LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMETNAL ADVISORY BOARD (EAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

October 10, 2006

 

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Guests:

Sanjay Advani

Devin Odell

Nicole Seltzer, NCWCD

Mike Erickson

Tom Sneider

Ernie Marx, CSU Extension Office

David Gilkey

Sherm Worthington

Kate Muldoon

Jennifer Lee

Bill Zawacki

Heather Knight

Dale Lockwood

 

Josh Zaffor, Rocky Mountain Chronicle

 

 

 

 

 

Commissioner:

 

 

Karen Wagner

 

 

 

 

 

Staff:

 

 

Doug Ryan, Health & Environment

 

Introduction of Members and Guests:

All in attendance introduced themselves.

 

Discussion Items:

NISP Water Project.

Nicole Seltzer, Water Resources Planning & Environmental Liaison for the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, provided an overview of the proposed Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP).  The proposed project includes Glade reservoir in Larimer County and Galeton Reservoir in Weld County, together with associated pipelines, canals and other infrastructure.  U.S. Highway 287 would need to be rerouted around Glade Reservoir.  The Army Corps of Engineers is the lead agency preparing the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project.  The EIS will evaluate NISP as the District’s preferred option, plus three alternatives including the no build option.  It is anticipated that the Advisory Board will review the draft EIS in early 2007 and provide comments to the County Commissioners to assist them in their review.

 

The purpose of NISP is to provide the 13 participating water agencies with 40,000 acre-feet of new reliable municipal water supply annually through a regional project coordinated by the Conservancy District.  Ms. Seltzer provided information about current water use, and projected needs of the participants through the year 2050.   The District owns a 1980 water right on the Poudre River, which would be diverted to Glade Reservoir.  It is anticipated that water would be available under this right during periods of high spring flows for 5 out of every 10 years.   The amount of water available would provide about 40% of the 40,000 acre-feet annual yield.  Galeton Reservoir would utilize water rights on the South Platte River.  Water for Galeton would be diverted from the South Platte during winter months, and released to ditch networks during the summer irrigation season.  Those releases would be made in exchange for a like amount of Poudre River water owned by the ditch companies. The exchange Poudre River flows could then be diverted to Glade Reservoir to make up the remainder of the project’s 40,000 acre feet annual yield. 

 

The Advisory Board had a number of questions about how the baseline current water use was determined, the potential for conservation to lower the amount of water needed, and how conversion of water from agriculture to municipal uses would impact the project.  Ms. Seltzer indicated that available data shows that per capita water use among the participating water agencies is comparable or lower than other agencies in the region.  Future water needs are based on projected population growth and the current per capita use figures.  Conversion of additional water from agricultural to municipal use will be evaluated as one of the alternatives in the EIS.  It was noted that this agricultural conversion alternative would allow a smaller Galeton Reservoir, but would not affect the size for Glade Reservoir. 

 

 

 

Rural Acreage Stewardship Specialist.

Ernie Marx discussed a proposal for a matching grant to fund a Rural Acreage Stewardship Specialist position to be housed in the Fort Collins Natural Resources Conservation Service field office.  Funding would be shared by Larimer County, and the Big Thompson and Fort Collins Conservation Districts.  Other partners, including the CSU Extension Office, would provide in-kind services.  The primary objective of the position would be to work one on one with landowners on the development and implementation of natural resource management plans to address important resource concerns.  A secondary objective would be to provide community education through tours, seminars and workshops for rural landowners.  The Larimer County funding portion, at about $25,000 for the first year, will be presented to the County Commissioners as a service package in the 2007 budget proposal.  Mr. Marx pointed out that the Advisory Board had been very supportive of the idea of providing rural landowner education when they reviewed a previous proposal for livestock regulations under the County’s land use code.  He asked the Advisory Board if they felt the Rural Acreage Stewardship Specialists position was a concept they would want to recommend to the County Commissioners.  The EAB indicated that this was the type of educational service that would help landowners in managing their properties.  Devin Odell moved, and Dave Gilkey seconded a motion authorizing the Chair to sign a letter of support for funding the County’s share of this position.

 

Environmental Priorities: Transportation.

Sanjay Advani discussed transportation issues with the Advisory Board as part of the EAB’s Environmental Priorities project.  He used a power point presentation to outline issues that he and Jim Skarbek identified for the initial discussion of this topic.  From an environmental perspective the major issues associated with the transportation include air quality, wildlife impacts, habitat fragmentation, runoff increases, and the cycle of increased road construction leading to “induced traffic”.  Daily vehicle miles traveled are increasing in the County, and traffic congestion and travel time are both on the rise and projected to worsen.  Potential ways to address these problems can include behavioral changes – such as encouraging carpooling or alternate transportation, use of alternate fuels and more efficient vehicles, and support for public transportation infrastructure.  Mr. Advani noted that exurban development increases automobile-dependency and is occurring at a rapid rate.  Initial suggestions for EAB action were offered.   These include: encourage transit development to decrease the growth of vehicle miles traveled, support for County moves to utilize alternative fuels and high-efficiency vehicles in their fleet, consideration of zoning/planning as it affects transportation, and potentially expanding the EAB’s inquiry to consider overall energy use.  Future discussions will be held about this issue and the other Environmental Priorities topics.

 

Environmental Stewardship Awards. 

The Advisory Board’s committee on Environmental Stewardship Awards, comprised of Mike Erickson, David Gilkey, Jennifer Lee, Vic Meyer, and Devin Odell, led a discussion about this years nominations for Environmental Stewardship Awards.  Thirteen nominations were received, and the members were previously provided copies of each nomination for their review.  The committee felt that five of the nominations were most deserving of consideration by the full EAB.  The main criteria they chose were local impact, educational value, and exportability of the concept.  The Advisory Board narrowed the selection down to four nominations to recommend to the County Commissioners.  Sanjay Advani made the final motion, with a second from Dave Gilkeky to forward the nominations to the Commissioners with a recommendation for four awards.

 

BCC Liaison Comments:

Commissioner Wagner noted that the Commissioners authorized a letter to the Air Quality Control Commission recommending approval of a rulemaking proposal to increase the standards for controlling volatile organic compound emissions from the oil and gas industry.  The regulation is necessary to keep the region in compliance with the Ozone Action Plan that was adopted pursuant to the Early Action Compact signed by the County Commissioners in 2004.

 

A meeting to review the Transportation Summit Executive Summary is scheduled for October 12.  Several EAB members attended the Summit, and are invited to attend this meeting.  The North Front Range Metropolitan Organization will hold their regular meeting following the review.  A related agenda item for the MPO will be to consider a request from the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance for a $78,000 grant to lead the effort to support a ballot item to support creation of a Regional Transportation Authority with taxing powers to fund transportation projects that are needed but lack State or Federal funding. 

 

Chair’s Comments:

Dale Lockwood indicated that he participated in the tour of the Red Mountain Open Space purchase.  He passed around a map and information sheet.  The purchase was made as part of the Laramie Foothills Mountains to Plains Partnership Project.  All of the 13,500 acres is protected by a conservation easement.  About 5,000 acres to the northern part of the property is planned for future public use with trails connecting to the adjacent Soapstone Prairie Natural Area owned by the City of Fort Collins.  Mr. Lockwood confirmed that the property contains a variety of important natural resources.

 

Mr. Lockwood noted a paper in the October 6 edition of Science describing an experiment confirming that the infectious prions associated with Chronic Wasting Disease in deer can be transmitted through saliva and blood. 

 

Approval of September Minutes:

Minutes from the September 12, 2006 meeting were approved as presented.

 

Updates: 

Dave Gilkey noted that researchers at CSU are collaborating on a new test to detect prions in water.  He will follow the research and alert the EAB if results prove promising. 

 

Bill Zawacki noted that the Big Thompson Watershed Forum and the City of Loveland are developing an adopt-a-waterway program to promote regular cleanup of certain river segments.

 

EAB Issue Index:

Doug Ryan will update the Issue Index related to the topics discussed at the meeting.  Two new issues were added to the index.  They are participation on the review of the Parks Master Plan, and consulting regarding green objectives for the County.

 

Next Meeting Agenda:

Next steps for the Environmental Priorities Project, and possibly review of the Parks Master Plan.

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 8:55 pm.