Two Watersheds – Three Rivers – Two States ‐ ‐ Melissa’s Reflections

By Tim Reader and Melissa Simmons

Do you ever find yourself stumbling across information that really resonates with you and you wonder why you had never heard of this “new thing” earlier in life? Well, that just happened to me and I wanted to share it with you in case you connect with it in some way, too. That’s how collaboration lives and breathes, right?!

Hi, I’m Melissa and the Administrative Assistant with the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) in the Durango Field Office.(https://csfs.colostate.edu/durango ) I have the pleasure of working with some amazing foresters and hearing about great work being done, either with private landowners, state land, or on public lands when we partner with other agencies. I was invited to participate in a webinar in March for the “2-3-2 Cohesive Strategy Partnership” that stands for “Two Watersheds -Three Rivers – Two States.” 2 Watersheds = Rio Grande & San Juan 3 Rivers = San Juan, Chama, Rio Grande 2 States = Colorado, New Mexico

It is basically a large collaborative group made up of a bunch of smaller local collaborative groups and stakeholders from northern NM and southern CO, plus state and local government agencies, and non-profit organizations. Picture a “conglomerate rock” from a geology class! We’re talking about the USFS, NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service), CSFS, NM State Forestry, The Nature Conservancy, Mountain Studies

Institute, just to name a few! This group of about 30 people are working together to sync their land management efforts share information and to positively affect the future sustainability of this beautiful part of the country on a landscape scale. (see map) The collaborative program area is 5,127,217 acres, which is almost the size of the state of New Jersey!

It gives me hope. Hearing ideas and updates on various projects that will strive for healthy, vibrant forests and protect watersheds for generations to come gives me hope

that when many folks come together from various schools of thought, but with the same care for the outdoors at heart, we have a chance to leave this place better than we found it. But, it takes a team effort mentality. It also means you can’t be all things to all people, otherwise not as much gets done. So, they have various sub-committees with experts in each area to collaborate and utilize their networks to move the football. This is where I would normally insert a link to the 2-3-2 website so you could find out more, but you’ll just have to wait a little longer…the exciting news is that the first ever 2-3-2 website is scheduled to launch later in May or early June!

One of the many 2-3-2 subcommittees is called the “Biomass Utilization” subcommittee. This team will deploy tools recently developed by the US Forest Service (USFS) and Oregon Department of Forestry specifically for forest collaboratives to increase their outreach and assistance to the biomass using business community. So, you ask “what is biomass?” Biomass is Biomass is organic material made from plants and animals. Biomass contains stored energy from the sun. Some examples of biomass fuels are wood, crops, manure, and some garbage. Our focus is on wood biomass.

The 2‐3‐2 CBD Team will evaluate:

  • How can industry/business more effectively participate and contribute in the collaborative process
  • Can businesses & communities profit (in a real sense) and build capacity from the collaborative process
  • Is there an “Economy of Scale” to the 2-3-2 that will allow economies of scale to develop in our Biomass Business Community

Two of the contributors to this 2 -3-2 CBD subcommittee are Tim Reader, Utilization and Marketing Forester for the Colorado State Forest Service (https://csfs.colostate.edu/cowood/about) and Randy Johnson, President of the Mondo Business Group. Other members of this team not pictured include Bill Trimarco (Archuleta County Coordinator FireWise of Southwest Colorado), Laura McCarthy (The Nature Conservancy), Ellen Roberts (former Colorado State Senator), Aaron Kimple (Program Director at Mountain Studies Institute), Andra Thaden (undergraduate student who wrote this grant request), and me: Melissa Simmons (team member as of the writing of this blog and I work for the Colorado State Forest Service).

The 2-3-2 CBD subcommittee is grateful to have received a grant from the CCC to help further their efforts and is honored to be a Fellow amongst so many other outstanding global organizations.(//collaborativeconservation.org/program/fellows/cohort-9/tim-reader-randy-johnson-colorado/)

The next meeting will be held on May 23rd in Taos, NM. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for future blog posts with project updates!