LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL AND SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD (ESAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

March 10, 2015

 

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Guests:

Jeremy Deuto

 

Meegan Flenniken, Natural Resources Dept.

Michael Jones

 

 

Kimberly Karish

 

Commissioner:

 

 

Lew Gaiter

 

 

 

 

 

Staff :

 

 

Doug Ryan

 

The meeting on this date was conducted as an informational meeting because a quorum was not present. 

 

Discussion Items:

Energy by Design planning process and recent State Land Board lease activity.   Meegan Flennikan provided a follow-up to Kimberly Karish’s report in February about the Energy by Design planning process and specifically the leases in late February of a number of State Land Board (SLB) mineral leases on Meadow Springs Ranch, Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Red Mountain Open Space.  The interest in the leases is due in part to the potential for oil and gas, primarily in the Codell formation – which occurs under the Niobrara formation that is the subject of so much exploration in Weld County.

 

Six parcels that were incorporated as part of the Energy by Design planning process were leased to White Eagle Exploration.  The leases are for a five year period.  Ms. Flennikan noted that the Energy by Design process identifies three types of areas: those with high cultural or natural resource values where no drilling is allowed, intermediate areas where drilling and related activities are allowed with mitigation identified in the plan, and preferred areas where oil and gas development would result in the lowest levels of impact.  The lease offers specified that any development must be consistent with the plan.  Now that the leases have been issued, it is anticipated that plans for drilling and access will be developed under the direction identified in the plan. 

 

Larimer County Open Lands Master Plan.   Meegan Flenniken discussed the current process for updated the Open Lands Master Plan.  The initial phase of the update consisted of the Our Lands our Future planning process.  That process included public outreach that was designed to produce statistically significant information about attitudes concerning open space acquisition and management from the community.  Ms. Flennikan indicated that the top two priorities for the public are the acquisition of open lands for either recreation or conservation purposes, and development of trails.  The update to the Master Plan reflects those priorities.  Information about the Open Lands Master Plan process is available at http://larimer.org/olmasterplan/.

 

Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Project.   Meegan Flennikand described a new project to introduce bison to a portion of Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Red Mountain Open Space.  The initial parcel is approximately 100 acres in size, and was identified for both natural resource and public education values.  The project is intended to promote conservation values both for the pasture range, and for bison genetics.  Partners for this project include Larimer County, the City of Fort Collins, Colorado State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.  The first release of bison into the pasture is schedueld for November 2015.  Additional information is available at http://www.larimer.org/bcc/150210/LaramieFoothillsBisonProject%20%286%29.pdf

 

Activities related to the NISP water project and future design activities.   Jeremy Deuto reported that the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District recently released a Request for Proposal for Preliminary Design and Phase I Geotechnical Investigation for the Glade Reservoir Project.  The contract will cover preliminary testing and design intended to allow the Conservancy District to refine their cost estimates in parallel with the U.S. Army Corp’s NEPA permitting process.  It is expected that the Supplemental Draft EIS will be released this summer.  The ESAB will be reviewing the EIS and providing comments for the County Commissioners.  Additional information about the proposed water project is available at http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Missions/RegulatoryProgram/Colorado/EISNISP.aspx.

 

County floodplain regulations.   Doug Ryan provided a brief background report on the county’s floodplain regulations ahead of the March 11 Joint BCC/Planning Commission work session.  Based on recent public input, the County Commissioners want to evaluate the possibility of changing the floodplain regulations to allow dwellings that are destroyed in a floodway to be rebuilt under certain circumstances.  Currently buildings in the floodway that are substantially damaged (> 50%) cannot be rebuilt.  The floodplain regulations are part of the land use code, which involves the Planning Commission in an advisory capacity, and the Commissioners as the adopting body.  The Commissioners and the Planning Commission have a joint work session each month, and they plan to discuss floodplain regulations at their March work session.  They have invited both the ESAB and the Floodplain Review Board to attend this work session and to provide input to the discussion. Following the work session, the plan is to develop a proposed revision to the floodplain regulation, and to ask ESAB and the Floodplain Review Board to formally comment on the revisions as part of their regular April meeting agendas.  A series of public informational meetings is planned.  Additional information about those meetings is available at http://larimer.org/news/newsDetail.cfm?id=2751

 

ESAB Issue Index:

Doug Ryan will update the Issue Index related to the topics discussed at the meeting.

 

April & Meeting Agendas:

April – review & comment on draft floodplain regulations. 

May – tour of the Rawhide Energy Station.

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 7:50 PM