Policy

Senate Bill 17-050

 

A letter from FACO-

CONCERNING THE CONSOLIDATION OF GRANT PROGRAMS RELATING

TO FOREST MANAGEMENT.

Link to SB17-050

Dear Senator Cooke,

Please find recommended changes to the language of SB 17-050. These comments and recommendations have been provided by a diverse group of stakeholders that represent statewide fire, forest health and water utilities organizations. These comments are intended to provide broader stakeholder feedback to the proposed bill as required in the development of the proposed language. These recommended changes provide for a more robust and inclusive proposal and represent individual organizations’ collective voice from across the state of Colorado. We are in full support of this proposed Bill with the following changes.
Initial Comments submitted by Megan Davis, Boulder County Commissioners’ Office – 1/17/2017

Additional Comments submitted by signatories Identified Below. 1/23/2017

  

  • 2, line 12, insert after, “EFFORTS TO REDUCE RISK TO PEOPLE AND PROPERTY, “add” “ENSURE FOR FIRE FIGHTER SAFETY”

 

  1. 2, line 15, insert after “PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY ”add“, RECREATION”.

 3, lines 7 – 11 and 18 – 20 are confusing. Should the funding referred to in this section actually be unencumbered HFVC funding?

 

  • 5, line 7. We have concerns regarding the statement that               “DAMAGING WILDFIRES OCCUR REGULARLY IN COLORADO DUE IN PART TO INADEQUATE EFFORTS”.
    • In reality significant work has been completed in Colorado; however “INADEQUATE STATE FUNDING HAS LIMITED RISK REDUCTION EFFORTS”  

 

  • P. 5, line 9. Insert:

III) Colorado has experienced a significant increase in damaging wildfires that have destroyed homes, property and other ESSENTIAL community INFRASTRUCTURE;

  • 5, line 18. Insert (and renumber)

III) INCREASING OUR EFFORTS TO REDUCE WILDFIRE RISKS BY SUPPORTING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF RISK MITIGATION TREATMENTS THAT FOCUS ON PROTECTING LIVES, HOMES AND ESSENTIAL COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE TO IMPROVE COMMUNITY RESILIENCE AND REDUCE THE FINANCIAL COSTS OF WILDFIRE IN COLORADO;

  • 7, line 3. Insert after “ENHANCE THE ABILITY OF EMERGENCY PERSONNEL TO” add “SAFELY” INFLUENCE THE SPREAD OF WILDFIRE…”
  • 8, line 5. Insert after GENERATED “HOW THE PROJECT HAS REDUCED THE RISK TO HOMES, PROPERTY AND OTHER ESSENTIAL COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE, INCREASED FIRE FIGHTER SAFETY, AND ANY OTHER MEASURES FOR ASSESSING AND EVALUATING THE PROJECT;”

(alternative language: p. 8, line 1, after “on” add “AT A MINIMUM”)

 

P.8, line 22 – P. 9, line 26 – We recommend that the Forest Health Advisory Council as created by HB16-1255 act in this role. The diversity of participants within the Forest Health Advisory Council includes members represented within SB17-050 and adds other valuable interests including representation from: “Wildlife Organization, Public Utility, Ranch Owner, Fire Chief, Insurance Company, Irrigation water supplier, economic development, motorized & non-motorized recreation. Currently, within the proposed language of SB17-050 these valuable interests are not included.

  • 10, lines 9 and 10. Strike “MOVING FROM RISK REDUCTION TO”
  • 10, line 12 insert after “PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY ”add “RECREATION”
  • 10, lines 8 – 13. This seems like the wrong section of statute to include here (this language is from 23-31-313 (6)(a), instead should be from (5)). This language is in conflict with the language in WRRG, and in other parts of this bill. This section should be replaced with, or at least include language from both sections, and striking language in “Community watershed restoration” that states “MOVING FROM RISK REDUCTION TO…”

(5) Community wildfire risk mitigation. To help communities address the urgent need to reduce wildfire risks by supporting implementation of risk mitigation treatments that focus on protecting lives, homes, and essential community infrastructure, and by improving inventory and monitoring of forest conditions, the forest service shall:

  • 10, line 20, strike “IMPLEMENT COLORADO’S GOOD NEIGHBOR AUTHORITY” – Shouldn’t be included, WRRG was authorized by the GA to NOT be spent on federal lands.
    • In our experience only limited GNA projects are underway – this would severely limit potential project inclusion due to the current conditions.
  • 10, line 20, insert after “SUBSTANTIALLY LEVERAGE ADDITIONAL FINANCIAL RESOURCES” add “AND OCCUR ADJACENT TO OR IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO OTHER COMPLETED OR PLANNED PROJECTS ON FEDERAL, STATE AND PRIVATE LANDS”
  • 13, line 12, insert after Item V and renumber “HOW THE PROJECT HAS REDUCED THE RISK TO HOMES, PROPERTY AND OTHER ESSENTIAL COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE, INCREASED FIRE FIGHTER SAFETY, AND ANY OTHER MEASURES FOR ASSESSING AND EVALUATING THE PROJECT“

As representatives from across Colorado we feel that these changes will create a more robust and inclusive Bill that will increase effectiveness of our individual and collective programs. In addition to the above recommendations we all feel that a detailed review should be completed that identifies how State funding for these efforts within Colorado compares to other western states. It is our belief that the State of Colorado must increase their participation in funding wildfire risk mitigation projects within the State, whereas the majority of our organizations’ funding comes from Federal resources.

Respectfully submitted,

Pam Wilson, Chair, Fire Adapted Colorado

Executive Director, Fire Wise of Southwest Colorado

swcoloradofirewise@gmail.com

Jonathan Bruno, Vice Chair, Fire Adapted Colorado

Chief Operations Officer, Coalitions and Collaboratives, Inc,

Chief Operations Officer, Coalition for the Upper South Platte,

jonathan@CUSP.Ws

Schelly K. Olson, Assistant Chief, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist, Grand County Fire Protection District No.1

solson@grandfire.org

Eric Howell, Forest Program Manager, Colorado Springs Utilities,

ehowell@csu.org

Lilia Falk, Director, West Region Wildfire Coalition

wrwc.lilia@gmail.com

Eric Lovgren, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist, Eagle County Community Development

eric.lovgren@eaglecounty.us

Randal R Johnson, Larkspur Fire Protection District

rjohnson@larkspurfire.org

Categories: Policy

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