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Bridging the Gap Conference

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The "Bridging the Gap: Collaborative Conservation from the Ground Up" conference was held September 8-11, 2009 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. It was sponsored by the Center for Collaborative Conservation. The conference focused on the power of pooling resources for effective conservation. This digital collection includes print and video presentations given at the conference.


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Now showing 1 - 19 of 19
  • ItemOpen Access
    Building the foundation for successful collaboration and partnerships - "Hey .... you're not so bad pardner!"
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Rogers, Rox, author
    Presentation discusses the partnership between Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Mountain-Prairie Region and private landowners and the Partner's program cornerstones for a successful partnership. Based upon the Partner's program the presenter discusses how to develop a successful collaboration.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Thomas Farm Project: how a city jumps into agriculture and gets its feet not only wet but muddy!
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Moline, Jeff, author
  • ItemOpen Access
    Threats to western private forests strategic initiative: a collaborative process addressing threats to the health and sustainability of private forests in the western U.S.
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Coelho, Dana, author
    The business of managing private forestland is changing. Globalization of markets, broad economic forces, government regulations and ecological stresses (such as fire and climate change) have completely altered the operating environment for forest landowners seeking to manage their land. Large multinational timber companies are able to achieve the financial efficiencies to deal with global-scale market forces, but smaller operators have few tools to help them adjust to the increasing complexity. A new business model within a new policy framework is needed to address the needs of private forest landowners, as well as those of the local, state and federal agencies and environmental organizations who offer financial and technical assistance. In the interest of helping members of the forestry community "retool" to allow them to continue managing their forests without relying solely on traditional timber harvest models, the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition (WFLC) convened a series of stakeholder workshops to identify the threats to private forests and forestry. In short, why and how are the ecological and social benefits, and the economic viability of western private forests at risk? Five workshops were held in different regions around the West, which brought together representatives from state forestry and wildlife agencies, Tribes, local government, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, industry, academia, conservation organizations and, most importantly, private forest landowners. Additional listening sessions were held with foresters from the U.S. affiliated Pacific Islands. The workshops generated a large body of ideas with regard to both threats and creative remedies. Workshop participants agreed on the need to emphasize the scarcity and value of private forest lands. Private forests often provide ecological strongholds, significant islands of biodiversity and wildlife corridors. Their value as recreational areas or access points to public recreation sites is huge. Yet, private forests make up a small percentage of the overall western landscape and can be overlooked despite their importance. From here, a drafting group will build upon the workshop results to create a report published by the WFLC and endorsed by workshop participants. The report, along with policy briefs developed by participants and partners, will be distributed to key policy makers at all levels of government to facilitate appropriate recommendations to address barriers to maintaining private working forests. Congressional testimony, memos to agency leadership and resolutions made at the state and local levels will carry the messages towards implementation on the ground. Change may be inevitable for many working forests, but their continued management offers the flexibility to adapt to change in ways that unmanaged and converted lands clearly do not. In the end, this flexibility will help private forest landowners continue to provide the many ecological, economic and social benefits expected by their local and global neighbors – including a buffer against potential climate change. Just as working lands offer resilience through flexibility, the forestry community has to be flexible in adapting to a new business model that will make healthy forest management possible and financially sustainable.
  • ItemOpen Access
    New beginnings in collaborative conservation
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Warner, Ed, author
    Collaborative conservation requires a great deal of work in order to succeed. Innovations such as inclusiveness of participation, use of market-based incentives, landscape or even eco-region scale of projects, protection of property rights and negotiation instead of litigation lead to testable outcomes. The development of new tools such as ecosystem services, the use of cost/risk analysis and long-term monitoring—all developed within an adaptive management approach—give us a chance to get the available funds working for us on the ground.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Ecosystem services: a way to bridge the gap
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Collins, Sally D., speaker
    The conservation challenges of today call for fresh, innovative thinking and a renewed commitment to collaboration. In this spirit, the USDA Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets is working to catalyze the development of ecosystem markets that can unlock new opportunities for land conservation and community well-being. Sally Collins will discuss the state of emerging markets, the vision of the new office, and how knowledge networks, collaborative learning, and shared leadership will drive success.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Collaborative conservation in local landscapes
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Christoffersen, Nils, author
    Collaborative conservation at the local level continues to struggle, but it holds more promise than other strategies in securing relevant social, economic and ecological benefits. To deliver on this promise, community-based conservation needs investment in local leadership and organizations, new relationships at the regional and national level, and policies that catalyze small-scale, decentralized action on a broad scale towards sustainability. Such investments and support will only be possible if more people understand the nature and potential of this strategy. The ultimate goal is true grass-roots action by individuals and communities to secure the health of their own communities and lands, and, in aggregate, significant national benefits for a generation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Blackfoot Challenge: better communities through cooperation
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Duvall, Ali, author; Stone, Jim, author
    Since 1993, the landowner-based watershed group the Blackfoot Challenge has been working with public and private partners to coordinate efforts to conserve and enhance the natural resources and rural way of life in the Blackfoot watershed of western Montana. Three phrases guide the Blackfoot Challenge – communication, cooperation and common ground. Through focusing on the 80% that folks can agree on, and not the 20% that divides, this group manages to build trust and relationships to keep working landscapes intact, conserve water to benefit agriculture, fisheries, water quality and habitat, maintain forest health, manage noxious weeds across fence lines, reduce human-wildlife conflicts, and connect classrooms and communities through place-based education. For more information, please see
  • ItemOpen Access
    Transitioning farm bill programs to a payment for ecosystem services approach
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Heimlich, Ralph E., author; Toombs, Ted, author
    Farm bill programs currently provide a "pseudo-market" for conservation where a contract between the public and the government (the farm bill) is intermediated by the USDA. In this pseudo market, the USDA provides payments for management practices, which can lead to ecosystem service benefits. But, it does not currently pay directly for the ecosystem service benefits themselves. The goal of this presentation is to highlight considerations for USDA and private landowners (ranchers in particular) if USDA were to transition to a PES approach. I contrast the current system with a PES, and illustrate that significant differences might emerge in the size and character of the "markets" under each scenario. Many difficult questions would need to be addressed to determine how the profitability of a ranch would potentially be affected by a switch to a PES approach.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Ranchers Stewardship Alliance: partnering for vibrant prairie communities
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Veseth, Dale, author
    The Ranchers Stewardship Alliance (RSA) is dedicated to educating the community on enhancing our natural resources. One of the major objectives is to train and keep multigenerational ranch families on the land as conservation stewards. These working landscapes will enhance wildlife and resource needs at the lowest cost of any other conservation model. RSA hopes to contribute to vibrant and diverse local communities across the rural landscape.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Collaborative process tools: a variety of elements to build collaborative capacity
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Thompson, Jessica Leigh, author
  • ItemOpen Access
    Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory: conserving birds and their habitats
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Quattrini, Laura, author
    The mission of the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory (RMBO) is to conserve birds and their habitats of the Rocky Mountains, Great Plains, and Intermountain West. We accomplish our mission through science, education and stewardship. RMBO's science provides the knowledge to drive conservation action. Our Education Program instills a conservation ethic and uses birds as a tool to engage youth and adults in the outdoors. Our stewardship works with agricultural producers to increase awareness of wildlife and implements on-the-ground conservation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Collaborative conservation in action: a real-time Colorado case study
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Erdmann, Dieter, author; Palmer, Carl, author
    Colorado Open Lands, Park County, and Beartooth Capital (a private investment fund) have been collaborating to conserve and restore top priority conservation properties in South Park for the past several years, building on the more than 10-year track record of partnership between Park County and Colorado Open Lands. Beartooth Capital is a private investment fund dedicated to making investments that conserve important ranches while generating returns for investors, and its involvement is enabling the partnership to extend its reach and achieve conservation goals that had been thought out of reach. In this session, Dieter Erdmann, Director of Conservation Operations for Colorado Open Lands, and Carl Palmer, co-founder of Beartooth Capital, will introduce their organizations and each party's role in the partnership, exploring the details, strengths and challenges to this kind of innovative approach to landscape-scale conservation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Online data management and training for collaborative conservation
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Newman, Greg, author
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program: a continuing collaborative success story
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Kantola, Angela, author
    The Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program is a long-term partnership working to recover four endangered fish species in the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB) while water use and development continue to meet human needs. The UCRB watershed drains nearly 110,000 square miles and contains more than 800 river miles of critical habitat for the endangered humpback chub, bonytail, Colorado pikeminnow, and razorback sucker. These large, long-lived, warm-water fishes are endemic to the Colorado River Basin where they are believed to have thrived for 3 – 5 million years. The fish are endangered due to human-induced changes to their habitat, including dams, water depletion and introduction of more than 70 non-native fish species. In 1988, public and private organizations established a landmark program to recover the endangered fishes in the UCRB while water use and development proceed in compliance with state water law, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and interstate water compacts. Recovery Program partners include state and federal agencies, environmental groups, and water and power users. Actions taken by the Recovery Program are reviewed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine whether the Recovery Program provides ESA compliance for water depletion activities. To date nearly 1,700 existing and new water projects depleting almost 2.4 million acre-feet per year have received ESA compliance under the Recovery Program. The Recovery Program's goal goes beyond offsetting water depletions to fully restore naturally-self-sustaining populations of the endangered fishes and to protect the habitat they depend upon in the UCRB. Recovery actions implemented by this collaborative partnership far exceed the ability of any one partner to act independently. Tangible, on-the-ground success has been realized in enhancing in-stream flows, restoring habitat, constructing and operating fish ladders and screens, managing detrimental nonnative fishes, propagating and stocking endangered fish, and monitoring results. The Recovery Program's landscape-level approach to conservation is a continuing collaborative success story demonstrating that public/private partnerships can work to recover endangered species and resolve ESA-related conflicts. Through collaboration and adaptive management, the Recovery Program has made significant strides toward recovery of endangered species—the ultimate goal of the ESA.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Why it's important and how resilience thinking can help us get it done
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Jones, Mike, author
  • ItemOpen Access
    Water is for fighting?!?
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Jolene, Catron, author
    Wind River Alliance is a cross-cultural, community-based organization dedicated to the health and protection of the Wind River Watershed. Wind River Alliance was formed in the fall of 2001 by concerned community members to address the threats and challenges facing the Wind River Watershed. The presentation will describe ongoing projects in the Wind River Watershed which includes the Wind River Reservation, the only reservation in Wyoming.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Visualizing collaborative conservation: a picture is really worth a thousand words!
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Bentrup, Gary, author
    One of the main challenges facing collaborative conservation efforts is the need to clearly communicate land management alternatives with diverse stakeholders and to engage all participants in shaping these alternatives into a mutually agreeable plan of action. Despite the use of GIS maps, management plans, and engineering drawings, many stakeholders still have difficulty in conceptualizing what a proposed conservation action will actually look like on the landscape. This lack of understanding often creates impassable barriers in the collaborative planning process and is exacerbated by the long-term commitment that many conservation actions require from stakeholders. Stakeholders often lament if they could only see a picture of the proposed action to aid in their decision making. Collaborative initiatives now have a tool to translate these plans into real-life pictures or images called visual simulations. Visual simulations are digital images which have been altered to illustrate conservation alternatives. Using image-editing software and a digital image of the project area, photo-realistic conservation alternatives can be "created" through the addition or removal of vegetation and other landscape objects. In a relatively short time, conservation alternatives addressing invasive species, forest health, riparian restoration, and other issues can be illustrated at various stages of development, compositions, and arrangements on the landscape. The USDA National Agroforestry Center has developed the CanVis Visual Simulation Kit consisting of CanVis, an image-editing software program designed specifically for conservation applications, and the Visual Simulation Guide, a multi-media reference manual on how to create simulations for natural resource planning. This free tool enables resource professionals to readily show how science is translated into management practices and alternatives on the ground and helps reduce any socio-economic or language barriers, a particularly valuable attribute in today's diverse and sometimes contentious planning environment. Visual simulations promote sustainability by communicating ideas clearly, by inviting feedback on the alternatives, and by instilling a sense of shared ownership in the conservation system so that it is supported and maintained for long run.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Lessons learned in NWCOS: success and consensus in collaboration process
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Casterson, Jeremy, author
    The Northwest Colorado Stewardship (NWCOS) is an inactive collaborative group based out of Craig, Colorado and comprised of a wide variety of stakeholder participants. NWCOS dealt with a wide range of issues and core points of conflict included oil and gas development, wilderness designation proposals, grazing and wildlife habitat. NWCOS was unable to achieve its primary goal of crafting a consensus community alternative to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Resource Management Plan for the Little Snake Resource area. Despite its failure at reaching this goal, NWCOS had many other successes such as decisions about protocols, improved relationships and communication. NWCOS was broad in scope and stakeholdership, and participants feel both frustration as well as benefits from the process of engaging in the collaboration. We will use this session to explore the major lessons learned for NWCOS and how they might be applicable to other similar collaborative efforts. Lessons learned from a federal agency will be shared as well as perspectives from both a research and agency standpoint.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Collaborative conservation: the Washington County Growth and Conservation Act 2009
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2009) Hoza, David M., author