Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMETNAL ADVISORY BOARD (EAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

March 13, 2007

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Guests:

Sanjay Advani

Jim Skarbek

Kate Muldoon

Mike Erickson

Tom Sneider

 

David Gilkey

Heidi Steltzer

Commissioner:

Jennifer Lee

Sherm Worthington

Karen Wagner

Dale Lockwood

Bill Zawacki

 

 

 

Staff:

 

 

Doug Ryan

 

Environmental Priorities: Transportation.  Sanjay Advani updated the EAB on the transportation committee’s initial findings, and led a discussion about the next steps.  The other committee members are Mike Erickson, Jim Skarbek and Heide Steltzer.  A Power Point presentation was used to illustrate information developed following the committee’s recent meeting with staff from public works and facilities.  This included data on fuel use for the County fleet and machinery from 2003 through 2006.  The fleet consists of both gasoline and diesel powered vehicles.  Issues that were considered included fuel usage, miles traveled, and the composition of the fleet in terms of cars, trucks and SUVs.  The members held a discussion about the implications of this information and possible policy recommendations for reducing fuel usage.  Doug Ryan indicated that the County’s internal Green Practices Committee is also looking at ways to reduce the use of energy in County government operations.  That committee is planning to address the EAB in the near future.  The members felt that at this point the focus of the County should be on measures that will increase efficiency.  The consensus of the EAB was that it would be timely to make some initial recommendations back to the Public Works Director.  Those would be to: consider the fleet makeup and usage with the emphasis on using the lightest vehicles that are suitable for the job, continue prioritizing increasing the efficiency of vehicles purchased and changes in driving habits to lessen total miles traveled, continue the ongoing biodiesel experiment, further evaluate why fuel usage decreased in 2006 to see if those reductions can be institutionalized, and consider new technology such as hybrid vehicles for both their efficiency and technology demonstration potential.  Sanjay Advani and Jim Skarbek will forward the recommendations to Marc Engemoen.  In the future, it is anticipated that the EAB may work with staff to recommend specific targets for future efficiency gains. 

 

BCC Liaison Comments:

Commissioner Wagner told the EAB that she traveled to India last month.  Most public use vehicles in the big cities uses compressed natural gas (CNG) as a fuel source.  The air quality was poor, but reported to be better than in the recent past.

 

The proposed Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) now has a steering committee.  The committee is charged with developing language for a ballot proposal.  The work includes developing intergovernmental agreements and a list of projects and services that would be provided.

 

On a related matter, the Weld County Commissioners have indicated their intent of forming their own RTA.  At this point the initial indication is that it would address roadway issues and not include transit in the mix. 

 

The Larimer County Commissioners have decided to become part the proposed Rock Mountain Rail Authority.  The Authority would study the feasibility of passenger rail from Albuquerque NM to Casper WY. 

 

Commissioner Wagner recently began a one year term on the State Transportation Advisory Committee.  The Committee met with Russ George, the new directory of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).  One of the concerns that most local representatives communicated to Mr. George at the meeting was the need to improve relations between locals and CDOT in order to allow working in more of a collaborative way on transportation issues.

 

Governor Ritter will be holding a transportation summit in Denver on April 5th.  Commissioner Wagner will attend.

 

A conference on the impacts of climate change on Rocky Mountain National Park will be held at the Park on March 21 and 22.  Commissioner Wagner and Assistant County Manager Neil Gluckman will attend.

 

Senator Salazar has scheduled an energy summit on Saturday, March 24th if any EAB members are interested.

 

Congressman Mark Udall is planning to discuss his proposed legislation about managing elk in Rocky Mountain National Par. The meeting will be held at the Estes Park Municipal Building on Saturday March 17 at 12:30 p.m. House Resolution 1179 is available at: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d110:14:./temp/~bdKoLc::.  The EAB reviewed the Park Services EIS for their Elk and Vegetation Management Plan in late 2005 and comments were ultimately submitted through the Commissioners Office.  Udall’s legislation deals with the possibility of allowing hunting in the Park as an alternative to lethal controls being performed by government sharpshooters. 

 

Approval of February Minutes:

The minutes from February 2007 were approved as corrected. 

 

Updates: 

The draft Larimer County Parks Master has been posted on the County’s internet site for public comments.  The EAB has wanted to review the document.  The timeframe for completing comments will require that the EAB perform their review by email.  Doug Ryan will send out an email reminder with the link to the draft Plan.  Comments from individual members will need to be submitted to Jennifer Lee and Mike Erickson by March 20.   After that, a draft comment memo to the Commissioners will be sent out to members for their authorization.

 

Dave Gilkey contacted County staff regarding the Compass indicator project.  Due to recent staff changes, updates to existing indicators and addition of new indices has stalled.  Dr. Gilkey will check back periodically on the current status. 

 

The CSU Science and Engineering Fair will be held on April 7.  Dave Gilkey indicated that they need judges, and that EAB members would be well qualified.  He will send out an email with more information.

 

Sanjay Advani announced that the wind energy committee recently formed with members from the Agricultural Advisory Committee and the EAB will hold their first meeting on April 30.  On a related topic, Doug Ryan noted that staff from the Planning Department will discuss the framework for land use regulations with the EAB at the April EAB meeting.

 

Bill Zawacki passed around several newspaper clippings.  These included a column by George Wallace on the implications of the NISP water project on agriculture,  a piece about Hermit Park and future recreation plans, a planned “green” resort in the Vail Valley, expansion plans at Centerra, and an article about plans to expand the W.O.L.F. wolf-hybrid rescue shelter in Rist Canyon. 

 

Doug Ryan attended two recent meetings about the North I-25 EIS.  The next round of public meetings and opportunity for comment will be in June.  Some of the issues to consider will be the air quality analysis, mix of transit and vehicle travel, and land use implications of transit and roadway improvements. 

 

EAB Issue Index:

Doug Ryan will update the Issue Index related to the topics discussed at the meeting

 

April Meeting Agenda:

NPDES stormwater program, wind power land use regulations, EAB Environmental Priorities: Transportation.

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 8:10 pm. 

Background Image: Rocky Mountain National Park by Sue Burke. All rights reserved.