Community Ag Alliance: Partnership a new resource for producers
November 16, 2017
Although Trout Unlimited (TU) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) differ in some respects, the non-profit and federal agency share some important, fundamental goals.
The mission of NRCS is to provide resources to landowners and agricultural producers to help them with conservation. Trout Unlimited often meets its mission of conserving coldwater fisheries by partnering with landowners and agricultural producers.
Common denominators between TU and NRCS have led to some effective collaboration in northwest Colorado. For example, in the last six years, the two groups have partnered with ranchers and one another on several stream restoration and irrigation infrastructure improvement projects.
The most recent—and likely the most significant—local partnership between the two groups reached fruition this fall.
In September, TU and NRCS hired Kaitlyn Vaux as a new Project Coordinator in northwest Colorado. Funded jointly by TU and NRCS, Vaux will work with private landowners and agricultural producers throughout the Yampa River and White River basins to plan and implement projects that conserve and restore aquatic resources. Aquatic resources will include everything from irrigation water and streams to the fishes therein.
Vaux brings to the job both expertise in conservation ecology and experience working with agricultural producers. And while new to northwest Colorado, Vaux is not new to partnership projects.
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"Whether you're working in West Africa or northwest Colorado, the keys to a successful conservation project are similar,"said Vaux. "First and foremost, it's important to understand the stakeholders and their concerns, values and motivations. Projects should be beneficial and rewarding for all parties involved."
Vaux has already begun to visit with landowners and producers to learn how local water supports crop production, healthy fish habitat and recreation, among other values.
Said Vaux, "Water does so much in northwest Colorado. A good conservation project will improve resources for multiple stakeholders and multiple water values. I am very excited to join TU and NRCS, to get to know the people and landscape of this region, and to assist private landowners with their plans and projects."
Those interested in conserving and restoring aquatic resources are invited to contact Vaux at email@example.com.
Brian Hodge is Trout Unlimited's Northwest Colorado Director.