Accomplishments Since 2016
The 2-3-2 cohesive strategy partnership launched in early 2016 out of a collective public and governmental interest to address forest health concerns and protect headwaters and water resources in Colorado and New Mexico through cross-boundary forest and fire management, collaboration and planning. More than 5.1 million acres make up the 2-3-2 footprint (for comparison, the 2-3-2 footprint is approximately the size of Delaware and Connecticut—combined). Below are some of the successes achieved by the partnership as of the last quarter of 2018.
Challenging The Notion of Boundaries: Social, Political & Ownership
The 2-3-2 represents a diverse spectrum of partners from two states, across public and private lands that includes non-profit entities. The current partnership of 24 organizations and government agencies works across the geography of the 2-3-2, has shared resources to address fire management and apply prescribed fire, has leveraged partner efforts, and has established critical relationships that will lead to additional successes going forward.
Sharing Resources: Secured Over $5 Million To Date
By establishing trust and critical communication between partners, the 2-3-2 has leveraged funding opportunities, matched needs, and built programs to utilize at-risk funds. To date, partners in the 2-3-2:
- Secured the use of $1.5 million for the development of a FireWise Program and forest thinning treatments to help protect homes in Rio Arriba County
- Secured $750K for work supporting the goals of resilient landscapes, fire adapted communities and a safe and effective wildfire response under the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy
- Raised $1 million from Albuquerque, New Mexico’s water utility for forest restoration efforts in Colorado’s Blanco and Navajo watersheds, where most of Albuquerque’s water supply originates
- Leveraged existing finances to secure $3.25 million in Regional Conservation Partnership Program funds from NRCS to implement on-the-ground conservation practices on private lands, with an emphasis on forest and watershed health. Like the 2-3-2, these funds are contingent upon diverse participation and the implementation of innovation solutions.
Work On The Ground: Early Achievements
Partners in the 2-3-2 share critical, on-the-ground resources for forest management and fire. To date, partners in the 2-3-2 have:
- Jointly treated over 10,000 acres through prescribed fire
- Promoted expanded use of prescribed fire on the landscape leading to additional prescribed burns and public acceptance
- Created and maintained critical networks for timber suppliers, wood processors, and their materials and markets. Partners support creative solutions to wood utilization and the promotion of local wood products
Promoting Coordinated Approaches To Forest Management
Diverse representation within the partnership promotes dialogue about shared impacts and opportunities on topics such as wildlife habitat and connectivity and the health of streams and aquatic species. These conversations include collective thinking about resources across boundaries on the landscape. Through shared management experiences, partners are better informed and able to consider and incorporate multiple values into treatments; work together to manage for forests that are resilient for the optimum number of values; identify appropriate treatment efforts to achieve agreed upon goals; and strategically apply these efforts across the landscape regardless of ownership. These relationships have already resulted in cooperative prescribed burns of more than 10,000 acres by representatives of three forests, BLM, Colorado Department of Fire Prevention and Control, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, local entities, multiple NGOs, and others.
Elevating Local Efforts
The 2-3-2 was launched with the recognition that existing local efforts in smaller geographies (e.g., Chama Peak Land Alliance, San Juan Headwaters Forest Health Partnership, and San-Juan Chama Partnership) work successfully across lines and develop innovative strategies for sharing resources and tools. But the 2-3-2 also recognized that when it comes to protecting forests and water resources, the scale of the impact had to be greater and extend across a much larger geography. Rather than creating something entirely new, the 2-3-2 embraces these existing collaborations and elevates their efforts through the broader partnership.
Establishing Critical Connections & Trust
Through quarterly in-person meetings (hosted at locations throughout the 2-3-2 geography), bi-monthly web meetings, and regular communication, the 2-3-2 has established a critical cross-boundary dialogue about resource management and developed networks for sharing resources, lessons learned, and tools for coordinating land management activities. Just one of many examples is set forth below.
“When Jeremy Marshall [District Ranger, Carson National Forest] told me that the Blanca Mill is putting on a second shift and maybe taking more outside wood, that made me think that it could serve as a close mill for our purchasers to be able to take the wood harvested off of the forest. This could reduce their costs and allow for them to bid on more of our sales as they might be able to increase their capacity having a mill so close by (as opposed to Montrose for example). I think that communication of important information such as this is one of the greatest values of the 2-3-2. Just by communicating, we are helping everyone find ways to work more effectively and efficiently, and in a way that makes sense for the landscape.”
Andrea Jones, District Ranger | Rio Grande National Forest, Conejos Peak District