Adam Moore of Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) awarded Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Fire Management Officer John Markalunas with their Special Recognition, 2020 Partner of the Year.
“John Markalunas has been an outstanding partner of Colorado State Forest Service and the Salida Field Office for over 15 years,” said Moore, CSFS Salida and Alamosa Field Offices’ Supervisory Forester. “John’s work in resource and fire management has contributed to improved health of Colorado’s forests and watersheds. His expertise and knowledge in fire and forestry is unmatched.”
Markalunas’ work with CSFS over the years includes several fuels reduction projects implemented under the Good Neighbor Agreement, assistance with the development of several Community Wildfire Protection Plans and support for fuels reduction grants, among other accomplishments. “I’m very flattered to be recognized by Colorado State Forest Service – those folks do amazing work,” said Markalunas. “They are a great partner to work with, whose mission aligns with my role with the BLM in fire and fuels mitigation.”
Markalunas and Moore are both members of the Envision Forest Health Council, whose 35 members lead implementation of the 2020 Chaffee County Community Wildfire Protection Plan.
Interagency partnerships, such as the Good Neighbor Agreement, increase the effectiveness of forest and rangeland health initiatives across boundaries. John recognizes the need to collaborate with partners to improve the quality and quantity of work that can be achieved. I’m so proud of John’s work and recognition.”Cathy Cook, BLM’s Rocky Mountain District Manager
The Good Neighbor Authority, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, allows the Bureau of Land Management to enter into cooperative agreements with states to perform forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration projects on federal lands. It allows effective sharing of limited resources to achieve landscape-scale treatments that mitigate fire risk, improve forest health, and reduce risk to life and property. In Colorado, the Good Neighbor Authority is executed through the Good Neighbor Agreement with Colorado State Forest Service.
Markalunas earned his B.S. in Ecology and Conservation Studies from the University of Colorado in Boulder and has worked in fire and fuels mitigation for 30 years with Boulder County, the U.S. Forest Service, and BLM. He began his career in fire as a way to pay for college, citing the landscapes, camaraderie, adventure, and hard work as the hooks that caught him. A native Coloradoan, Markalunas enjoys skiing, gardening, and beekeeping when not on the job.
A big congrats to John from Envision for this deserved recognition!