Conservation Committee

Minutes

March 5, 2008

THOSE PRESENT: Linda Batlin, Kirk Cunningham, Todd Sanford, Leah and Brandon Hollinder, and Deirdre Butler

1. INTRODUCTIONS.

Leah and Brandon Hollinder are relatively recent newcomers to Boulder who volunteered to cover Boulder County Open (as opposed to City) Space issues for the IPG. Leah works in the Denver area for Sports Authority and Brandon is a lawyer in Boulder. Their email address is Leahrose1215@aol.com.

2. NATIONAL FOREST ISSUES - Todd Sanford

There don’t appear to any local (i.e. Boulder Ranger District) issues of note, although Todd seems to have fallen off the Forest Service’s email and snail mail lists recently. Kirk will check his records and send him any mail that might be pertinent. Todd is playing a major role in planning and executing Wildlands Restoration Volunteers projects, most of which this coming year will be outside of Boulder County, so we need some ideas for some low-intensity local restoration projects. For example, it’s possible that there is the potential for a joint OHV group/Sierra Club restoration project in the Allens Park area, similar to last year. Deirdre is applying to lead a national Sierra Club work outing in 2009 or 2010, so she needs some ideas quickly for her preliminary application.

3. WILDLIFE - Deirdre Butler

* Boulder County Open Space’s rules on prairie dog management are being examined, with respect to a colony on Hall Ranch Open Space which is in trouble.
* Duck deaths at the Denver Metro Wastewater Treatment Plant are still a subject of concern. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is allegedly doing some research on the cause of death, but it seems that their research program is not well defined enough to yield useful answers. Kirk suggested to Deirdre that she contact our Chapter Pesticide Committee Chair, Angela Medbery, because she sits on a Denver Metro WWTP advisory board, to see what she knows.
* The deadline for comments to EPA on the preapproval of the use of the wildlife poisons M-44 and sodium fluoroacetate has passed, and now we await their decision.
* Wild Earth Guardians, formerly Sinapu, has filed a lawsuit against the Park Service for not adequately considering the reintroduction of wolves into Rocky Mountain National Park as an elk population control measure.

4. BOULDER COUNTY OPEN SPACE - Leah and Brandon Hollinder

Leah and Brandon have started their volunteer work with a bang by attending the most recent meeting of the County Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee (POSAC) to get educated about the issues that this County entity is dealing with. They have also attended a public meeting on the County’s Betasso Preserve Management Plan. In this case, the main issue is whether user-created trails in a new addition to that open space should be retained or reconstructed. For the moment, the new addition is closed to public access. Finally, they will be representing the IPG at a informal discussion group involving preservation and recreation groups (principally PLAN Boulder and FOBOS) about what uses should be allowed on open space. We should hear more about these discussions as time goes on.

5. TOXICS AND WATER QUALITY - Kirk Cunningham

Work is progressing with the City of Boulder Open Space and Water Utility Departments on Inner City Outings-based water sampling on Goose Creek. The City staff have helped us identify new potential sampling sites, and may even be able to offer free analyses for the samples we collect. One new sampling site is a somewhat mysterious iron-rich discharge at the intersection of the Goose Creek and Boulder Creek bikeways.

During the last few months, the City Water Utility has been operating a stakeholders’ group process for input to its draft source water management plan. Kirk has been representing the IPG on the stakeholders’ group, which includes approximately 25 citizens and City staff. Big issues addressed by the group have been, in order of importance:
* Water availability, i.e. how reliably the City’s water rights holdings will meet demand into the foreseeable future, including the impacts of climate change.
* Protection of non-municipal uses, like instream flows and irrigation water for farms on open space.
* Development of non-municipal water for hydropower. There is a potential to double electrical generation just within the existing water pipe system.
* Watershed management and protection of source water quality. Beetle-kill and fire, both in Boulder County and in western slope watersheds figure prominently here. The proposed Boulder Feeder Canal Trail was also a part of this discussion.
* Improvements in water treatment and conveyance infrastructure.

Pesticide use in the City of Boulder does not adequately protect those with young children and/or chemical sensitivies. This situation is likely to become more critical when/if pine bark beetles become a problem in the City’s trees. With others in the loose Coloradans for Pesticide Reform coalition, Kirk has been meeting with the new Environment Affairs Director, Jonathan Koehn, to explore the possibility of tightening up the requirements and enforcement of Boulder’s pesticide notification ordinance.

6. ADJOURNMENT. About 8:30 pm.

Kirk Cunningham