LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMETNAL ADVISORY BOARD (EAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

July 10, 2007

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Guests:

David Gilkey

Tom Sneider

Lee Anne Kempton, Health & Environment

Dale Lockwood

Heidi Steltzer

 

Todd McCowin

Sherm Worthington

Staff:

Kate Muldoon

Bill Zawacki

Doug Ryan

Devin Odell

 

 

 

Introduction of Members and Guests:

Those in attendance introduced themselves, and provided a brief description of their background and interest in the Environmental Advisory Board.  The group welcomed two new members: Todd McCowin and Kate Muldoon.

 

Commissioner Resignation:

Doug Ryan informed the Advisory Board that County Commissioner Karen Wagner resigned her elected position on July 9th.  Several newspapers have covered the story, and included her letter outlining the reasons for leaving.  It is expected that the Larimer County Democratic Party will select someone to serve the remaining 18 months of her term.  Commissioner Wagner had served as the liaison to this Advisory Board.

 

Discussion Items:

Zoonosis:  Lee Anne Kempton, Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, provided an update on the status of significant public health diseases that can be transmitted locally from animals to people.  Statistics were provided for rabies, plague, tularemia, Hantavirus, and West Nile virus.  West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can affect humans, horses and birds.  This season there is a network of approximately 115 light traps to monitory mosquito populations.  The most current information can be obtained at www.larimer.org/health/cd/westnile.asp.  Statistically 85% of human cases in the state occur between July 1 and August 4, although most cases many may not be diagnosed and reported until later in August.  Trap counts indicated that the species of mosquito that can transmit the virus are currently present in large numbers throughout the region.  Tests of mosquito pools for the virus have turned up positive in several Larimer County locations.  A number of communities, including Loveland and Fort Collins are sponsoring mosquito control programs that concentrate on larvaciding.  The best personal defense against the virus is to wear mosquito repellent or avoid the outdoors during the high risk times of dawn and dusk. 

 

Orientation with new members:

Doug Ryan provided an update about the role and function of the Advisory Board.  This included a discussion about the county administrative policy regarding boards and commissions, the bylaws of the Environmental Advisory Board, the issue index used to track topics followed by the EAB, and the process for bringing agenda items to the attention of the EAB. 

 

Environmental Stewardship Awards:

Applications are being accepted for this year’s Environmental Stewardship Awards.  Information about the awards program is available at www.larimer.org/boards/eab/Awards/awards.htm.  The deadline for submitting a nomination is August 31st.  Next month the EAB will select a committee to perform the initial evaluation of the nominations. 

 

Parks and Open Lands response letter:

In June the EAB reviewed the draft Larimer County Parks Master Plan, and sent written comments to the County Commissioners and the Parks and Open Lands Department.  The EAB received a written response to their comments from Gary Buffington, the department director.  Members indicated that they felt the two-way communication with Mr. Buffington has been very positive.  They appreciated the thoughtful response concerning each of the issues originally raised in the EAB comments.  Chair Dale Lockwood will contact Mr. Buffington to acknowledge his response.

 

Chair’s Comments:

Dale Lockwood reported that he received notice that the City of Fort Collins utilities department is planning a zeriscape garden party Thursday, July 19 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm outside City Hall, 200 West Laporte Avenue.  Colorado Master Gardeners will lead short tours and discuss the seven principles of xeriscape. Guided tours will be provided every 15 minutes. In addition, guests can get gardening ideas and advice from local nurseries and other landscape companies.  For more information, contact Laurie D’Audney at (970) 221-6877

 

Approval of May 2007 Minutes:

The minutes from the May meeting were approved with corrections.

 

Updates: 

Dave Gilkey announced that one of his graduate students is involved in an EPA sponsored study looking at the relationship between the use of magnesium chloride deicers and avian mortality in lakes and ponds.  He will report back as the study progresses.

 

CSU recently received a $1.2 million grant to set up an education research center for occupational health and safety issues.  This will be multi-disciplinary effort and will provide both research and outreach.  Dave Gilkey’s group will be involved regarding environmental health issues.

 

Dave Gilkey attended the Air Quality Report to the Public that was hosted by the City of Fort Collins Natural Resources Department on July 9th.  He indicated that the program was very informative and outlined current air quality issues for those in attendance.

 

Larimer County has officially jointed the Climate Wise Program which is sponsored by the City of Fort Collins.  The next step in the process is an evaluation of the energy, transportation and waste systems related to county facilities.  The county has hired Joe Dartt, a CSU intern in a master’s degree student in the Environmental Health Program to work with the Climate Wise staff on the initial inventory. 

 

Bill Zawacki announced that he had hoped to attend a session on water quality sponsored jointly by the Big Thompson Watershed Forum and AWARE Colorado.  He now has a schedule conflict, and asked if any EAB members would be interested in attended on his behalf.  The meeting is on Wednesday, July 11 from 1-4:00 pm in Loveland.

 

Doug Ryan noted that he attended a public information session about the North I-25 Environmental Impact Study in June.  At this point the project staff plan on releasing the draft EIS in the summer of 2008.  It is anticipated that the draft will not identify the preferred alternative.  That step will be completed following public comment on the draft.  This will constitute an important opportunity for local governments to weight in on which alternative they prefer and to help identify funding options.  Mr. Ryan is scheduled to attend future project meetings that will present the air quality analyses.  He will report back to the EAB on that topic.

 

Doug Ryan passed around some air quality monitoring data on this summers ozone levels.  There have been a number of individual exceedances of the level set for the 8-hour ozone standard.  The Front Range region is very close to violating this standard for the 2005-2007 three-year averaging period specified in the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.   Additionally, last month the U.S. EPA announced its intent to revise the 8-hour standard to make it more stringent.  That proposal is based on data which indicate that the current standard is not protective of public health. 

 

EAB Issue Index:

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

 

August Meeting Agenda:

Selection of the stewardship awards committee.

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 8:00 pm.