Community Agriculture Alliance: Adapting for tomorrow, building soil health for a resilient future |

Community Agriculture Alliance: Adapting for tomorrow, building soil health for a resilient future

Kristen Rockford
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

If you’re an agricultural producer or landowner in Routt County, do you wonder if there are effective, practical, and affordable climate smart solutions that can help you adapt for tomorrow and build a resilient future?

Yes, there are and the Routt County Conservation District is here to help you.

For the past 80 years, the Routt County Conservation District has worked hand-in-hand with the hard working families of agricultural lands and private landowners to conserve and protect the bountiful natural resources of Routt County including the soil, water, air, and wildlife.

The district is a political subdivision of the state of Colorado with authority, under the law, to carry out voluntary conservation programs, provide technical and financial assistance, and utilize local, state, federal, and private sector resources to solve today’s conservation challenges. We work closely with over 20 like-minded nonprofits and other organizations such as the Community Agriculture Alliance, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, and the Routt County Weed Advisory Board.

Our constituency of agricultural producers and landowners is facing significant challenges in adapting to changing conditions, extreme weather events, and unpredictable water supply. The district is compelled to further assist our constituency by helping them build drought, wildfire, and soil health resiliency through natural adaptations to change.

As such, the district is launching an educational program with the help of a grant from the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District to create a Routt County Landowners Toolkit for Drought, Wildfire & Soil Health Resiliency. The Toolkit will be designed specifically to our area and will provide effective, practical, and affordable climate smart solutions for building resiliency.

We are hosting regional listening sessions that are informal opportunties to meet the district manager, board members, and tell us about your conservation needs, concerns, and vulnerabilities. Food and beverages provided:

  • Steamboat at Rex’s — 5-7:30 p.m. Dec. 1
  • Hayden at Embers Wood Fired Pizza (Granary) — 5-7:30 p.m. Dec. 7
  • South Routt at Franciosi Brothers – 5-7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 

All Routt County agricultural producers and landowners are welcome to stop by anytime between 5 and 7:30 p.m.  If you are not able to attend, we encourage you to visit our website and complete a brief questionnaire at

The Toolkit will be developed in three steps with the first step being a Vulnerability Assessment.  Additional input is provided by our conservation partners including the Natural Resources Conservation Service, CSU Extension, and the Routt County Wildfire Mitigation Council, to name a few. The final Toolkit will be made into an ArcGIS StoryMap. Additional outreach and education will occur with three field days that demonstrate the recommended practices listed in the Toolkit.

The overarching goal of the Toolkit is to increase knowledge and implementation of tried and true conservation practices that not only build resiliency but subsequently improve wildlife habitat, water supply, water quality, air quality, and the overall health of our community.

Kristen Rockford is the District Manager for the Routt County Conservation District, has 10 years of experience working for the NRCS, and holds a degree in Soil Science-Agroecosystem Management from the University of Idaho.  She can be reached at

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