Colorado Governor Jared Polis and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) signed a Shared Stewardship Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the state capitol. This agreement establishes a framework for federal and state agencies to collaborate better, focus on accomplishing mutual goals, and respond to ecological, natural resource, and recreational challenges and concerns for our 24 million acres of forest lands in Colorado.
"This agreement reflects my administration's commitment to protecting natural resources and increasing access for all Coloradans to our public lands," said Polis. "Our partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service recognizes the need for our state, the federal government and private landowners to work together for the mutual benefit of Colorado's ecosystems, forest health, and local communities. Together, we can work to protect and preserve the places we all love."
Under the agreement, the State of Colorado and USDA Forest Service will focus on priority, landscape-scale forest and grassland restoration activities that protect at-risk communities and watersheds across all lands.
"We recognize that Colorado's natural resources are threatened, and the challenges before us require a shared approach," said Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Jim Hubbard. "Shared Stewardship is about setting cross-boundary priorities together to achieve landscape-scale outcomes. The Shared Stewardship Agreement reinvigorates a long-standing partnership between the USDA Forest Service and the State of Colorado."
Prior to his role with USDA, Hubbard served as Colorado State Forester for twenty years.
"This Shared Steward agreement signed today is incredibly important for the Department of Natural Resources and Coloradans who cherish our open spaces, rivers, lakes and forests," said Dan Gibbs, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR). "This agreement embodies Coloradans values towards our forests and lands by promoting healthy forests, protecting our water and wildlife, and enhancing public access for all, and will establish closer coordination and cooperation with our federal partners."
Polis was also joined by Mike Lester, Colorado State Forester, Carlos Fernandez of The Nature Conservancy, Representatives from Environmental Learning for Kids, Rep. Jeni Arndt (D-Fort Collins), Sen. Don Coram (R-Montrose), representatives from Colorado's federal delegation, Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl.
"Building on our established partnerships, this agreement sets the foundation for future collaboration with all partners to best honor our shared values with the State of Colorado and its citizens," said Brian Ferebee, Regional Forester for the Rocky Mountain Region of the USDA Forest Service. "The goal is to collectively identify land management priorities and to work together and across boundaries in our restoration work to achieve broader success."
The MOU was signed by Colorado Governor Jared Polis and USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Jim Hubbard.
Read the MOU here.