Mentoring and Capacity Building for Local Organizations
Lake George, CO- Coalitions and Collaboratives Inc. (COCO), has announced five recipients of their Action, Implementation, and Mitigation (AIM) award. In this pilot round of the program, a combined $160,000 will be awarded to five organizations, with the funding generously provided by the U.S. Forest Service.
The competitive awards are geared towards helping organizations increase the scale and pace of wildfire mitigation activities byenhancing their capacity in some way – either through the addition of personnel, the purchase of equipment, wildfire reduction planning efforts, or funding key wildfire-risk reduction project.
The recipients are:
Pinetop Fire Department, Pinetop, AZ, will increase their capacity for mitigation by reducing fuels around homes in the Pinetop/Showlow area to create defensible space, creating fuel breaks, starting a chipping program for their Firewise USA Communities, and conducting prescribed burning on previously thinned areas.
Dovetail Partners, Ely, Minnesota, will increase their capacity by working with two communities to develop mitigation action plans for their county's updated Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) and by funding their ongoing slash pick-up program.
Coalition for the Poudre, Ft. Collins, CO, will implement a hazardous fuels reduction effort that is designed to strategically increase watershed resilience by treating acres that are a high priority to protect water supplies and communities. The project consists of thinning fuels on two parcels of private land that facilitate and support cross-jurisdictional, landscape treatments, one of which is the area’s first private-public cross boundary prescribed fire, part of the Magic Feather Collaborative Forest Project.
West Region Wildfire Council, Montrose, CO will increase their capacity by hiring a part-time Program Assistant to run their chipping program and coordinate site visits in their high wildfire risk areas.
Huerfano County, COwill increase their capacity by starting a coalition, securing a Wildfire Mitigation Specialist position, and offering Home Ignition Zone training.
The AIM Partnership program is a new program for COCO and is a two-pronged program. “We are striving to run the AIM program differently,” said Jonathan Bruno, COCO’s Chief Operations Officer. “So many of the current grants available to these organizations focus just on acres treated (to reduce wildfire hazard), but there is often a need for more people or equipment to actually offer good risk-reduction programs or make those on-the-ground projects happen.”
The second prong of the AIM program, which separates it from other opportunities currently available, is its plan to provide guidance and mentorship, as needed. “COCO is connected to many wildfire mitigation professionals through the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network,” said Bruno. “Our hope is to connect recipients to some of these professionals through a mitigation mentorship program.” This mentorship will be available from project/program design throughout the life of the project.
COCO will be offering another round of AIM funding in mid-winter. More information on the AIM Partnership Program can be found at: https://co-co.org/programs/aim-partnership/.
About Coalitions and Collaboratives, Inc - COCO is a non-profit organization, formed to foster on-the-ground conservation efforts to protect and restore natural resources and local communities. COCO is committed to supporting collaborative conservation organizations to produce positive impacts through stakeholder-driven efforts.