Colorado’s Uncompahgre Plateau (UP) covers about 2,300 miles on the western slope of the Rockies. Its high-domed upland rises 10,000 feet from the Colorado River and southward to the San Juan Mountains.
More than a decade ago, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the USDA Forest Service (USFS), and the USDI Bureau of Land Management (BLM) became concerned about the Plateau’s environmental health, especially about the decline in mule deer. Excessive soil erosion, an invasion of non-native plants and pinyon-juniper, low vegetation diversity, fewer neo-tropical birds, and riparian areas and aquatic habitats in poor condition were just some of the worries. The Plateau’s condition was also beginning to affect grazing, wood cutting, hunting, and other forms of recreation—and, therefore, the region’s economic vitality.
To address the ecological crisis, several organizations and interested citizens established the Public Lands Partnership in 2001. The group’s Executive Committee oversees the Partnership, while the Technical Committee is the working group and backbone of the organization. The Collaborative Council, which is open to all, is made up of members of Partnership organizations, interest groups, and the public. The Partnership calls on the Collaborative Council whenever they need public input.