Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY BOARD (EAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

February 10, 2008

 

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Guests:

Melissa Chalona

 

LeeAnne Kempton, Dept. of Health & Environment

Mike Erickson

 

Nina Jackson

Michael Jones

 

Sharon Milligan

Jennifer Lee

 

Eric Sutherland

Todd McCowin

 

 

Kate Muldoon

 

Staff:

Devin Odell

 

Doug Ryan

Tom Sneider

 

 

Heidi Steltzer

 

 

Bill Zawacki

 

 

 

Introduction of Members and Guests:

Those in attendance introduced themselves.

 

Citizen Comments:

Nina Jackson, a member of the Greater Red Mountain Preservation Association, addressed the Advisory Board about the proposed wind farm at the Maxwell Ranch.  She outlined a number of concerns that the Association has regarding the project.  They include an overall question about the intent of the original gift to CSU of the Maxwell Ranch – which was structured to preserve ranching and the natural environment.  Other technical issues included a question about the service area that would benefit from electrical generation, the need to carefully inventory archeological sites and endangered plant communities, and a question regarding development of a wind farm on this site as a “research project” when many other existing wind farms could be available for research.  Ms. Jackson provided a paper titled Weather response to management of a large wind turbine array by Barrie and Kirk-Davidoff.  Mr. Ryan will scan make copies available for interested EAB members.

 

Sharon Milligan, who owns ranch land on three sides of the Maxwell Ranch, addressed her concerns about the wind farm proposal.   She pointed out that the Ranch is part of a larger intact ecosystem that provides many natural serviced or functions.  Breaking up the connections in that ecosystem could have negative unintended consequences.  Specific issues of concern include the arid nature of the environment and the extreme difficultly in reclaiming disturbed areas.  Ms. Milligan noted that they have personal experience with this issue on their ranch regarding reclamation of old roadways.  The Maxwell Ranch is also part of in important elk migration corridor.  It was pointed out that no published studies of the effects of wind turbines on elk migration are available. 

 

Eric Sutherland from Fort Collins noted that he is in favor of alternative energy development, including wind energy, in places and circumstances where in makes sense.  He indicated that the Maxwell Ranch wind farm proposal is poorly conceived and does not have a reasonable chance of succeeding in the economic marketplace.  Mr. Sutherland stated that it is his view that the project proponents have not performed adequate due diligence regarding markets for the energy. 

 

Discussion Items:

West Nile Virus:  LeeAnne Kempton from the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment provided an overview of the 2008 West Nile Virus season, and a preview of this year’s planned activities.  It was noted that the County program emphasizes surveillance and education.  Based on experience over several years, monitoring mosquito populations and virus infection rates have become the cornerstone of the surveillance program.  Other indicators, such as bird infection rates and reports of horse cases are not sensitive enough to be useful regarding decisions about spraying or public education concerning personal protection.  There is a network of about 110 mosquito traps that is mostly concentrated within the higher density populated areas in the County.  The program also involves coordination with local cities and towns, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 

 

Ms. Kempton provided a timeline regarding important events in the 2008 West Nile Virus season:

March 2008:  2008 Colorado Department of Health (CDPHE) grant received by County

May 22, 2008:  First mosquito traps set for season

·  Mosquito traps to be set by Colorado Mosquito Control including five funded as WNV sentinel traps for the State Health Dept.

·  All mosquitoes from CMC traps within the Cities of Fort Collins and Loveland sent to CDC for testing weekly.

·  Sentinel traps were sent to CDPHE for testing weekly.  Results logged in State Database.

·  Spreadsheets and reports with mosquito counts from the previous evening were sent to the Health Dept daily by CMC.

July 10, 2008: First West Nile Virus positive mosquito pools reported.

·  Fort Collins; (southeast area trap location)

·  Total number of positive pools = 25 out of  1,391 tested

July 11, 2008:  First Human Case in Loveland reported.

·  Earliest onset date reported (Fort Collins) = June 1, not reported until July 22

·  Total number of Larimer County Cases in 2008; 13  with 1 death

·  Total State Cases in 2008; 71 and 1 death

August 12, 2008 First Positive Larimer County Bird Collected

·  4 total birds tested by State Regional Lab = 2 Positive

·  Dead bird calls were directed to the COHELP line in order to cooperate with efforts to collect information statewide.  Larimer County continued to monitor dead birds through citizen phone calls to our bird hotline 970-498-6792 for citizen convenience.

·  Dead bird testing through the County at State was restricted to Corvids (crows and jays) only. 

·  Through a cooperative agreement with CDPHE, the local Rocky Mountain Raptor Association submitted their dead raptors directly to the State Lab for testing.

Based on the evaluation of collected data regarding risk human cases of WNV, no adult mosquito control conducted by Larimer County is 2008

First Week of September:  Final mosquito trapping of the season.

 

North I-25 EIS:  Doug Ryan provided an update on the status of the draft Environmental Impact Statement.  This agenda item is a continued discussion on the process developed by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) for selecting the preferred alternative for transportation improvements in the I-25 corridor through the year 2030.  The EAB has actively followed this project, and has provided comments to the County Commissioners at several stages of the EIS development. 

 

The public comment period for the draft EIS ended on December 30, 2008.   Since that time CDOT hosted two meetings in January with staff and elected officials representing local governments within the planning corridor.  Mark Peterson, County Engineer, is the staff representative from Larimer County.  Mr. Ryan has consulted with him and reported that the group consensus for these first two meetings seemed to be toward a preference for commuter rail on the west side of the corridor, general purpose lanes on I-25 west of State Highway 66, and tolled express lanes south of Highway 66.  Additional meetings are planned for February.  Mr. Ryan was asked to report back on the status of selecting the preferred alternative at the next EAB meeting.

 

BCC Communications:   The County Commissioners have made their board & commission liaison assignments for 2009.  Commissioner Kathay Rennels will be the EAB liaison.  The Advisory Board indicated that they would like to schedule a discussion at an appropriate future EAB meeting with Commissioner Rennels to discuss her ideas and expectations regarding EAB activities, and to communicate about current and recent projects that the EAB has been involved with.  Mr. Ryan will communicate with Commissioner Rennels about meeting dates and topics.

 

Approval of January Minutes:

Minutes from the previous meeting were approved as submitted.

 

Updates: 

Devin Odell noted that the Coloradoan recently ran an article reporting that the Army Corps of Engineers has made a decision that a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement will be necessary to address issues that were identified in the review of the draft EIS for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP).  The EAB made formal comments to the County Commissioners on the draft EIS in 2008, and did identify several issues where they believed more extensive technical analyses was needed.

 

Michael Jones noted that the County is hosting two public meetings the week of February 16 to discuss the topic of county land use regulations for horse businesses such as boarding stables, riding arenas and equine event venues.  Mr. Jones will attend one of the meetings and report back to the EAB.  This topic is including on the EAB Issue Index as a topic that the Advisory Board is following. 

 

EAB Issue Index:

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

 

March Meeting Agenda:

North I-25 EIS, Maxwell Ranch Wind Project (if a formal proposal is received), update on horse business meetings

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 7:35 PM

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