The White River and Douglas Creek Conservation Districts (Districts) are made up of locally elected landowners who provide leadership in the wise use of the natural resources within the Districts' boundaries. Conservation districts in Colorado are defined as "local governments" thus have the ability to participate in government-to-government interactions with the federal agencies.
The Districts joined with Rio Blanco County (County) to develop a Land & Natural Resource Use Plan and Policy (LUP) to translate their statutory mandate (Colo.Rev. Stat. section 35-70-108) into land management policy and direction guided by local landowners. One of the Districts' responsibilities is: "To prepare a plan for the care, treatment, and operation of the lands within the district." Colo. Rev. Stat. Section 35-70-108(1)(K).
This LUP identifies the Districts' and County's policies to facilitate, protect, and preserve the utilization and conservation of natural resources on public lands. These policies support access to and wise use of natural resources on federal land; protect private property rights; protect and enhance the customs, cultures, and the economy; protect the tax base; assure the well-being of the people; and provide for the public health, safety, and welfare of the County citizens.
As local governments, the Districts and County can have cooperating and coordinating agency status with the federal agencies. The LUP policies are used through these government-to-government interactions to provide input and guide the federal land management agencies during their planning processes. The LUP policies are also used by the Districts and County to provide written and verbal comments at various agency meetings, state, and federal legislative hearings, etc.