What's New Archive
USDA Seeks Public Comments on Conservation Practice Standards (03/11/2019)
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today it is seeking public input on its existing national conservation practice standards as part of implementing the 2018 Farm Bill. NRCS offers 150-plus conservation practices to America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to help them meet their business and natural resource needs on their working lands. NRCS is requesting public comments on how to improve conservation practice standards that support programs. The comment period ends April 25, 2019. Learn More »
Garfield County Ag Expo (12/10/2018)
Bookcliff, Mount Sopris and South Side Conservation District have partnered with Garfield County CSU Extension to offer Ag Expo! Featuring a walk through of Western Colorado History provided by George Cutting! This event will offer exhibitors, speakers, kids corner, scholarship, lunch and much more! Children under eight are free! Many options to choose from for a great winter day!
Sat, February 2, 2019
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM MST
Garfield County Fairgrounds
1001 Railroad Avenue
Rifle, CO 81650
Click Here to Register
Free Rangeland Analysis Platform Webinar (08/30/2018)
Participate to learn about the Rangeland Analysis Platform (RAP) - a free, online tool that helps landowners and natural resource managers track vegetation through time and plan actions to improve America's grazing lands.
When: Sep 25, 2018 12:00 pm US/Eastern
Length: one hour
Pre-registration not required.
The Rangeland Analysis Platform (RAP) is a free, online tool that helps landowners and natural resource managers track vegetation through time and plan actions to improve America's grazing lands. The RAP can be used to provide strategies to improve productivity of grazing lands, manage weeds, mitigate impacts of wildfire and drought, and benefit wildlife habitats. Learn more abouth the tool here.
This webinar is presented by USDA NRCS Science and Technology. Contact Candy Thomas, Science & Technology Training Library content manager, for more information about this webinar.
Application Deadline Approaching for Conservation Easement Funding in Colorado (01/09/2018)
The deadline for the FY2018 Agricultural Conservation Easement Program-Agricultural Land Easement (ACEP-ALE) with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is quickly approaching. The conservation tool helps landowners and partners engage in long-term protection of Colorado's farmland, ranchlands and grasslands. The application deadline for ACEP-ALE is Jan. 31, 2018. Learn more here.
Big boost for smaller farmers planned in Roaring Fork Valley in 2018 (01/08/2018)
Small farms and ranches got a big boost from the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails program in 2017 and even bigger things are planned this year. Read on here.
Farming Evolution 2018 (12/27/2017)
Make plans now to join farmers and ranchers at the 2018 Farming Evolution event. The Farming Evolution will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, February 13 & 14, 2018, at the Phillips County Event Center in Holyoke, CO. If you farm or graze cropland you will want to plan to be there. Bring your questions about no-till, cover crops and grazing livestock on cropland. Learn more and register here.
Eagle Valley Land Trust: A look back at our land, and efforts to protect it, in 2017 (12/21/2017)
Among other projects, Eagle Valley Land Trust, in partnership with Eagle County and our generous landowners, protected forever more than 3500 acres, expanded recreational access to protected lands, and won the National Land Trust Alliance's "Land is My..." video contest. Learn more here.
Colorado West Land Trust: A collaborative effort to better serve the region (11/10/2017)
With the goal of increasing the pace, quality and permanence of conservation in western Colorado, Mesa Land Trust and Montrose-based Black Canyon Regional Land Trust are entering into an innovative partnership, the Colorado West Land Trust, to better serve the region. Learn more here.
Study: Conservation easements benefit state (07/27/2017)
Despite some operational issues, the state’s conservation easement program has helped preserve millions of acres and provided billions of dollars in tax credits to Colorado residents, according to a new study.
The study, performed by researchers and professors at Colorado State University, was done to help state lawmakers understand the benefits the state has seen through its Conservation Easement Tax Credit Program, including matching grants provided by Great Outdoors Colorado, to protect land from future development.
“The taxpayers’ foregone revenues have been well spent, despite some of the concerns ... about the program,” CSU agricultural economics professor Andrew Seidl told the Legislative Audit Committee on Tuesday. “Given the supply and demand conditions, that is, we are not making any more land, the future returns are likely to increase. Coloradans benefit from open space. Investments are generating substantial public benefits currently, and it’s quite likely they will continue to do so into the future with continued investment.”
The audit committee has been trying to track how well the tax credit program is working, and to see if it is complying with recent recommendations issued last winter, most of which had to do with the Division of Real Estate’s ability to administer changes to the program that the committee had the Colorado Legislature approve in 2014.
According to the study, in the 22 years the conservation easement program has been in effect — it allows landowners to get tax credits for preserving their land from development — 2.1 million acres have been set aside.
That breaks down to about 300,000 acres of farmland, 270,000 acres of elk severe winter rangeland, 4,100 miles of protected stream, creek or river frontage, and 19 percent of the Gunnison sage-grouse protection areas, according to the study.
Last December, the committee heard an audit of how its changes to the program were faring, which included a recommendation to increase fees for applicants who apply for the credits to ensure the program has enough money to pay for itself.
Auditors who completed that audit said they found it difficult to determine the overall benefits of the easement programs, which is what prompted CSU to do its study.
On Tuesday, the committee heard an update to those recommendations. Since that audit, the program has caught up on a backlog of applications, and did increase its fees.
Marsha Waters, director of the Division of Real Estate that oversees the program, said one recommendation would require legislative approval. That was to share certain information with the Colorado Ownership, Management and Protection Map, the most comprehensive map of protected lands in the state.
“I don’t want there to be a perception that conservation easements equal non-productive land,” said Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, and a member of the audit committee. “There is a little bit of a misconception that a conservation easement means we just protect open space and it’s just pretty trees. For example, conservation easements in my district represent 20 percent of the active agriculture in a single county.”
Summit County Safe Passages for Wildlife Community Open House (07/17/2017)
Join us to learn about efforts in Summit County to protect safe passages for wildlife:
- Learn how the Forest Service, CDOT, the county, and towns are working together with local stakeholders from across the community to restore important connections for wildlife movement.
- Become engaged in our efforts to construct wildlife crossings and protect habitat so that healthy wildlife populations can continue to thrive.
When: Wednesday, July 26. Please come anytime from 5:30-8:00 pm. There will be a brief presentation at 6:00 pm.
Where: Elevate coSpace, 711 Granite St, Frisco, CO 80443, 970-368-6139. Visit website.
2017 WLA Policy & Stewardship Tour Series (06/14/2017)
Please join the Western Landowners Alliance at: (1) Colorado State Forest, near Walden, CO on Thursday, June 22. Tour focus will be on high-altitude forest management, including stops at various treatment and harvest sites. (2) Moore Land & Cattle Company Ranch, near Springer, NM on Thursday, July 13. This tour will focus on controlled burning for juniper management, riparian and stream habitat restoration, rangeland management, and more. Both tours provide exceptional examples of skilled land management that benefits wildlife, the bottom line, and the local economy. For details and to register, contact Virginie@westernlandowners.org.
Sen. Michael Bennet to host Farm Bill listening sessions (03/15/2017)
Beginning Monday, March 20, Sen. Bennet, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, will hold listening sessions across Colorado about the 2018 Farm Bill. Learn more and register here.
First Trample Ranch Parcel Transaction Completed (02/23/2017)
The first conclusive step in a long process to conserve 6,000 acres of prime ranchland in Gunnison County became a reality with the completion of the 1,447-acre Trampe Home Ranch conservation easement (CE), on Friday, February 17. Read more here.
NRCS Accepting Applications to Assist Farmers and Ranchers Address Colorado’s Natural Resource Concerns (02/14/2017)
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Colorado is currently accepting applications for enrollment into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP is a voluntary Farm Bill program that provides financial assistance for conservation systems such as animal waste management facilities, irrigation system efficiency improvements, fencing, water supply development, riparian protection, and wildlife habitat enhancement. Applications must be submitted by Friday, February 17, 2017.
Routt County'd ranch preservation program closes in on 50,000 acres conserved (02/08/2017)
Steamboat Springs — Routt County’s tradition of leveraging dedicated tax dollars to conserve working agricultural landscapes was nearing a landmark as 2017 began, and with the closing of another five pending conservation easements this year, the county’s Purchase of Development Rights program will have surpassed 50,000 acres conserved.
Read the article.
Cattleman's Agricultural Land Trust Closes Two Projects (01/05/2017)
The Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust has been a pioneer since its inception in 1995 and has helped conserve more than 465,000 acres of Colorado land. Recently, the staff closed extraordinary projects with two multi-generational Colorado families, the Mays and the MacLennans, which combined will conserve over 18 thousand acres. Read the article.
Arkansas Darter on Its Way Back (12/22/2016)
The Arkansas darter, a two-and-a-half inch native perch found throughout Southeastern Colorado, Kansas and a few other states, is no longer on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife threatened species list. Learn more here.
NRCS to Expand Targeted Conservation Effort for Wildlife on Agricultural Lands (12/02/2016)
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is adding 11 new projects to Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW), the agency’s targeted, science-based effort to help producers restore and protect habitat for declining species on farms, ranches and working forests.
Coberly Creek Ranch conservation emblematic of the 1880s in South Routt County (11/16/2016)
Steamboat Springs — The final piece of the conservation of the sprawling Coberly Creek Ranch in South Routt County was approved by the Routt County Board of Commissioners Nov. 8, and the 400-acre Trapper Jack parcel alludes to an obscure piece of local history. Click here to read the article.
The Energy Blend: Moffat County ranchers tap the sun to deliver water to animals (11/07/2016)
Solar-powered water systems let livestock drink more easily and take pressure off ponds and streams. Read the article.
Jewell, Hickenlooper nurture “epic collaboration” in $760M western push to save endangered sage grouse (09/22/2016)
The federal government and non-profit partners plan to spend another $360 million to spur states, landowners and developers to save the imperiled greater sage grouse across a Texas-sized area of sagebrush steppe spanning 11 Western states.
Read the full article here.
USDA Awards Funds to Expand, Accelerate Wood Energy Products Markets in 19 States (05/16/2016)
May 13, 2016 - The USDA's Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell today announced over $8.5 million to expand and accelerate technologies that promote wood product innovations that also benefit forest health. Read the news release here.