Resource management

Community Agriculture Alliance: Conservation and collaboration with community-based natural resource management

For the past 80 years, the Routt County Conservation District (RCCD) has worked hand-in-hand with hard-working families and private landowners to conserve and protect Routt County’s natural resources, including soil , water, air and wildlife.

RCCD offers many resources, programs and services for landowners in Routt County. Recently, the district launched a new service. This is a Frontier 300 gallon weed killer rental. The district purchased the weed sprayer with help from the Weed Advisory Board and funds from the Taylor Grazing Act. The weed sprayer is available for rent at $250 per day and can be reserved online at

In addition to launching its own soil health initiative in 2019, the district is participating in the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s STAR program (Saving Tomorrow’s Agricultural Resources) to advance the use of soil health promoting practices, provide technical assistance to landowners on how to implement the practices, and direct landowners to financial resources. To date, the district has collected 41 soil samples from more than 25 farms and ranches.

Examples of practices that promote soil health include soil testing, intercropping, no or minimum tillage, increasing plant diversity, rotational grazing, etc. In short, healthy soil is like a sponge that can absorb moisture as it falls. . These proven conservation practices have great potential to not only improve soil health, but also to improve water quality, conserve water, sequester carbon, and make our farmlands more resilient to drought, fire forest loss and other severe climatic events.

The district lobbies on behalf of landowners and their priority resource concerns as identified at the annual landowners meeting. Our Board of Directors is made up of seven very dedicated Routt County residents who volunteer hundreds of hours each year.

Many of our board members serve on numerous committees and serve on other boards of local environmental and conservation organizations. A recent survey by Phil Brink of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association found that 81% of producers agree that local conservation districts should lead conservation planning efforts over other entities.

Through conservation practices and partnerships, RCCD aims to improve the sustainability and viability of working lands for farmers, ranchers, private foresters and other landowners. A key strategic partnership is to act as a liaison between landowners and the operating land conservation programs of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to support resilient agriculture and provide voluntary technical assistance at the local level.

To successfully achieve our goals, RCCD must pursue a coordinated approach with NRCS, CSU Extension, nonprofits, stakeholders, federal and state natural resources and agriculture agencies, and governments. states and cities. Collaborative conservation benefits all residents of Routt County who appreciate the beauty of our open space, clean air and water, and abundant wildlife.

We hope you’ll keep an eye out for our upcoming schedules and plans for a virtual fence demonstration plot, hosting a Hay Day, and releasing a Routt County Drought and Wildfire Resilience Toolkit. Please visit for more information about our programs and services.

Kristen Rockford is Acting District Manager and Consultant for the Routt County Conservation District.