Conservation Committee


January 10, 2007


Those present were Wayne Schnell, Kirk Cunningham, Bev Baker, Linda Batlin, Todd Sanford, Mary Skumanich, Deirdre Butler, and Sarah Silver. Sarah is a relatively new member to our Group and is also active with the Sprawl and Transportation Committee.


* National Forests (Todd Sanford). Todd had no discussion items, since Arapaho-Rossevelt National Forest activity seems to be low this time of year.

* Open Space (Wayne Schnell). Wayne is trying to interview Susan Connelly, Executive Director of the Chautauqua Association, regarding that Association’s tentative proposal to try to build a hotel on nearby Open Space, however, so far he has been unsuccessful. He will keep trying. He will also be attending a public meeting of the Open Space and Mountain Parks Dept. later this month regarding the Department’s trails program. Wayne also mentioned a recent news story about a ski area near Chamonix, France which was not operating because of lack of snow.

* Wildlife (Deirdre Butler). Deirdre had several issues:
a) Because of some extra Sierra Club positions she has taken on, she is soliciting more active members in the Wildlife Committee.
b) She participated recently in a multi-group meeting to discuss two open slots on the Colorado Wildlife Commission and to devise some questions to address to potential candidates, to the environmental community, to sportsmen’s groups, and to the Governor’s office. One of the slots is supposed to be a county commissioner and the other is supposed to be a representative from a sportsmen’s group.
c) Mountain lions have been in the news recently because of the efforts by the Wildlife Commission to convince Front Range Open Space managers (including Boulder County’s) to allow lion hunting on their properties. Meanwhile, Open Space staff are asking the public to contact them regarding any sightings or apprehensions about, mountain lions on Open Space.
d) She has applied to the national Sierra Club for a modest grant to raise public awareness about a Forest Service proposal to poison a large number of prairie dogs on grasslands of the Nebraska National Forest (which includes Nebraska and South Dakota). She is working closely on this with the Chapters in Nebraska and South Dakota, and with the Prairie Dog Coalition.

* Water Quality (Kirk Cunningham). Kirk is following a possible action of the City of Boulder’s Water Resources Advisory Board to improve the quality of the fluoridating agent for Boulder’s water supply. Although the IPG-endorsed anti-fluoride ballot initiative lost last November, the WRAB did promise to look for a cleaner source of fluoride.

* Toxics/Pesticides (Kirk Cunningham). Kirk works closely with a committee on pesticide use reform operating under the auspices of the Rocky Mountain peace and Justice Center, and with the Chapter’s Pesticides Chair, Angela Medbery. One long-standing issue is the scientific credibility of the County’s weed control program on County open space and along highways. Kirk and others are of the opinion that the County relies too heavily on chemical pesticides to control weeds, and this has consequences for the environment, for human health, and for the long-term sustainability of the County’s weed control program. Kirk works closely with prof. Tim Seastedt of CU’s EPO Biology Dept. to encourage the County staff to make greater use of weed control insects and to approach weed control from a more ecological perspective. Those who would like to read the comments Kirk made on this topic at a recent County Commissioners hearing should contact him at


(See below for ideas suggested so far)
A conservation project is one which does some practical good, serves as a unique Sierra Club activity, AND is capable of engaging more of our nearly 5000 Boulder County members. After some discussion in the Committee, a consensus emerged that we should endorse the Climate Action proposal below because it could include a large number of different suggestions for saving energy or using renewables. If that option is adopted by the IPG Executive Committee, then the Conservation Committee will need to help flesh out what subprojects would be best.

4. ADJOURNMENT. About 8:45

Kirk Cunningham, Conservation Chair


Achieve in ‘‘07 - Updated - new project ideas

Project Suggestions for 2007
What fun it would be in 2007 for IPG as a whole group to focus on a small number of key projects that can realistically be completed in a 12 month period! The goal being at the end of 2007, we can all look back and congratulate ourselves on a job done well and to completion!
To start off, we’’ll need to jointly identify these projects. No particular rules about what they might be other than relevant to IPG/ Sierra Club –– could be internally or externally focused, might be related to a particular committee and a current activity or something totally new.
Let’s brainstorm ideas by adding to the list below. For the moment, keep this to bullet points (no detailed descriptions of why’’s and where fore’’s –– that can come later) and include your name. Deadline for submissions to the list is Sunday January 7th 2007.
After this date, we’ll each be responsible for providing details of why we think our project should be chosen. This will take place between Jan 7th and Friday Jan 19th.
Deadline for details on your proposed project is Friday January 19th.
On Jan 21st at the ExCom/ General meeting we’ll all vote and decide on 3 projects to work on for 2007. If a project gets completed before the end of 2007, we’ll work on the 4th most popular project, and so on.
Email your project ideas to me, Deirdre at I’’ll update the list and send out again for everyone to review. After Jan 7th, or before if you like, email our project description to me and this will be added to your project “title”.
* Update MUIR member data base and add in email addresses (Deirdre Butler)
* 100th Human Initiative (Deirdre). This is aimed at working with an NGO called ConservED to study the energy-using habits of 100 families in the Boulder area, and devise ways in which those families can conserve more energy in a cost-effective way.
* Cool Cities in East County (Steve Welter). This project (an extension of one begun in Denver suburbs this past year) attempts to get municipalites to commit themselves to energy conservation or alternative energy practices to address the Kyoto Protocols.
* Conservation Service Project (Kirk Cunningham). Examples could be the joint Sierra Club/Forest Service/ORV group wetland restoration project last September, tree planting and weed-pulling at Sawhill Ponds Open Space, and the Boulder Audubon restoration project mentioned below.
* Wildlands Restoration Volunteers and IPG joint restoration project (Deirdre)
* IPG Tag-Team for City, County and Commission meetings (Kirk). Although this should be an important activity for the IPG and would increase our credibility with local governments, it is not a project that would involve many members.
* Boulder County Audubon and IPG co-adopt newly designated Important Bird Area stretching from Sawhill Ponds east along the Boulder Creek floodplain to the heron rookery at Culver Farms (Kirk)
* Boulder Transit Village: insure Green Building is required (Betsy Hand)
* Boulder Transit Village: insure designated trails, paths, sidewalks and alleys are required (Betsy)
* Support Climate Action in Boulder (Betsy). This would involve a number of small projects to encourage our members to adopt energy conserving measures.
* Regroup for Transit and Trails ballot issue (Betsy)
Just to confirm, the idea is this is something for everyone to work on regardless of what committee(s) we might also be supporting. Each Committee will still have their own specific projects to be completed in 2007.
We can use these projects as an outreach tool to our members –– encouraging them to get more involved. In 2008, we’’ll need IPG to be an even more legendary “mean machine” to achieve our various political aspirations.
Get those left-brains working!

Deirdre Butler
Vice Chair
Sierra Club - Indian Peaks Group
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