Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

EAB Meeting Minutes

October 12, 2004

 

Members in Attendance

Sanjay Advani

Ramon Ajero

John (Jack) Coleman

Lilias Jarding

Dale Lockwood

Jim Skarbek

Marcia Van Eden

Sherman Worthington

Ray Herrmann

Dave Swartz

Bill Zawacki

 

Members Absent

John Bartholow

 

Presenters

Ernie Marx, CSU Cooperative Extension

 

Public Guests in Attendance

David Gilkey

 

Staff

Doug Ryan, Staff facilitator

Sandy Werkmeister, Note taker

 

I.    Amendments to the Agenda

None.

II.    Introductions & Public Guests Comments

Board members introduced themselves. David Gilkey, an Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Education for the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences at CSU was in attendance.

III.   Citizen Comments

None

IV.   Discussion Items

A.   Tamarisk Control Issues:

Ernie Marx gave a presentation on a concept developed by Steve Dewey from Utah State University, comparing a noxious weed problem to a wildfire. Impacts to the landscape are similar, while the traditional management techniques of each are almost opposite. Shifting to more of a wildfire response model would allow quicker response before problems get out of hand. He went on to present specifically on Saltcedar, a.k.a. Tamarisk weed. (Tamarisk ramosissima). Attachment 1 includes both topics.

Tamarisk Impacts

  Negative impact on land. It can take over 70-80% of ground cover, displacing willows, cottonwoods and other grasses.

  Negative impact on wildlife, especially birds.

  Water consumption high because it creates such a dense canopy of leaf area. Water usage is 3 acre feet per acre, similar to alfalfa.

  Lowers the water table because it is so deep rooted and it is facultative rather than obligate which means it can survive even if water table goes down, while cottonwoods and willows cannot.

  Changes the environment in which it lives by dropping salt concentrations from its leaves, so other plants cannot survive.

 

Control Options:

Biological: Three insect species have been tested. Conflicting information on whether they are effective. This method is usually not used unless attacking a large established area.

Physical/Mechanical: 1) Big shredders on the front of tractors. This gets the above ground biomass, but leaves the root system intact which will sprout. 2) There is also root plowing which is a blade or ripper that rips underground. This can be very effective on young plants, particularly when in sandy soil, such as next to some reservoirs. 3) Hand pulling for young plants is very effective. 4) Flooding inundation works if the plants are submerged for 2 or 3 growing seasons which will drown them. This requires a great deal of cooperation between irrigation companies.

Chemical: He discussed several options, including the technique of wiping the plants with a sponge to lesson the environmental impact.

The majority of infestation in Larimer County has been in the last 3 years during the drought. It is primarily in the reservoirs and gravel pits. There are places using it for ornamental purposes as well. e.g. Crystal Rapids. The largest plants he has seen are around Richards Lake, with a stem/trunk of 6" diameter, over 15 feet high. Referring back to the fire model, Ernie recommends containing it while it is in the reservoirs, before it enters the Poudre and the South Platte water system.

Possible Approaches for Larimer County:

  Larimer County has a list of noxious weeds that have to be controlled by law. Tamarisk is not on the list. Adding tamarisk is the first step to allow for enforcement of its eradication.

  Build cooperation between ditch companies, municipalities and rural homeowner associations.

  Use recreationalists for early detection. e.g. allow access to canals and use paddlers as surveyors.

  Education push in the Spring.

  Begin control at reservoir levels to stop spread.

Ernie asked the EAB to write a letter of support to the Board of Commissioners to add tamarisk to the Larimer County Controlled Noxious Weed list. This is the first step before other plans can be started.

Adams County has already added it to their list and Weld County is adding it this month. Boulder County intends to have it done by the end of the year. It is on the State noxious weed list, and it is illegal to sell.

Answers to Questions:

  Grazing animals has not been explored. Although the weed is not poisonous, it is not palatable either (very tough and salty). Additionally, the current goal is eradication. Grazing is typically used for managing a large infestation.

  Regarding fire, Ernie responded that on an established stand, fire actually makes things worse because anything that might compete will be gone, yet the roots survive and sprout.

  Ernie did not know the jurisdiction rules for land areas infested under the operative of the Division of Wildlife.

Discussion followed, with Ernie, and after his departure.

Motion by Ramon Ajero to recommend to the BCC that the EAB supports the addition of tamarisk to the Counties noxious weed list and that they also urge the BCC to:

1.   accompany the addition with the necessary education and materials needed for the public to understand the rational for adding this weed to the list and the most environmentally appropriate and effective means of control that they should use.

2.   Look into using enforcement tools for areas already infested (ditch and reservoir managers/companies) to stop the weed there, which will also prevent the cost from moving further down the line to homeowners.

2nd by Marcia.

  Discussion to authorize the chair and staff facilitator to draft and sign the letter.

  Jack asked for clarification about who pays for the control. Doug responded that in the case of enforcement actions, the county does a lot of controls themselves or hires a contractor to do it for them. The landowner pays the cost. If not, a lien is placed on the property.

Motion passed unanimously.

B.   Environmental Stewardship Awards

  Ray reported that the committee did narrow the nominations down to five. They are asking the board to recommend all five of them to the BCC for an award, rather than choosing one.

  Marcia explained that their rational for this was about diversity, to inspire and encourage others by recognizing the power of one person as well as the bigger players.

  Doug Ryan agreed, and added that it is important to remember that the purpose of this award is not only to honor, but to encourage. He informed new members that the BCC makes the final decision on who receives the Environmental Stewardship Awards. The BCC will still review all thirteen awards and consider the recommendation of the EAB. The awards are typically given at a televised land use meeting of the BCC.

  Lilias reported that she is employed by Turning Point and therefore recused herself from this vote.

The board discussed the recommended nominations.

  By means of 2 votes (one unaminous and one 8/2 vote) the Board confirmed the 5 nominations recommended by the committee.

C.   Recycled Paper

Frank Lancaster, County Manager, asked the EAB for feedback on a recycled paper policy. He solicited information from Dave Mosher, Document Output Center manager, about policy on recycled paper. Dave Mosher's response was sent to the EAB. The response indicates that the trend across the country is policy that encourages rather than mandates the use of recycled paper. This allows organizations to use recycled paper when it is available at a reasonable price and acceptable quality for intended use. Reasonably priced is typically a price difference of 10% or less.

Motion by Sherman to support the development of policy to encourage, and help facilitate across departments, the purchase of recycled paper and other green products, and to point out existing County environmental policy that support the policy, and to monitor progress and review it annually. The EAB chair and staff facilitator will draft and sign the letter.

2nd by Jack Coleman. Motion carried unanimously.

The board discussed board correspondence and the fact that they are currently receiving electronic and hard copies of correspondence. Doug will send an email out to all members asking if they need paper copies mailed to them. He pointed out that as volunteers, if board members are going to print the email attachments anyway, they may want to save their own printing costs by allowing Doug to provide copies for them.

D.   EAB Goals & Objectives (G&O)

Jack began by asking the board to work on consolidation of his goals and objectives proposal. Ray questioned whether we were supposed to be working on a document already consolidated by the committee. Jim Skarbek explained that the committee did meet but was not able to come up with one proposal for the board. Marcia added that she personally feels at a point of impasse. She wants to work on broad G&O while Jack wants to work on detailed G&O. They have been unable to come to a compromise.

Ray suggested that it is simply a case of a committee report that is not done. He asked the committee to get back together. Marcia asked to recuse herself from the task, stating she can no longer be objective. She reminded the board that she and Jim were voted onto this committee only because of their efforts to follow through on a board task asked of everyone (to review Jack's initial goals).

The board decided to table goals & objectives and go back to the Action Log and make it work.

V.   Approval of Sept Minutes

Misspelling of Lilias and response were corrected.

Motion by Jim Skarbek to accept the minutes as corrected. 2nd by Dale. Motion carried unanimously.

VI.   Chair Comments

Ray commented on Peter Raven, head of the Missouri Botanical Garden, who spoke at Colorado State University. He said a lot about acting locally. Ray would like to come back to this at a later date if time.

VII.   BCC Liaison Report

None.

VIII.   Updates - Committee and Other

None

IX.   Action Log

The board went over the action log, updating several out of date items.

The board discussed Serenade Park and whether or not it can remain on their log. Doug did not feel it was necessary to remove it, but rather just be sure to coordinate with the Planning Department and/or the BCC before taking any action.

It was suggested that the board name someone responsible, possibly the chair, for keeping the log a working document. A final decision was not made on this.

For next month, if your name is on an item, plan to define the next planned action.

An updated log will be distributed next month.

X.   Summary of BCC Communication Issues / Planning for Administrative Matters Meeting

The board discussed Administrative Matters and decided it is to their advantage to attend when delivering select important opinions in writing. Attendance is a way of augmenting communication between the BCC and the EAB and is useful to the BCC to have someone to address questions to, particularly for complex issues such as tamarisk. It also allows the EAB to know first hand how their information is projected.

Administrative Matters is a weekly meeting, but Board & Commission reports are planned for the third Tuesday of each month, unless emergency.

Bill Zawacki, possibly Ray Herrmann and Doug Ryan will attend on October 19 to present on Tamarisk control.

XI.   Agenda for November Meeting

1.   Doug will check for West Nile data.

2.   Debriefing on Admin Matters

3.   Action Log Update (Issue report on Forest)

4.   Doug reported that Gary Buffington did respond on fees. He said it is a very sensitive issue, and would prefer to come back to EAB next year.

XII.   Motion to Adjourn

Motion by Dale and 2nd by Bill to adjourn. Motion carried unanimously.

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