Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY BOARD (EAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

October 8, 2013

 

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Guests:

Melissa Chalona

 

Rich Grossmann, Health & Environment

Chase Eckerdt

 

Jessica Schurich, Colorado Mosquito Control Inc

Michael Jones

 

Two CSU students not listed on the sign-in roster

Evelyn King

 

 

Ryan McShane

 

Staff :

Joseph Wilson

 

Doug Ryan

 

Introduction of Members and Guests:

Those in attendance introduced themselves.

 

Discussion Items:

Zoonosis.   Rich Grossmann provided an update on zoonosis (diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people) activity for 2013, with an emphasis on the outbreak of terrestrial rabies originating in the skunk population.  There have been no diagnosed cases of plague, tularemia or hantavirus in people or other animals in the county to date.  There have been a large number of positive tests for rabies in animals so far this year (9 bats, 34 skunks, 3 raccoons, 3 fox, 1 feral cat).  A total of 33 people have gone through post-exposure rabies prophylaxis this year.   In the recent past animal rabies in Larimer County was limited to bats.  The introduction of a strain of terrestrial rabies in wild skunks is a significant public health issue.  People, pets and wildlife are all at increased risk of rabies exposure because of the higher probability of contact with skunks vs. bats.  Mr. Grossmann noted that a variety of groups and agencies are involved as partners in testing and reacting to rabies cases.  He noted that the partnership with the Larimer County Humane Society is particularly important in this regard, and that the Department of Health and Environment could not be nearly as proactive in responding to potential animal cases that warrant rabies testing without their involvement.  The Department has extensive updated information about rabies on their website at http://larimer.org/health/ehs/rabies.htm

 

Jessica Schurich updated the Advisory Board on West Nile Virus and mosquito control activities for the just-ended summer season.  West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne viral disease that is maintained through a transmission cycle between birds and mosquitoes.  The first human cases of WNV occurred in Colorado in 2003.  Colorado Mosquito Control Inc. contracts with the County and several surrounding cities and towns for mosquito monitoring and control.  Ms. Schurich used a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate mosquito biology, integrated mosquito management practices including the use of bacterial larvicides (Bti & Bsph – containing dormant bacterial spores), and the location of mosquito traps and WNV test results.  This season the risk of WNV transmission to humans was elevated due to the number of Culex species mosquitoes, and test results showing higher infection rates in mosquito pools.  Spraying for adult mosquitoes was conducted in several cities and towns in response.  As of October 1, there were 84 diagnosed cases of WNV in people in Larimer County.  Of those cases, 11 were the more serious forms of meningitis and 5 of encephalitis. 

 

Prevention remains an important way that people can take to limit mosquito bites and transmission of the virus.  The Department’s website has information about WNV and actions people can take on its website at http://larimer.org/health/cd/westnile.asp.

 

Environmental Stewardship Awards.  The EAB Stewardship Awards Committee members for 2013 are Cassie Archuleta, Chase Eckerdt, Ryan McShane and Joe Wilson.  The committee met on October 1 to consider initial recommendations for this year’s stewardship award nominations.  Ryan McShane led a discussion with the full EAB about the nominations.  At the conclusion of the discussion, the consensus of the members was to recommend five nominations for consideration by the County Commissioners.  Doug Ryan will meet with the Commissioners to outline the EAB recommendations.  Mr. Ryan noted that as in the past all twelve nominations will be presented to the Commissioners. 

 

Bylaw Revision & Name Change.   The EAB discussed the topic of a name change to reflect the Commissioners concept of the advisory board as a science-based board.  See the June 2013 EAB minutes for an account of that discussion.  A proposed bylaw revision changing the name to the Environmental and Science Advisory Board was presented as part of the agenda package.  After a short discussion, Evelyn King move and Chase Eckerdt second a motion to approve the bylaw revisions.  The motion passed unanimously.  The changes will be forwarded to the County Commissioners for their consideration and final approval. 

 

Approval of April & September Minutes:

Minutes from the August and September 2013 meetings were approved as presented.

 

Updates:  

Doug Ryan provided a brief update on County activities regarding the September floods.  The initial response focused on life safety and rescue.  A disaster assistance center was then opened in Loveland and staffed for 2 ½ weeks as a one-stop assistance service with City, County, State and Federal offices as well as private aid organizations.  Flood debris is being removed from public right of way areas, and progress has been achieved on opening county and state highways.  Additional information on the flood response is available on the county’s website at www.larimer.org under “emergency information”. 

 

EAB Issue Index:

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

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 8:15 PM

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