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President’s Beat

Messages from the President of Rocky Mountain Flycasters.

June 27, 2012

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope this finds everyone well and somehow managing to stay cool. I would like to bring everyone up to speed as to recent events. I do want to apologize for not having everyone in the loop regarding conversations centered around the High Park fire but as you can well imagine, it has been a quick turn of events and one that now presents us with an opportunity and more than that, a responsibility, that I believe we must not pass on.

As you can imagine, and even with the High Park fire nowhere near it’s end, a tremendous challenge to the Poudre watershed and to a lesser degree the Big T watershed has been created. “we, Rocky Mountain Flycasters, need to step forward.”We all are, or should be, aware in part from other fires of the challenges that the basins face over the next decade and more. We need not look any further than the Hayman Fire which has been a living laboratory as to how watersheds recover after a devastating fire. Now it is our turn. We all have our own emotional ties to our home river and I know each and every one of us would love nothing more than to get right out there and do something. Unfortunately, that is not how the system works nor should it be. As I write this, a USFS Burn Area Emergency Rehabilitation (BAER) team is probably beginning a rapid assessment in order to prescribe erosion control measures for immediate deployment. This is typically a closed process and not open to public review and assistance. What happens after the initial BAER actions is where we, Rocky Mountain Flycasters, need to step forward. To that end some initial steps have been taken and I would like to explain to you tonight what I believe is a prudent course of action and some of the small steps that have been taken toward that end.

Following conventional process, once the BAER team has completed its work that is pretty much it for the short term. Eventually there will be a restoration plan but the entire affected community will need to step forward to see that plan put into action. Everyone will want to do something but imagine dozens if not hundreds of small interest groups all running around trying to do a little something here and a little something there. It will get out of hand quickly and end up wasting time and money with no real realized outcome. A lack of cohesion can also then allow for political processes to get in the way.

Case in point, following the Hayman fire there was a huge public outcry to begin some kind of restorative action. That call became so loud that it caused hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours to be wasted by seeding eroded areas before they were stabilized and could retain the seeding. End result – monsoons came, all the seeding washed away. “Eventually there will be a restoration plan but the entire affected community will need to step forward to see that plan put into action.”I use this as an example to explain to you what I believe is a more effective way to develop a coordinated and sustainable approach to the restoration process. We need to form a new non-profit organization. For the purposes of this letter and future conversations I am going to call this new non-profit the Poudre Watershed Restoration Coalition (PWRC). The primary purpose of this non profit will be to act as the intermediary in coordinating community efforts toward restoring the watershed and also to become the central money manager for those restorative efforts. It is important to clearly understand RMF will not act as the operating agent of the non-profit; we simply are the engine that begins its conception and helps see it into action. The non-profit will be made up of all types of different team members. Those members will range from the USFS, DPW, COSFS to CSU, Poudre School District, Water Districts, and then on to private industry. The breweries have a huge stake in the restoration of the watershed as does the whitewater community and I can continue to name more and more interests because what it boils down to is there is no one that is not affected by the degradation of the watersheds as we are about to realize.

This is a process very similar to what was, and continues to be, done in the Hayman burn area. That effort is being spearheaded by a nonprofit called Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP). Their organization actually came into being as the result of an even earlier fire but the end result is it has proven to be a very successful process and one that I believe we need to model for our affected area. CUSP has a very extensive website uppersouthplatte.org and I highly suggest you review their organizations information. The reality is we do not need to figure out how to do all of this from scratch. We can simply use the CUSP model and modify it to specifically fit our situation.

Now I will offer a brief apology and admit that my management philosophy sometimes involves a do first ask second approach. Knowing how time sensitive all of this is and needing some preliminary feedback to share with all of you, I have directed some board members to help me in laying the ground work for establishing a similar entity in our area. The following actions have occurred.

  1. We have had informal conversations with various federal, state and local government agency representatives, private business owners and CSU as a means of discovery in order to determine whether there is interest in the concept. To date we have received nothing but affirmation that there is definite interest in following this through and potentially becoming partners in the non-profit.
  2. We have started the process of accessing core documentation from CUSP. They are very willing to help us establish the same model up here as what they are doing, so again that helps us get this moving forward quickly.
  3. We continue to discuss this informally with more and more interest groups and my hope is their responses continue to be in the positive.

Let me discuss briefly what PWRC will do. Again, a restoration plan will eventually be developed by the USFS and others. However, implementation resources are the unknown. PWRC will be able to coordinate who is doing what and where. Additionally, PWRC will have a fund development capacity that is capable of bringing in monies to help fund those restorative actions as well as sustain the non-profit. Keep in mind we are talking millions and millions of dollars of restoration work spread out over several years. It makes sense to have a single cooperative entity coordinating both the actual restorative actions as well as the money distribution as both will be of enormous amount. I realize that this is an extremely simplified explanation for a complex process but it is the best I can offer at this time. Once more I want to stress that I am not proposing in any way that this is a project of RMF. Our mission in this regard is to simply begin the process of getting PWRC off the ground and even that will be done with the concerted effort and help of many interested parties. Lastly, it is important that if we are going to do this that we get it going. There will be some bumps along the way but explorative journeys don’t occur on smooth highways.

In closing, let me know if any of you question whether this in any way outside of the mission of the chapter. I do not see that as an issue in any manner. We have had brief discussions with David Nickum at CTU and he is supportive of the effort. What I ask from all of you is your support in establishing this process, and if that is forthcoming this will become a topic on our agenda for future board meetings. I will not lose sight of other activities that we are participating in and we will always deliver the best to our membership and to the community, but I do believe the High Park fire has set a long term agenda for our organization.

I look forward to your responses.

Dick Jefferies
President, Rocky Mountain Flycasters
(email Dick Jefferies)

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Last updated on 23 May, 2019