Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

LARIMER COUNTY OPEN LANDS ADVISORY BOARD MEETING

MINUTES

Thursday, February 23, 2006 – 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Loveland Library MP Room

 

The mission of the Larimer County Open Lands Program is to preserve and protect significant open space, natural areas, wildlife habitat, develop parks and trails for present and future generations.  These open lands provide opportunities for leisure, human renewal and protection of our natural and cultural resources.

 

 
 

 

 

 

 


Present:

Open Lands Board Members:

Brian Hayes

Mark DeGregorio

Duane Pond

Peter Kast

Sue Sparling

Bill Newman

Jean Carpenter

Bob Streeter

Lori Jeffrey-Clark

 

 

Staff

Ernst Strenge

Kerri Rollins

Meegan Flenniken

Gary Buffington

K-Lynn Cameron

Jim Krick

Lori Smith

Glenn Gibson

 

Absent: 

Jim White

Ben Manvel

Ted Swanson

 

 

Chair, Peter Kast called the meeting to order at 5:10 p.m.

 

Duane motioned to approve the minutes of January 26, 2006.  The motion was seconded by Bob and was unanimous.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

No public comment

 

INFORMATION ITEMS

·  Larimer County and Fort Collins Naturalists’ programs jointly sponsored a NAI-certified naturalist training.  The training was very successful and 19 people were certified.

·  On February 3, 2005, Larimer County invited staff from the City of Cheyenne to a site visit at Eagle’s Nest Open Space that included an overview of our management planning process.  They were very appreciative and want to work closely with us as they develop their management plan for Wyoming Red Mountain Ranch.

·  On February 7, 2006, the Fort Collins City Council approved the amendment to the Fossil Creek Reservoir IGA which transfers management of Fossil Creek Reservoir Open Space to the City in 2010 if the City has annexed the open space.  The IGA also eliminates all financial obligations to Larimer County for development and management beginning in 2010 if annexation occurs.  The County Commissioners will act on this amendment on March 7th.

·  Two solar-powered aeration systems (Solarbees) have been installed at Duck Lake.  The purpose of these systems is to recirculate the water in Duck Lake, thereby increasing the oxygen level, controlling blue green algae, and eliminating odors that are produced by the release of hydrogen sulfide from the lake.  They cost between $10,000-$15,000.

·  A grant proposal to help fund the redevelopment of the Horsetooth Mountain Park trailhead is being submitted to GOCO in early March.

·  Staff from Colorado Dept. of Transportation (CDOT) will be coming to the March or April OLAB meeting to make a presentation on the Environmental Overview Studies they are conducting for SH 392 and US 287.  CDOT is looking to reserve transportation corridors for the future.  River Bluffs, Fossil Creek, Duck Lake Open Spaces and Long View Farm will be impacted by any future expansion.

·  A site visit to preview the trail at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area on the Friday afternoon of March 24 with City of Fort Collins staff is scheduled.  Brian, Sue, Jean, Bob, Peter, K-Lynn, Ernst, Meegan, Jim, Kerri, Greg and Ann signed up.

·  New Belgium Brewing Company selected the 10 Year Anniversary of the Help Preserve Open Spaces Sales Tax and the Open Lands Program as one of the four events they will sponsor at no charge at their brewery on Friday, June 16, 2006.  More details to follow in the coming months.  A subcommittee of current and alumni board members was solicited to help plan the event.  Sue and Jean volunteered, Jim was also volunteered though he was not present.  Kerri will contact alumni board members to see who else is interested.

·  The Rio Grande Mexican restaurant will host the 2nd Annual Small Grants Awards Ceremony and Silent Auction Fundraiser on April 7th from 6:30 - 10:00.  Entry cost is $10.

 

BOARD COMMENT:  Bob asked about the status of the possible transfer of Horsetooth Mountain Park from the Parks Program to the Open Lands Program.  K-Lynn said 12-2 on March 20 is a finance subcommittee meeting.  Recommendations from that meeting will come to the full board in April.

 

PRESENTATION:

·  2005 Parks and Open Lands Weed Management Summary – Maxine Guill, Weed Specialist.

Maxine reviewed changes to the Colorado Noxious Weed List, such as creating management plans for “B” list species.  Three new species will be added to the noxious weed list later this year.

 

Maxine reviewed the 5 Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods.  These are Biological, Mechanical, Preventative, Chemical and Cultural.  She highlighted Musk thistle as a species that has increased rapidly from 2003 to 2005.  The chemical “Overdrive” was used at Fossil Creek and Devil’s Backbone to control Russian Thistle.  She reviewed several other weed control methods used at various properties such as Eagle’s Nest (treated dalmation toadflax), Red Mountain Ranch (sprayed 53.5 acres of 2641 scouted, so weeds are on less than 2%),  Red-tail Ridge (Myrtle spurge) used Tordon but have found that pulling or 2-4 D works better. At Chimney Hollow moth mullein was treated in grassy areas.  Maxine handed out a summary sheet of weed work completed on all Parks and Open Lands properties.

 

Also in 2005, an Exotic Species Elimination Project by James Choun of Front Range Community College (FRCC) completed treating six areas on Parks and Open Lands properties.  If granted an award through the Small Grants Program in 2006 FRCC will monitor the six areas for re-growth and treat two new areas including one at a City of Loveland property.

 

Maxine also discussed accomplishments in the Weed District in 2005.  A new GPS program has made it easier to contact more landowners.  A grant was awarded from the Colorado Department of Agriculture to manage several specific species, and they gained 7 cost share participants to take enforcement action in 2006.  They applied for a National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Pulling Together Initiative Grant for a watershed wide application in conjunction with Weld County on the Poudre and Big Thompson rivers.

 

So far in 2006 they have a paid internship program, are continuing the IPM program and expanding scouted areas at Red Mountain Ranch and Chimney Hollow.

 

DISCUSSION:

·  Round Butte Conservation Easement Initial Review – John Stokes, Director of Natural Resources at City of Fort Collins.  John reviewed the initial review enclosure in the packet.  The City would like the county to hold a temporary easement on the highlighted properties.  Because they received a GOCO grant they must have a 3rd party hold a conservation easement on it until they can sell the residual lands to a conservation buyer.  Once sold, then Larimer County will transfer the easement back to the City.  John said the City will do all the due diligence requirements such as the baseline report.  John said they would like to make CR15 the main access to Soapstone.  By acquiring Round Butte they better establish public access to the property.  There will be one building site per parcel with a 5 acre building site, so potential of 2 houses on over 1300 acres.  Bob encouraged John to reserve some rights (i.e. trail or road access) on the property before it is sold.  The only cost to Larimer County in accepting this temporary easement is Jerry’s and the county attorney’s time for reviewing the easement language. 

 

John wanted to take the opportunity to say that he enjoys the good relationship between the City and the County and he is looking forward to working together on coordinating the management plans for the Red Mountain ranch and Soapstone properties.  John said he has a new Board and perhaps it would be good to have a joint board meeting.  Everyone will be invited to a field trip on Soapstone this year.

 

·  Financial Summaries for the Acquisition Fund for 2005 and 1996-2005.

Lori reviewed the financial spreadsheets provided in the packet. 

§  Sources of Funds summary:  Altogether it is $326,000 more than projected for 2005 due to higher than estimated sales tax revenue and better interest rates.

§  Uses of Funds summary: Administrative costs are 12% less than budgeted because we re-reviewed salary spits and moved some costs to the management fund from acquisition.  Duck Lake saved $121,000 because we put in a cheaper system and didn’t have to buy water rights.  Projects are still getting same things done but for cheaper! 

 


 

·  Forest Management Priorities 2006-2008

Meegan distributed three handouts and reviewed the history of this program The first page is a summary of accomplishments for 2003-2005.  She then reviewed highlights at each 5 properties that are addressed in this forest management project (Ramsay-Shockey, Culver, Hughey, Horsetooth Mountain Park and Carter Lake).  Meegan then reviewed the handout for forest management plans for 2006-2008. 

·  Draft Accessibility Policy – This was developed in response to a call as to what our policy is on ADA accessible trails.  Meegan reviewed a handout that she and Ernst put together.  Current trails in our system that are ADA accessible are a portion of the Sundance Trail at Carter Lake and a portion of the Besant Trail at Ramsay-Shockey.  Bill suggested we have a handout to give to handicapped people about where these trails are.  Jean suggested brail on our signs to accommodate visually impaired people. 

·  2006 Open Lands Program Work Plan – Every year Open Lands staff outline their goals for the coming year, which are then put in to a Work Plan for the program.  K-Lynn briefly reviewed the plan.  Bob requested that any negotiations regarding trading portions of Red Mountain Ranch for easements on adjacent lands be put on hold until a policy on such actions is developed and approved.  K-Lynn said she would reword the Work Plan.  Peter said he would like this on the discussion section next meeting.

 

ACTION:

·  Small Grants Program – committee is Sue, Jean, Bob, and Duane.  Ernst handed out a new summary to replace the one in the packet. There were 16 applications requesting $28,197 and they are recommending funding for 9. Ernst reviewed the grants recommended for funding.  Applicants recommended for funding were:

Colorado Youth Outdoors                                $1,000

Envirnomental Learning Center              $500

Front Range Community College                       $2,000

Glacier Views Meadows HOA             $500

Larimer County Weed District              $870

Pingree Park                                                     $1,000

Rocky Mountain Flycasters                               $1,900

Northwest Neighbors HOA Phase II                $1,000

Turning Point Center, Waverly School   $900

TOTAL                                                           $9,670

 

Bob said that the subcommittee will be meeting again soon to reevaluate the criteria for the program and provide more concrete guidelines in the application.

 

Lori moved to approve the subcommittee's recommendations for funding the above projects.  Bill seconded and the motion passed unanimously.  Bob recused himself from voting as he is involved with Rocky Mountain Flycasters.

           

·  Pleasant Valley Trail Management Plan – Ernst asked if there were any questions from his presentation on this plan last month.  Bob said he thinks it is very important to get the trash picked up particularly near the school, so may be we can get the school to adopt the trail.

 

Bob moved to recommend adoption of the Pleasant Valley Trail Management Plan by Gary.  Jean seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

·  Letter of support for the Horsetooth Mountain Park Trailhead Improvement Project for GOCO grant application.  Kerri reviewed the need for the letter in the grant application.

 

Sue moved to approve submitting a letter on OLAB's behalf once a date is added to the draft letter.  Jean seconded and the motion passed unanimously. 

 

DIRECTOR REPORT:  Gary said the Parks and Open Lands Department will have two new employees in 2006.  Jack Naus, a ranger at the Horsetooth District is retiring and Patricia Brennan will be getting some fulltime help with the Volunteer Program.

 

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION:  (24-6-402(4) (a)C.R.S. Purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer or sale of any real or personal property interest. Sue motioned to go into Executive Session.  Duane seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

 

 

The meeting was adjourned by a motion from Duane.  The motion was seconded by Sue and carried unanimously.  The meeting was adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

 

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