Conservation Committee

Minutes

July 2, 2008

1. THOSE ATTENDING: Kirk Cunningham, Brandon and Leah Hollinder, Deirdre Butler, Katy Finn

2. WILDLIFE ISSUES - Deirdre Butler

A. Deirdre is working with wildlife chairs in other chapters to get a change in the Club’s policies with respect to leg-hold and body-gripping traps. Her target is the national Club’s Wildlife and Endangered Species Committee (WESCOM), and more immediately, the Rocky Mountain Chapter and IPG Ex-Coms. If she and her co-workers can not get a change through WESCOM, then they are interested in getting an initiative on the yearly Club ballot.

B. Boulder City and County Prairie Dog Management. One result of the RMAD research study of prairie dogs on Boulder Open Space was that population thinning results in more reproduction, and that prairie dogs regulate their numbers when resources grow scarce. The RMAD study has relevance for the City’s Grasslands Management Plan, and for the County’s grasslands restoration program.

C. Corona Hill Prairie Dog Colony. Corona Hill is located on a part of Hall Ranch Open Space not open to the public. There was an active prairie dog colony there which helped feed a resident golden eagle, but which was wiped out by a plague episode. Deirdre has been trying to get County staff to recognize it as a prairie dog relocation site, but has been met with stonewalling.

D. SB 99-111- Bill Prohibiting Transport of Prairie Dogs across County Lines with Permission from the Receiving County. This bill has proved to be a very difficult barrier to prairie dog relocation from the Front Range to less populated sites. Deirdre has been researching ways to repeal this law, and Commissioner Will Toor has said that he supports that intent, and might lend some support from County legal staff regarding repeal/ amendment language.

2. BOULDER CITY AND COUNTY OPEN SPACE- Brandon and Leah Hollinder.

Brandon and Leah will be covering all aspects of city and county open space while City Open Space Chair Wayne Schnell takes a 6-month break. They have participated in collaborative group meetings on trail management in the Mountain Parks portion of City Open Space, and they will attend a tour/meeting on July 12th regarding grasslands restoration on County Open Space. They are looking for a copy of the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan, and more recent updates, especially as they deal with open space issues.

3. PESTICIDES - Kirk Cunningham.

Since the mosquito spraying season is cranking up, Kirk is working with other individuals and groups to reduce the use of adulticides in the County and in Longmont, in favor of prevention and larvacides. There appears to be some progress along this line in Longmont because of the recent election of a few somewhat sympathetic Council members.

4. WILDERNESS - Bill Ikler

Bill is following two issues:
A. The proposed Eclipse Snow Park in Gilpin County. This development has aroused the ire of local residents chiefly because of its impacts on the local road network, but also because of its likely impacts on wildlife migration corridors and on motorized use near and even inside the boundairies of the James Peak Wilderness. A potential big problem is that the development would require a land exchange with the US Forest Service, and now Udall has introduced a bill that may facilitate that land exchange without a proper environmental study. We are working with the locals on this matter.

B. Bike trails in the James Peak Protection Area. The Protection Area was part of Udall’s James Peak Wilderness Bill and encompasses some lands west of the Divide. There were some provisions to allow the bike trail, but we wanted to wait and see what would actually be constructed to gauge possible impacts on the Wilderness. Bill has not been able to access the high country because of a knee injury and would like the assistance of more able-bodied folks for this purpose. Contact Bill at 303-258-3858, or BI@nednet.net

5. SOUTHWEST REGIONAL OFFICE ACTIVITIES - Katy Finn

A. Due to activities leading up to an important election season, the SW Office has been hiring people to do different types of politics-related jobs, and now has three staff members. They are developing lists of possible Sierra Club election activists through phoning and through events like an upcoming “Lightbulbs to Leadership” series of housing parties, including one in Boulder on July 17th, and others in other cities in Colorado. Katy will start working on the more non-partisan aspects of the election, i. e. conservation-related ballot initiatives like the one on severance tax. Other staff members will focus in on more partisan races.

B. Meanwhile, the SW Office’s “Cool Cities” campaign is on-going and still in the market for more sign-ups from Colorado cities. Katy can be reached at 303-449-5595, or at KatyJFinn@GMail.com.

 

Kirk Cunningham, IPG Conservation Chair