Cross-Visits

A picture is worth a thousand words, a visit is worth a thousand pictures. 

Cross-visits are a simple concept: people from one watershed visit their peers in another watershed to learn about their projects. These visits have been incredibly effective at helping groups build a cohesive vision for a project that’s just beginning to gather momentum, establishing new cross-boundary partnerships, and gets the creative juices flowing for future projects.

 

XWN has been convening cross-visits in the arid West since 2014. Some projects that are under development as a direct result of XWN cross-visits include: connected greenspaces along the Verde River in Arizona,  a voluntary surcharge program to fund work along the Colorado River in Colorado, and refined communication systems between Utah and Colorado land managers to track the spread and treatment of invasive weeds.

Where would you go? 

Previous Cross Visits(9/16/2016) Cross-Visit between Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) and the Western Slope Conservation Center (WSCC) about Future Collaboration Opportunities along the Gunnison Gorge, CO: On September 17th, 2016, representatives from the Western Slope Conservation Center (WSCC), Colorado Canyons Association (CCA), and River Restoration Adventures for Tomorrow (RRAFT), convened at the Cottonwood Grove campsite on the banks of the lower Gunnison River near Delta, CO, to establish a common vision for future collaboration in the Gunnison Gorge and Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Areas (NCA).During this visit, participants honed in on organizations’ strategic planning efforts, showcased project field-sites during a float through the Gunnison Gorge NCA and a walkabout of the Paonia River Park, and culminated in a prioritization of opportunities for future collaboration. Learn more by reading the cross-visit summary and field notes here.


 


(4/21/2016) Desert Rivers Collaborative (Grand Valley, CO) tour Southeast Utah Riparian Partnership field sites along the Colorado River in Utah:
 After a successful initial cross-visit in 2015, members of the Desert Rivers Collaborative (DRC) packed up into various vehicles and crossed the border into Utah to visit field sites hosted by the Southeast Utah Riparian Partnership (SURP). The cross-visit featured a packed agenda that guided participants through discussions about the impacts of tamarisk defoliation on soils, Russian knapweed biocontrolssourcing native seed along in the canyon-lands region of UT and CO, geomorphic changes along the middle Colorado, and discussed opportunities to work together to tackle up-and-coming invasive weeds. To learn more, check out the field notes from the cross-visit.


 

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Southeastern Utah riparian managers take a tour of the Grand Valley, CO: 
In spring of 2015, the second XWN Cross-Visit brought 34 practitioners from 5 different partnerships spread across Western Colorado and Southern Utah were hosted by the Desert Rivers Collaborative in the Grand Valley of Colorado to share lessons on how to work simultaneously toward multiple goals, share best management practices for controlling invasive weeds, and identify future opportunities for collaboration between the partnerships. After this Cross-Visit, XWN shared a lessons learned document broadly with XWN practitioners in the XWN Newsletter. These practitioners are currently planning to reconvene in a second “reverse” Cross-Visit on April 21, 2016. During this planning process, participants highlight that they keep in contact with practitioners met in the initial cross-visit. Read the notes from the X-Visit here.


 

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Verde Valley, AZ stewards take part in learning expedition to the Grand Valley, CO:
In the first Cross-Visit in 2014, the Colorado Riverfront Commission, which included coordinators for the Riverfront Project in the Grand Valley of Colorado hosted a delegation of local mayors, county supervisors, state parks officials, and others from the Sedona-Verde Valley of Arizona. During this visit, the Riverfront Commission showcased their “string of pearls” initiative, which is transforming a once industrial riverfront into a 35-mile span of interconnected parks for public use. The delegation from Arizona left the Grand Valley with strategies to create effective partnerships and to engage the public in the process of creating their very own “string of pearls”. Lessons from this visit are currently being applied to a resource management and master plan/vision for the Verde Valley river corridor. There were two press-releases for his Cross-Visit that led to several articles written in the Verde Valley and Western Colorado. Learn more here.