LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMETNAL ADVISORY BOARD (EAB)

†MEETING MINUTES

August 15, 2006

 

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Guests:

Sanjay Advani

Devin Odell

Kate Muldoon

Mike Erickson

Jim Skarbek

Mike Doyle, Larimer Co. Environmental Health

David Gilkey

Tom Sneider

 

Jennifer Lee

Heidi Steltzer

Staff:

Dale Lockwood

Sherm Worthington

Doug Ryan

 

Bill Zawacki

 

 

Introduction of Members and Guests:

The Advisory Board welcomed new member Mike Erickson.† All in attendance introduced themselves and provided a brief background about their interests and experience related to environmental issues.

 

Discussion Items:

West Nile Virus.† Mike Doyle provided an update on the West Nile Virus situation for the 2006 season to date.†† As of August 15, there were 4 human WNV cases in Larimer County, 29 cases in Colorado, and 191 cases in the U.S.†† Mosquito pool samples for WNV have shown 18 positive samples out of 1280 tested (1.4%) in the County, and 89 positive samples out of 2887 (3%) statewide.† Mr. Doyle showed graphs of time series data for the numbers of Culex tarsalis and Culex pipians mosquitoes trapped during the summer season in the years 2003-2006.† The numbers for both mosquito species are generally down from the WNV outbreak of 2003.† An exception to this trend is a late season spike the number of Culex pipians in the Loveland area starting the week of July 17.† It remains to be seen what impact this may have on the number of positive mosquito pools or human cases.† Current control practices include larvicide applications in and around the Fort Collins area, and larvicide and adulticide applications in the Loveland area.† Mosquito populations tend to be higher near the major river drainages during the early part of the season, and increase away from the rivers by mid August.† Depending on weather conditions, the mosquito/WNV season can run past mid-September.† People need to continue to use prevention strategies through that time.†

 

Environmental Priorities Project: Land Use.† Tom Sneider, Bill Zawacki and Sherm Worthington discussed the topic of land use change, with specific emphasis on urban growth as it relates to the countyís agricultural heritage.† Tom Sneider presented information about the loss of agricultural lands and the reasons for those loses.† The three principle reasons are conversion to urban and exurban development uses, volatility in commodity markets coupled with high operating costs, and aging of agricultural operators and the attendant reluctance of younger people to maintain family agriculture operations.†† The loss of agricultural lands generates a cycle that leads to ever increasing loss.† Economic impacts include the loss of agribusiness, and increased cost to local governments to service residential vs. agricultural lands.† Environmental impacts include air and water quality effects of development, and in some cases the loss of biodiversity.† The main source for this discussion was the report Losing Ground: Coloradoís Vanishing Agricultural Landscape from the Environment Colorado Research and Policy Center.† The report is available at:† http://www.environmentcolorado.org/blog/home/archives/000079.html.†

 

Bill Zawacki discussed the importance of sustainable agriculture as a tool of for maintaining long-term value of agricultural lands and operations.† A fact sheet introducing principles of sustainability published by the National Sustainable Agricultural Information Service was distributed.† It is also available at:† http://www.attra.ncat.org/.† Mr. Zawacki outlined the Countyís current Legislative Position Guide concerning agriculture.† It is available at: http://www.larimer.org/bocc/position_guide.htm.† Sherm Worthington noted how the loss of irrigation water impacts the economic viability of agricultural operations and decisions by landowners to develop.† In the early 1950ís, 15% of the water developed through the Colorado Big Thompson project was held for municipal and industrial uses, with the remainder slated for agricultural uses.† The municipal and industrial share has grown to about 70% in 2006.†

 

The presenters offered a series of initial recommendations for the EAB to consider if they should choose to ultimately make recommendations to the County Commissioners.† Included was the concept of a Smart Land Summit to educate people about the trends and consequences of rapid conversion of agricultural lands, the recommendation to convene and intergovernmental regional planning summit in order to consider ways to address these issues on a regional basis, and evaluation of ways to make local agricultural production more profitable and sustainable.†

 

The members held a discussion about these issues.† It was pointed out how complex land use issues are.† For example, in the midst of the larger pattern of loss of agricultural lands, some very low-density development that converts agricultural lands to grasslands can have benefits for wildlife habitat or movement corridors.† During the previous Master Plan process, citizens emphasized how they valued open rural lands and at the same time felt that the underlying zoning provided value for landowners in terms of possible future development potential.† Water and transportation policies each have huge implications for how rural lands develop.† Future discussions will be scheduled by the Advisory Board for these topics.

 

Stewardship Awards Committee.† The committee selected to perform the initial review of Environmental Stewardship Award nominations was selected.† David Gilkey, Jennifer Lee, Devin Odell, and Mike Erickson volunteered and were appointed.

 

Approval of August Minutes:

Minutes from the August 15, 2006 meeting were approved as presented.

 

Updates:

David Gilkey reported that a colleague at CSU is working on a project to identify prions in water.† This is related the topic of chronic wasting disease, which is on the EABís issue index as a watch item.† This could be brought forward for discussion if the results prove promising.†

 

EAB Issue Index:

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

 

September 12th Meeting Agenda:

Solid Waste & Recycling

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 8:15 pm.†