Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMETNAL ADVISORY BOARD (EAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

July 11, 2005

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Commissioner:

Sanjay Advani

Jim Skarbek

Karen Wagner

David Gilkey

Heidi Steltzer

 

Jennifer Lee

Sherm Worthington

Staff:

Vic Meyer

Bill Zawacki

Doug Ryan

Devin Odell

 

 

 

Introduction of Members and Guests:

The Advisory Board welcomed two new members:  Jennifer Lee and Vic Meyer.  All in attendance introduced themselves and provided a brief background about their interests and experience related to environmental issues.

 

Discussion Items:

Orientation with new members.  Doug Ryan led a discussion about the role and function of the Environmental Advisory Board.  This included a brief introduction to the County’s policy on boards and commissions, the EAB bylaws, the Advisory Board’s annual report, and the County’s Master Plan. 

 

Environmental Priorities Project:  Water.   David Gilkey and Devin Odell discussed the topic of water as the second of three topics in the EAB’s Environmental Priorities Project.  Mr. Gilkey began with a power point presentation about water resources.  The presentation included an overview of water quality and quantity issues on a worldwide, national and county perspective.  Key concepts included scarcity, quality, distribution, use, storage and conservation strategies.  Water diversions from the West Slope have been crucial for the population centers along the Front Range.  Colorado water law is complex, and in some cases discourages conservation through the” use it or lose it” provisions of the Prior Appropriations policy.   A number of possible EAB recommendations were offered, including support for public policy that embraces sustainability.  Copies of the power point presentation were made available to all at the meeting. 

 

Devin Odell offered several observations based on his experience with water issues.  Included was a suggestion to take skeptically the results of water demand studies that are developed by producers.  Those studies typically project current per capita demand far into the future without considering the possibility of improved technologies, or conservation practices.  Second, there are movements to modify the Prior Appropriations provisions to encourage conservation, and to build in stream health as factor that needs to be considered.  Mr. Odell suggested that the County’s review of upcoming Environmental Impact Statements for major water projects like NISP (Glade Reservoir) and Halligan-Seaman is one of the most important roles for the Commissioners and the Advisory Board related to the topic of water.   An example of a review strategy for new water projects is the report “Facing our Future” published by the Western Resource Advocates.  It suggests ten major issues that communities could consider in their review. A summary, and link to the full report, is available at:  http://www.westernresourceadvocates.org/facingourfuture/summary.php.

 

Environmental Stewardship Awards.  Doug Ryan outlined the Environmental Stewardship Awards program for 2006, and provided members with a copy of the press release announcing the program.  The program is a joint project of the Advisory Board and the County Commissioners.  Nominations for this year’s awards must be received by August 31.  The County website has a link to the online application form at: http://www.larimer.org/.

 

BCC Liaison Comments:

Commissioner Wagner attended the Regional Transportation Summit on June 13.  She commented on the high degree of support for transit alternatives as part of an overall strategy to address transportation issues.  At this point it is thought that a ballot issue for a Regional Transportation Authority may be presented for the November 2007 election.  The ballot issue would include formation of the regional funding authoring and would identify specific transportation projects for funding.  The ideas that came out of the summit will be considered as part of those projects.

 

The County Commissioners and Planning Commission have held planning discussions on possible ways to identify and preserve important ridgelines.  One possibility is to use a transfer of density program as a compensation tool for shifting development potential from ridgelines to more suitable areas.

 

Commissioner Wagner thanked the EAB for their comments concerning the Rocky Mountain National Park draft Elk and Vegetation Management Plan.  Those comments have been forwarded to the Park Service under a cover letter from the Commissioners. 

 

Approval of May Minutes:

Minutes from the May 9, 2006 meeting were approved as presented.

 

Updates: 

Heidi Stletzer and Bill Zawacki were both able to attend a public meeting held by the Park Service on the Elk and Vegetation Management Plan.  There is a lot of pressure from hunting groups to allow hunting either inside or adjacent to the Park.  The state Wildlife Commission is planning to discuss this issue at their meeting in Fort Collins on July 13.

 

David Gilkey let the members know about a short program offered by CSU for a Green Building Certificate.  The program will be offered at the University’s Denver Center on Tuesday nights between September 5 and December 12.   More information is available through the Division of Continuing Education at www.csucertificates.com

 

Jim Skarbek reported on the topic of magnesium chloride used for dust suppression and deicing on roadways.  Reports concerning studies  sponsored by CSU and the University of Northern Colorado are expected to be available some time in 2007.  Members indicated that they would be interested in an update, possibly ahead of print, when it is available. 

 

Doug Ryan reported that staff from the county Department of Health and Environment recently accompanied the state Solid and Hazardous Waste program on an inspection at the Alps tire dump.  As a result of that inspection, the state ordered the cleanup of additional materials such as stockpiled television sets.   Several members had commented on these items after viewing the photographs presented by David Gilkey in his presentation at the May EAB meeting. 

 

Bill Zawacki discussed two newspaper clippings related to forest health.  The first described the mountain pine beetle problem in Summit County, and noted that the forecast is that 50-90% of the lodgepole pine is expected to die in the next three years.  The second article discussed the mysterious decline in aspen trees in southern Colorado in the Mancos area. 

 

EAB Issue Index:

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

 

Summary of BCC Communication Issues:

Dale Lockwood and Doug Ryan attended the County Commissioners’ Administrative Matters meeting on June 27 to discuss the Advisory Board’s written comments concerning the Rocky Mountain National Park Elk and Vegetation Draft Environmental Impact Statement.  The Commissioners felt that the EAB recommendations were well thought out and appropriate, and voted to authorize the County Manager to forward them to the Park Service.

 

August Meeting Agenda:

Environmental Priorities: Land Use, West Nile Virus activities, formation of Stewardship Awards committee

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 8:45 pm. 

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