The role of the Advisory Board is to advise the Board of County Commissioners and appropriate departments on environmental and science-related issues that affect Larimer County

MINUTES

Date: January 8th, 2019

Time:   6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Location: Larimer County Courthouse Office Building, Carter Lake Meeting Room, 200 West Oak St

Fort Collins, Colorado

Contact: Shelley Bayard de Volo, sbayard@larimer.org or 970.498.5738

MEMBERS

 

STAFF

 

GUESTS

Richard Alper

X

John Kefalas*

X

 

Daniel Beveridge

X

Shelley Bayard de Volo

X

 

Richard Conant

X

Jessica Royer ǂ

X

 

Jim Gerek - Chair

X

Katie O’Donnell ǂ

X

 

Michael Jones

X

 

 

 

Evelyn King

 

 

 

 

David Lehman – Vice-Chair

X

 

 

 

Allyson Little

X

 

 

 

Kirk Longstein

X

 

 

 

George Rinker

X

 

 

 

Katrina Winborn-Miller

X

 

 

 

Vacant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X = present; * = commissioner liaison; ǂ = speaker

 

Call to Order:  6:04 p.m.

1.   Amendments or additions to the agenda - none

2.   Introduction of members, staff and guests – all who were present introduced themselves

3.   Public Comment - none

4.   Discussion Items

a.   Zoonosis annual update (issue 18.03):   Jessica Royer provided an update on zoonosis within Larimer County in 2018.   The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) relies on the Larimer Humane Society Animal Protection and Control to trap sick, injured or rabies-suspect wildlife and conduct follow-up calls to all persons who were involved in a pet and/or wildlife bite incident.  In 2018 there were 1025 initial bite investigations, requiring 2112 follow-up calls.

2018 was a big year for rabies, with 360 incident reports evaluated, where 235 pets were quarantined, and 31 humans underwent PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis).  The department found 45 skunks, 6 bats and 1 coyote to have rabies.  The LCDHE considered 2018 an epizootic year for skunks, indicating the skunk population was likely impacted by the disease.  For comparison, one skunk and 7 bats were positive for rabies in 2017, and thus far in 2019 one skunk is positive for the disease. 

Other zoonotic diseases that are endemic in Larimer County include West Nile Virus (WNV; 2018 = 17 humans, 1 alpaca, 21 raptors), Hanta Virus, Tularemia (2018 = 2 dogs, 1 beaver), plague and tick-borne diseases.

The board asked about why the prevalence of rabies in skunks was so high 2018?  Jessica noted that skunk population abundance typically cycles up and down over time, and when skunk abundance is high, disease increases because there is higher opportunity for transmission.  She also noted that over the last three years, winters have been unusually warm, which factors into decreased skunk mortality.    Commissioner Kefalas asked whether having a climate action resilience plan would help address the issues of zoonosis in the County.  Jessica indicated that it would.  There was also discussion on vector control for WNV, why the County does not spray for mosquitos or do larval control.  While the cities have programs, it’s difficult for the County to target areas to spray and not spray, because much of the landscape where WNV-carrying mosquitos exist is within private ownership.

b.   Syringe Disposal update (issue 11.02): Katie O’Donnell provided an update on the local Syringe Access Program (SAP).  The program is approved by the Larimer County Board of Health but is administered by the Northern Colorado Health Network (NCHN). The NCHN provides individuals a safe place to exchange their used needles for new ones.  As part of that process they meet with a counselor who can offer their clients services like HIV testing, sharps containers, naloxone and fentanyl testing strips. They can also help people with managed withdrawal from their dependency. Most people who use the services are functional in jobs and housing, and not homeless. Most program clients are insured through Medicare/Medicaid. Katie emphasized that data show that the program does not increase drug use. The NCHN also partners with local police and volunteers to clean-up sites where drug use is high, and discarded needles accumulate. 

c.   Opioid abuse update : Katie also talked about opioid abuse in the County and on the status of the pending litigation against the pharmaceutical companies that marketed OxyContin.  The Colorado Attorney General has joined with other states in the lawsuits, and Larimer County is participating.  Any compensation awarded from those suits will contribute to treatment programs.

5.   Approval of Minutes – Michael moved to approve the November minutes, and Kirk seconded the motion.  The amended minutes were approved by acclamation. David moved to approve the December minutes, and Ally seconded the motion.  The amended minutes were approved by acclamation

6.   Updates and Round Table –

a.   Housekeeping on meetings and member participation – Jim addressed the Board and thanked everyone for their confidence in him as the new chair.  He then presented Richard a certificate of appreciation for his service as Chair of the Board for the past two years.  Jim then asked the Board if they liked the meeting format of having speakers, even if their material is not directly related to something the board is currently working on.  Members expressed their opinions, which supported the idea that they liked getting updates on issues that were of interest. They also agreed that such a meeting format helps them keep up to date on issues that they may work on in the future.

b.   2018 Annual Report and 2019 Workplan – The Board revised the draft Work Plan by adding some language that clarified the importance of resiliency in management of forests, watersheds and emergency preparedness.  Michael moved to approve the report and work plan, and Kirk seconded the motion.  The report and work plan were approved as amended and will be forwarded to the Commissioners.

c.   Wasteshed Update :  Jim updated the Board on the Planning Commission’s consideration and approval of the Solid Waste Infrastructure Master Plan (SWIMP) December 19th, 2018.  The next Wasteshed Policy Advisory Committee meeting will be January 18th, 2019.   

d.   Strategic Plan : Jim provided an update on the County’s 2019-2023 Strategic Plan and the BCC’s consideration of including an objective to update the County’s environmental responsibility policy.  The BCC agreed that the policy should be updated and included it in the Plan as Objective 5, under Goal 3.  Shelley will monitor the planning team’s progress, and ensure they are aware of the ESAB’s willingness to assist.

e.   ESAB Applications :  Shelley provided an update on how the application process is proceeding.  Thus far, no one has applied for the vacancy and the Commissioner’s office decided to accept applications until the position is filled.  Commissioner Kefalas noted that he would like to see an effort to recruit applicants from minority groups (people of color and women).  Currently, all members are white and three the 11 board members are women.  Shelley noted that the most important qualification for sitting on the Board is that one has a background in science and understands how to approach an issue in a data-driven and unbiased way.  Commissioner Kefalas noted that there are plenty of scientists who are women and of color, and the Board agreed they could seek out science-based organizations that support such demographics. Jim noted that the Commissioners are the ones to appoint new members to the ESAB.    

f.   Environmental Stewardship Awards : The Awards kick off this month and the website is open to accepting nominations.  Shelley provided each member a hard copy of the announcement flyer and will email an electronic copy to members.   An ESAB committee will be selected in March to review the nominations and make recommendations for the BCC.

7.   Notations to the Issue Index - The issue index will be updated for tonight’s material.

8.   Agendas Topics for future meetings – The meeting topic for February is TBD.  In March, the Fort Collins Air Advisory Board will join the ESAB to get an update from Gordon Pierce, CDPHE, on air quality and compliance with EPA ozone standards.