Loveland Bike Trail
 

LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY BOARD (EAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

August 14, 2012

 

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Guests:

Cassie Archuleta

 

Gary Darling, Larimer County Fire Recovery Coordinator

Melissa Chalona

 

Rich Grossmann, Larimer County Health & Environment

Derek Esposito

 

Jessica Schurich, Colorado Mosquito Control Inc.

Michael Jones

 

 

Kimberly Karish

 

Commissioner Liaison:

Evelyn King

 

Lew Gaiter

Brian McCluskey

 

 

Kiley McGowen

 

Staff :

Ryan McShane

 

Doug Ryan

Kate Muldoon

 

 

 

Introduction of Members and Guests:

Those in attendance introduced themselves.

 

Discussion Items:

High Park Fire.  Gary Darling provided an update on the County’s role in coordination and response to the High Park Fire.  Approximately 87,000 acres were burned, 259 homes or cabins were destroyed, and $22 million dollars in high-priority mitigation needs identified.  The County maintains extensive information about the fire and response activities on its website at http://larimer.org/highparkfire/

 

Mitigation needs related to water quality, erosion control, revegetation, and infrastructure protection are starting to be addressed by groups such as the Forest Service (for public forest lands), water utilities (districts and cities for watershed areas), Larimer County (for infrastructure such as roadways and culverts), the Colorado Department of Transportation (for Highway 14), and private landowners.  The Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) has extensive outreach to private landowners for technical planning and advice, and some anticipated limited loan or grant assistance.

 

Several groups have formed to assist with coordinating the long-term response to the fire recovery.  These include the Long Term Recovery Group of Northern Colorado which provides case-management for people who lost homes in the fire, the High Park Coalition, for coordinating non-government organizations such as Trout Unlimited and Flycasters, and a new Multi-Agency Group to consist of public and private groups involved in mitigation work. 

 

Zoonosis .  Rich Grossmann provided an update on zoonosis (diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people) activity for 2012, with an emphasis on the outbreak of terrestrial rabies originating in the skunk population.  There have been no diagnosed cases of plague, tularemia or hantavirus in people or other animals in the county to date.  There have been a large number of positive tests for rabies in animals so far this year (10 bats, 25 skunks, 1 raccoon, 2 bison).  A total of 21 people have gone through post-exposure rabies prophylaxis this year.   In the recent past animal rabies in Larimer County was limited to bats.  The introduction of a strain of terrestrial rabies in wild skunks is a significant public health issue.  People, pets and wildlife are all at increased risk of rabies exposure because of the higher probability of contact with skunks vs. bats.  Mr. Grossmann noted that a variety of groups and agencies are involved as partners in testing and reacting to rabies cases.  He noted that the partnership with the Larimer County Humane Society is particularly important in this regard, and that the Department of Health and Environment could not be nearly as proactive in responding to potential animal cases that warrant rabies testing without their involvement.  The Department has extensive updated information about rabies on their website at http://larimer.org/health/ehs/rabies.htm.  

 

Jessica Schurich updated the Advisory Board on West Nile Virus and mosquito control activities for the current  summer season.     West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne viral disease that is maintained through a transmission cycle between birds and mosquitoes.  The first human cases of WNV occurred in Colorado in 2003.  Colorado Mosquito Control Inc. contracts with the County and several surrounding cities and towns for mosquito monitoring and control.   Ms. Schurich used a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate mosquito biology, the use of  bacterial larvicides (Bti – containing dormant bacterial spores), and the location of mosquito traps and WNV test results.  The summer has been very dry, and the numbers of the Culex species of mosquitoes that most readily transmit the virus have been relatively low.  The number of mosquito pools that have tested positive for the virus was also low until a sharp spike for the traps collected during the first full week in August.  This increase in mosquito infection rates clearly shows that the risk of WNV transmission to humans has spiked, and that people should take precautions to  protect themselves from mosquito bites and the chance of WNV transmission.

 

Prevention remains the main activity that people can take to limit mosquito bites and transmission of the virus.  The Department’s website has information about WNV and actions people can take on its website at  http://larimer.org/health/cd/westnile.asp.

 

In response to a question about regulation of chemicals used for mosquito larval and adult control, it was pointed out that a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit has been issued for these uses, and the it will be fully implemented in 2013.  Jennifer Schurich indicated that her company is very involved with that process and has taken appropriate steps to ensure full compliance.  Information about the NPDES program for pesticide applicators is available on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment website at http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/wq/PermitsUnit/PermittingPesticides.htm.

 

BCC Liaison Comments:

Commissioner Gaiter welcomed the new members and thanked the Advisory Board for their efforts. 

 

Approval of July Minutes:

Minutes from the July meeting were approved as presented.

 

Updates:  

Kimberly Karish noted that CSU is no longer actively pursuing a partner to develop a wind farm at Maxwell Ranch.  This item was of interest to the EAB, and will be classified as inactive status. 

 

Melissa Chalona recently attended a forum on regional oil and gas development in Northern Colorado.  The meeting was a joint informational meeting of the Associated General Contractors of Colorado and the American Council of Engineering Professionals.  She also noted that the Fort Collins City Council is meeting the same time as the EAB meeting to consider potential regulations on oil and gas operations in the City.

 

Kimberly Karish noted that the Environmental Impact Statement for the Over the River art project on the Arkansas River between Salida and Canyon City proposed by the artist Christo has been approved by the Bureau of Land Management.  The project is not moving forward at this time however, because it is tied up with lawsuits and administrative appeals. 

 

EAB Issue Index:

Doug Ryan will update the Issue Index related to the topics discussed at the meeting.  A number of updates were made to the EAB member coordinator assignments on the index.

 

September Meeting Agenda:

Solid Waste, Appointment of Stewardship Awards Committee

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 8:50 PM

Background Image: Loveland Bike Trail by Sharon Veit. All rights reserved.