Resilient Land and Water

Our goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilience through land and water management actions and improved decision making.

Our Role:

YVSC plays a key role in the implementation of local land and water resilience strategies and carbon sequestration projects through community outreach and by serving as a leader, advisor and partner on local projects. We do this by serving as a resource for information on land and water resilience strategies. We also catalyze, lead, support and/or implement collaborative reforestation and restoration processes and projects across forests, riparian, wetland, and rangeland ecosystems. Our goal is to link education with action so that YVSC can support the community in scaling up land and water conservation actions and increasing adaptive capacity and resilience to a warmer and drier Yampa Valley future.

Click the links below to learn more about the work YVSC is doing in each of these sectors.

Trees planted since 2010 through YVSC’s ReTree event
Pounds of CO2 sequestered over 50 years with ReTree 2020 plantings. This is as much as 350 cars emit in one year.
0 million
Rain barrels distributed to residents to help conserve treated water
Year hosting a science-informed water and weather conference in the basin
First Soil Moisture and Climate Monitoring Station Installed in

Restoring natural ecosystems is one of the most important ways for Routt and Moffat County residents to reduce carbon emissions and build resilience to the impacts of climate change. Natural climate solutions (NCS) are land management practices — conservation, restoration, and improved management — in our grasslands, forests and wetlands that increase carbon storage and resilience and reduce GHG emissions. NCS have the potential to deliver up to one-third of our needed global GHG emissions reductions by 2030, and up to one-fifth of our national GHG emissions, and increase resilience by increasing soil, river and forest health. For YVSC, creating NCS pathways that work means bringing the people and landscapes of this unique alpine, agricultural and riparian region together through climate action.

The water landscape in the west is changing: it’s drying as a result of increased temperatures caused by climate change. In Colorado, we have long relied on our snowpack to supply water, but as snowpack decreases, spring melt shifts earlier, dryer ground uptakes more water and evaporative loss increases, our relationship with water in the west also changes. The goal of this program is to link education with action to support the community in scaling up water conservation across key sectors and increase adaptive capacity and resilience to a warmer and drier Yampa Valley. The program also seeks to increase access to and application of relevant data and research through collaborative partnerships with research institutions and organizations to provide data for land and water decision-makers and foster conservation actions across all stakeholder and user groups. Investing in land management and water conservation actions that reduce emissions and increase resilience is essential to climate action.

Yampa River Forest Restoration Project

The Yampa River Forest Restoration Program (YRFRP) was collaboratively launched in 2019 by Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, Colorado State Forest Service, and the City of Steamboat Springs in response to the Yampa River Health Assessment and Streamflow Management Plan. The YRFRP sets to restore riparian forests along the Yampa River. Planting trees has many benefits, it helps sequester carbon from the atmosphere, provides shade to lower water temperature and creates habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife to name a few!

Learn more about the YRFRP

Annual Retree Event

Each year this event brings together community members of all ages to teach about the many benefits of planting trees and to share in the experience of stewardship. Since 2019, ReTree has been focused on supporting the Yampa River Forest Restoration project by planting and maintaining trees at sites along the Yampa River.

Yampa Valley Climate Crew

The goal of the Yampa Valley Climate Crew is to give community members access to volunteer opportunities that address the climate threat facing our planet, so that they, too, can be a part of the climate action solution.

These projects will include tree planting, wetland and riparian habitat restoration, and site maintenance, all of which increase carbon sequestration and resilience. People of all ages are welcome to participate and give back to the natural landscapes that we all appreciate and receive so much from. You’ll have the opportunity to work on projects hosted by organizations like the US Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and yes, YVSC! There are many projects here in the Yampa Valley that address our climate crisis through carbon sequestration, and all they need is an impassioned labor force to do the job.

Learn more about YVCC

Wetland Restoration

Wetlands along our rivers and scattered throughout our forests and grasslands provide multiple benefits by sequestering carbon and improving water quality. They also are some of the most productive landscapes to sequester carbon, an important function that can help naturally reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. As soils become drier with warming temperatures, wetlands can help hold water leading to healthier rivers. YVSC is working with partners to design and implement wetland restoration projects on the Yampa River and in upland habitats such as wet meadows in California Park.

Soil Moisture and Climate Monitoring Network

Soil moisture data can provide key insights into how we predict and make decisions about water resources in the Yampa River Basin. YVSC has partnered with the Center for Western Weather Extremes, Colorado Mountain College, and Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District to establish a new soil moisture and climate monitoring network that will establish new long-term measurements to provide data and scientific insight on the reduction of runoff by dry soils, provide a continuous record of changing landscape conditions with a changing climate and support runoff model and forecast improvements.

Learn more about the network

Water Conservation

To help the community act on water conservation, we partnered with the City of Steamboat Springs, Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District, and Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation in 2021 on water conservation and equity education and outreach for the 2020 Water Conservation Plan. This program aims to increase water conservation actions and successes across stakeholder and user groups to help prepare for an adaptable and water-conscious community. Our outreach plan includes in-person workshops and trainings, along with online and print education resources that teach water users about valuable water conservation principles and practices.

Learn more

Yampa Basin Rendezous

In 2018, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council partnered with the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E), Colorado Mountain College (CMC), Friends of The Yampa and Steamboat Resorts, to co-organize the Yampa Basin Rendezvous (YBR). The conference is highly collaborative, science-based, and focuses on water and weather in the Yampa River Basin.

Get Involved

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