EAB Meeting Minutes
February 10, 2004
Ramon Ajero††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Tom Bender
Jim Skarbek††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Speakers
Marcia Van Eden††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Dr. Adrienne LeBailly, Larimer County
Dave Swartz ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Health Dept.†††
William Zawacki†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Eric Wilkinson, Don Carlson and
Ray Herrmann††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Nicole Seltzer, Northern CO Water
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Conservancy District (NCWCD)
Cheryl Kolus, staff facilitator††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Guests†
Suellen May, note-taker†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Jill Baron and Jennifer Shanahan,
League of Women Voters
Jerry Blehm, Larimer County Health Dept.†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††
I. †††††††† Citizen Comments
Jill Baron introduced Jennifer Shanahan, a new member of the League of Women Voters, who may be attending our meetings instead of Jill in the future.
II. ††††††† Chair's Comments
III.†††††† Commissioner's Comments
Tom Bender mentioned that the causes of wildfires in Larimer Countyís forests are 76 percent from lightening and 15 percent man-made.
The ozone compact is going well and they will meet in March to discuss controls.
IV.†††††† Approval of January Minutes
The minutes were approved without any changes.
V. Amendments to the Agenda
VI. Discussion Items
Eric Wilkinson and Don Carlson, Windy Gap Firming Project and NIPS
††††††††††† Windy Gap is a project designed to increase the reliable supply of water. There are 9 participants in the firming project: the cities of Broomfield, Greeley, Longmont, Louisville, and Loveland; the Towns of Erie and Superior; the Central Weld County District; and the Platte River Power Authority.
Water is pumped during spring runoff (April ĖJune) through the Colorado-Big Thompson Project (C-BT). This project originated with six growing cities that were looking for additional water supplies to meet their projected municipal demands. These entities then decided that they didnít just want to divert and convey water through C-BT, but they also wanted additional water supplies.
An EIS on the effects of using C-BT for storage, carriage and delivery of Windy Gap Project Water was completed by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1981.
Low water levels occurred in Lake Granby in 1991 and 1992. When Lake Granby is full, there is no room to pump.
Both nonstructural and structural opportunities exist in the alternatives being considered, with 170 possible storage sites (reservoirs, gravel pits). A NEPA compliance process must be successfully completed.
The Chimney Hollow alternative provides a maximum storage capacity of 110,000 acre-feet of water. The Little Thomson Reservoir site is an ideal reservoir because of the narrow canyon. Jasper North Reservoir site has 2 or 3 storage sizes that could fit in that small valley with a maximum storage capacity of 79,000 af.
The Bureau of Reclamation is the lead agency. It hosted public and scoping meetings and is also involved with the Corps of Engineers and environmental contractors in reducing the number of alternatives to put into the EIS.
There will be a very heavy public comment period in 2005.
Ramon asked if the sites in the handout (Chimney Hollow, Little Thompson and Jasper North) were now the frontrunners. Don said Rawhide is far away from facilities and has evaporation considerations. It is not one of the top choices but did pass the screening process. Chimney Hollow has a couple of different sizes.
With the EIS, one can still bring in new and different ideas or old ideas. The Chimney Hollow site is owned by Hewlett-Packard. Larimer County Open Lands would like to expand near Chimney Hollow.
Marcia asked if there were any opposition to any of the alternatives. Some are opposed to the Chimney Hollow and Jasper alternatives but not to the same extent as the opposition to the Little Thompson. At Jasper, 15 homes would be inundated. The proposal for Chimney Hollow would affect some 35-acre parcels that reach into the canyon. There are some environmental concerns at Chimney, Little Thompson and Jasper because of wetlands.
In 1981, the Windy Gap project addressed of fish and wildlife issues. The Prebleís Meadow Jumping Mouse was not found in Chimney Hollow.
Dave asked about geological concerns such as faults at the sites. Don said they have done preliminary investigations; they have done a tremendous amount of drilling.
Marcia asked if wetlands are destroyed, will they be created somewhere else? Don said that there is a minimum one-to-one mitigation and the Corps of Engineers is handling that.
Ramon questioned the concurrent negotiations among HP, NCWCD and Larimer County while still deciding on alternatives. Don said the adjacent land that Larimer County Open Lands wants to acquire is not part of the proposed project. This land would be used for recreation. The county has been interested in that property for a long time. The participants would prefer that the county owns the property for the security of the reservoir.
Bill asked if newcomers could join the Firming Project. Don said it is probably too late to join.
This project aims to provide an annual delivery of up to 30,000 acre-feet of water by 2008 depending on the needs of the participants. The City of Greeley has had some discussions with the Town of Evans to purchase some of Greeleyís portion of the water.
The Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) was based on a demand study of 40 land use planning committees. The committees were asked to give an estimate of how they think their areas might urbanize and what water needs they would have per acre for residential and commercial uses. If these areas grow as their plans indicate, 300,000 additional acre-feet will be needed in the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District.
Nicole Seltzer, NISP
Many northern Colorado towns donít know what to do about growth. Emergent providers have been growing heavily in the last 5 to 10 years. The towns plan to buy more C-BT units, but those might not be available. The best alternative is new storage, but the proposal is subject to change.
The effects of water conservation are also considered, but most of these communitiesí demands exceed the supply of water they lease.
The Glade Reservoir site could hold up to 230,000 af of water. Highway 287 would be relocated through the cement plantís property.† Galeton Reservoir may be used to support Glade. Galeton has a high salt content but could be used for irrigation.
Towns need water and will find a way to get it. Towns said they would dry up land, develop wells, purchase water rights along the Poudre River and construct smaller reservoirs.
Dave questioned the proposed 260 feet depth of Glade. Horsetooth Reservoir is approximately 135 feet deep. Dave expressed concern about seismic loading and mentioned that there is a fault right under the proposed dam. According to Nicole, the fault has already been examined.
The NEPA and EIS processes start this spring and early summer. It will take a couple years to get through that process.
The Windy Gap project comes from C-BT so the reservoirs need to be close. Glade is not close to C-BT facilities.
The Prebles Jumping Mouse surveys found none of the mice at Glade, although there are off-channel reservoirs and some wetlands that might be mouse habitat.
The Glade Reservoir project would end near Bonner Peak and would impact two homes.
Ramon asked about the demand graph. Nicole said it was based on citiesí plans. Some of these cities donít currently have enough supply.
A fundamental part of the project is giving cities an alternative. Conservation takes the slack out of the system. Other estimates show needs of approximately 400,000 af of water by 2030.
One board member asked what kind of changes in participants can occur when nearing NEPA. Nicole said there is a little bit of wiggle room.
Don said a book called Water and Growth in Colorado provides a good summary of these issues and is very comprehensive, explaining water quality and diversion. Contact the natural resources law school at the University of Colorado or check local libraries to get the book.
The county health department has an aggressive strategy of education and partnering with other organizations in the community. Human behavior is extremely difficult to change. They met with city officials to talk about what they could do to reduce mosquito breeding areas. Adulticide is the last resort and equates to stopping a fire thatís getting bigger and bigger, but sometimes itís the only tool left.
Loveland has had a long term IPM program funded by a 60-cent per household fee on the utility bill. The result is significant reductions in mosquitoes. Weld County also has an aggressive IPM.
Fort Collins implemented a mosquito control program more quickly than the county. On August 12, 2003, a public health emergency was declared. Loveland did not do a city-wide spraying at that time.
Boulder Countyís main problem was near Longmont, and the county did do some IPM spraying. Larimer County had the highest number of total cases (if West Nile Fever is included) in Colorado, but Weld County was hit much harder, with more than twice the number of serious cases (meningitis or encephalitis) per population as Larimer. The serious cases are a better way to compare communities, Dr. LeBailly said, since thereís a lot of variation in whether or not people get tested for WN fever, whereas everyone with WN encephalitis or meningitis gets medical care. A lag exists between when people get sick and when it gets reported. This makes it harder to decide whether to spray.
Tarsalis breeds in open space. On average, tarselis can fly 100 yards a day. Pipiens is an urban/suburban dweller (in flower pots, rain gutters). The older the mosquito, the more likely that itís infected.† Only 7 percent of human cases occurred after the spraying dates.
Weld had the highest rates of meningitis and encephalitis.
Only 11 percent of people consistently use mosquito repellant. Many people are afraid of DEET or donít like the way it smells.
Regarding effects of WNV on wildlife, one study of crows showed a 70 percent reduction in population. Grouse also are highly susceptible.
In 2003, 3.4 percent of Larimer County residents were estimated to be infected with WNV. Five to 14 percent of blood donors tested positive (in the 80524 zip code). Half of those people ended up having symptoms later on. According to Dr. LeBailly, you develop symptoms after youíve had the virus. Counting WN fever cases is hard because many doctors did not suggest testing for the virus.
One member asked what sort of actions were on the table to control WNV this year. According to Dr. LeBailly, there will be education and surveillance, but no commitment to larviciding and adulticiding at this time. In 2003, Larimer County used CDC money and money set aside for wildfires, but such funds may not be available in 2004. We donít know that any federal money will be available, and wildfire money would not be available until the fire season is over.
Ray commented that most mammals donít carry enough of the virus to infect but asked what bird can transmit WNV. According to Dr. LeBailly, much of the sparrow population recovered from the infection and didnít pass it on to hatchlings.
Ramon commented that evidence about the effectiveness of adulticiding is inconclusive based on a CDC study. There is no proof that adulticiding reduces human cases of disease.
Dr. LeBailly agreed that we donít have enough conclusive evidence that the programs worked. She will recommend an IPM-level of adulticiding instead of widespread spraying.
The City of Fort Collins has scheduled a WNV work session in the end of February.
Environmental Responsibility Policy
Dave suggested that we review environmental policy for new members.
Tom added the restoration part to the environmental policy and brought it to the EAB. Tom said the private property addition was made as a recommendation by the public.
Dave questioned why the policy didnít come around for a second review to the EAB after the private property addition was made.
According to Tom, in the past the EAB was not involved in the process of determining the environmental policy.
Tom said they would work on communication. Ray suggested that we revisit it later on.
VII. †††† Updates
RFP for the recycling center
John said they are continuing to move forward with details such as the type of facility desired and performance measures. It looks like there will be competition even if there is room for negotiation. February 18 is the next meeting. There are some side issues that have been resolved to most peopleís satisfaction.
Jim noted that the county landfill has been approved for expansion, extent and review, and rezoned from farming to industrial.
Jim was very impressed with the High Plains Environmental Center field trip. He said he had never seen residential structures that incorporated environmental education and was impressed by the construction materials.
Bill announced a February 18 wildfire forum to be held at the Lincoln Center from 6:30 to 8:30pm. A panel of experts will talk about the Forest Initiative and wildfiresí place in the landscape. The Sierra Club is partnering with the county on the forum.
Marcia announced a roundtable discussion in Loveland about transportation, the funding crisis, and NPO.
The meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.