Conservation Committee

Minutes

November 5 2008

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

1. NATIONAL FOREST MANAGEMENT ISSUES – Todd Sanford

a) He has been following the debate among Colorado environmental community staff about the Colorado Roadless Rule and what position the community as a whole should take with respect to it. b) As the result of his recent lobbying trip to Washington DC to promote the nationwide wilderness bill (which included two areas in Colorado), he has become interested in following wilderness issues for the Rocky Mountain Chapter. Kirk said that he would make sure this interest got communicated to Kirby Hughes, the Chapter Conservation Committee co-chair. c) Todd read Rocky Smith’s comments on a fuel reduction sale in the Arapahoe-Roosevelt National Forest near Estes Park called the Glen Haven Project and OK’d a sign-on by the Rocky Mountain Chapter. d) Todd is interested in finding out more about proposed “bicycle-use-in-National-Parks” rules that the Bush Administration has proposed.

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

The informal consensus-seeking group set up by recreation-oriented and environmental groups to discuss trails in the Flatirons has failed to find consensus and will cease meeting. Instead, City staff will start a “Conservation Action Planning Process” that will begin soon and end with recommendations to advisory boards and City Council in 2010. The Process will include the following phases:
• Phase 1 – resource inventory and goal setting
• Phase 2 – define desired conditions
• Phase 3 – Develop a management plan and strategy for achieving it
Kirk said that the City’s approach (not atypical of other open space decisions) will require a more long term attention to process and detail on the part of stakeholders.

The proposed purchase by Boulder Open Space of a conservation easement on all of the Shanahan Ranch property (just south of the city limits) has proven to be controversial both because of the cost and because there would be no public access. The Open Space Dept. claims that the cost is merited because the property serves as a visual southern gateway to the city and the development that would otherwise be allowed might detract from that value. Purchase of agricultural lands for non-accessible open space has been a long-time sore point with recreation-oriented groups in Boulder.

The Coalton loop trail is being, or has been opened to public use. It’s a long loop especially sought by bikers.

3. WILDLIFE – Deirdre Butler

She and Kirk have an upcoming meeting with City Councilman Ken Wilson to discuss some problems with prairie dog colonies on City open space. Ken is taking a masters course in the CU EPO Biology Dept.

The City’s Grasslands Management Plan has come out in draft form for comment. Deirdre will be looking in particular at the prairie dog management parts, but comments on other aspects by others would be welcome.

The City has hired a new person for a new position: Urban Wildlife Coordinator. The person hired is Valerie Matheson, previously of the City’s Open Space and Mountain Parks Dept. She will be dealing with a large number of issues having to do with wildlife management in and around Boulder.

Deirdre is helping out with a project to relocate prairie dogs from the new Valmont City Park to an area north of the city limits east of Broadway.

4. MISCELLANEOUS

• Kirk is still working with the Boulder Valley Inner City Outings to do water sampling on Goose Creek in Boulder. The next sampling date is Friday, November 14th. Anyone who might have time during the workday and some knowledge of water sampling is welcome to help out. Usually 6 – 12 middle school students attend these outings.
• Kirk is working with an individual in Lafayette to try to get the Powers Marsh near Coal Creek east of the Lafayette city limits protected as open space. There is a good chance that this will happen eventually, but tight money makes it difficult immediately. Any Lafayette Club members on this list are encouraged to join this effort.

Kirk Cunningham, Conservation Chair
(303) 939-8519 / kmcunnin@juno.com