appeals and/or litigation. The Uncompahgre Mesas Forest and Demonstration project includes up to 7,000 acres of mechanical forest restoration, with 17,000 – 24,000 hundred cubic feet of biomass byproducts and 12,000-14,000 acres of prescribed burning. The major forest types are ponderosa pine, aspen, mixed conifer and spruce-fir. The project includes the commercial harvesting of spruce-fir to help pay for treatments in ponderosa pine and mixed conifer. A variety of public interest groups, environmental organizations and industry participated in developing landscape goals, collecting pretreatment information and conducting baseline monitoring. Key partners in the project include: GMUG National Forests; CFRI; timber industry; conservation and environmental groups, including Colorado Wild, Western Colorado Congress, Uncompahgre Valley Association, Audubon Society; grazing permittees; private landowners; Colorado Division of Wildlife; US Fish and Wildlife Service; motorized and non-motorized recreation users; Colorado State Forest Service; cultural resource stakeholders; and interested public.