SEEKING COLLABORATIVE COORDINATOR
Wildfire Adapted Partnership is seeking a Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest (DWRF) Collaborative Coordinator to manage the day-to-day operations of the collaborative including leading monthly stakeholder and coordinating team meetings, organizing events in the Dolores Watershed geography, applying for additional grant funding, and maintaining internal and external communications.
WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO
The Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest Collaborative is an inclusive local group that shares knowledge and resources to enhance ecological resilience and community disaster readiness in the upper Dolores River watershed of southwest Colorado.
Our participants work proactively to:
- Identify and implement tree-thinning and other practical fire-adaptive projects that safeguard lives, property, and resources.
- Promote adaptive management and monitoring.
- Reinvent and reinvigorate the local timber industry to offset the costs of watershed protection activities.
- Prepare for a catastrophic event through improved response and recovery plans, connections, and resources.
LIVING IN A WATERSHED
130 years ago, John Wesley Powell considered watersheds to be the ideal political unit. Powell’s vision for the West did not materialize then, but a new watershed-based movement uniting forest health, water security, and local communities is taking shape.
The Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest Collaborative (DWRF) works proactively to improve forest health and reduce fire risk within the 667,000 acre upper Dolores River watershed. The forest, shrub, riparian, and tundra communities that constitute this watershed supports the local forestry, agricultural, and recreation economy. The watershed supplies and filters municipal and irrigation water for over 10,000 individuals and the 350,000 acre-foot McPhee Reservoir helps feed the Colorado River and other downstream communities.
What is a “resilient forest”?
Resilience is an ecological and a social process. Resilient forests survive and thrive following periods of stress. They continue providing wildlife habitat, clean water, and other ecosystem services like wood products, recreational opportunities, and subsistence values. Our economies, livelihoods, and senses of place are directly linked to watershed health.
Yet, like so many places in the West, humans have significantly altered the upper Dolores River watershed. Previous management practices largely excluded fire from the landscape. Historic logging cleared large swaths of complex old growth forests. The dense stands of young trees that now dominate our ponderosa pine forests are increasingly susceptible to severe wildfire, beetle outbreaks, and drought stress.
Climate change is exacerbating the forest management legacy. The southwest is getting drier – a process many scientists are now calling aridification. Wildfire season is lengthening and fires are increasingly severe, costly, and dangerous. A major bark beetle outbreak within the watershed has been consistently growing over the past five years.
The Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest Collaborative envisions a watershed that adapts to environmental change and maintains ecological function, ecosystem services, and community values following disturbance. We envision a prepared and active community of residents, land managers, industry, and other groups that utilize holistic approaches to forest management and wildfire protection.