LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL AND SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD (ESAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

 April 10th, 2018

 

 

Members In Attendance:

Richard Alper

Corey Broeckling

Richard Conant

Jim Gerek

Michael Jones

Kimberly Karish

Evelyn King

David Lehman

Matt Tobler

Joe Wilson

 

 

Guests

John Kaltenbach, Colorado Department of Agriculture

Dave Lentz, Larimer County Natural Resources

Allyson Little

 

Commissioner

 

 

Staff

Shelley Bayard de Volo, Environmental Coordinator, Engineering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting Start:  Call to order 6:04 PM

 

Amendments or Additions to the Agenda:

None

 

Introduction of Members and Guests:

All members and guests introduced themselves. 

 

Citizen Comments:

Allyson Little attended the meeting.  She has applied to the ESAB and wanted to learn about the Board’s current activities.

 

Discussion Items:

Emerald Ash Borer and Parasitic Wasps Biological Controls - John Kaltenbach, Colorado Dept. of Agriculture, presented on his department’s research and development of biological controls for the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).  He provided some background on the EAB and its occurrence in North America.  Although the pest was not discovered in the U. S. until 2002 (In Michigan), it was likely introduced in the 1990’s through shipping freight from east Asia.  The EAB impacts all ash tree species and mortality generally occurs within three years of a tree first exhibiting symptoms. 

 

John discussed the value of urban forests, which for the Denver Metro area was estimated at $551 million, mostly associated with property values. The proportion of ash within Front Range forests is ~15%. In Fort Collins it is 18% but represents 30% of the canopy.  The ecosystem services provided by trees includes reduced stormwater run-off, improvements in air quality, and reduced air temperatures from shading. 

 

The challenges faced by municipalities revolve around whether to remove or treat live ash trees now, or wait until trees die and remove them at that time.  Trees are in private and public ownership.  Treatments can be effective but are costly and require continued maintenance.  Removing trees involves the harvest and disposal of material.  If trees are infected, then disposal is more problematic.    

 

Treatments include pesticides, which can be injected into the trunk of the tree.  Trunk injections are effective but need to be repeated every 2-3 years.  Biological controls include the use of a natural predator of the EAB.  Several species of parasitoid wasps co-exist with the EAB in Asia, where they keep EAB populations in check. The Colorado Department of Agriculture began laboratory testing the use of four parasitoid wasp species as biocontrols.  Tests include standard protocols that involve ensuring the wasps would act as species-specific parasitoids here in North America and not parasitize native species.  The team added a 5th species from Russia, which occurs in northern regions above the 40th parallel, and which is analogous to conditions here.  It’s thought the Russian species might persist better in Northern Colorado.   

 

Once laboratory testing was completed on all five species, testing in the field was initiated in Boulder County.  The field experiments over the past four years (2014-2017) have gone well.  They are finding that some parasitoid species establish populations better that others. They are testing sites with and without the use of tree trunk pesticide injections and plan to sample experimental field plots for another three years.

 

Dave Lentz, Larimer County Forester, presented on how County facilities might be impacted by EAB.  He provided an accounting of the number of ash trees on the various County facilities and explained that each County department is managing its own response to the potential threat of EAB.  For example, Road and Bridge have elected to remove ash trees within County ROW along roads where dead trees will eventually pose a public risk.  Natural Resources is treating some trees, while removing others.  

 

 

Environmental Stewardship Awards - Jim Gerek presented the award committee’s summary of the nominations and their recommendations for the awards.  The Committee agreed unanimously that three awards were deserved.  A fourth nomination was the same entity as one of the others, so it was combined into that nomination.  The awardees to be recommended to the Board of County Commissioners are:

 

•   Estes Valley Watershed Coalition - Flood Mitigation and Stream Improvement Projects

•   Bestway Painting, Timothy Stolz - Paint and Stain Recycling Program

•   The Ridgeline Hotel - GreenPath Program Implementation

 

 

Approval of Minutes:

Evelyn King moved to approve the March minutes, as amended, and Kimberly Karish seconded that motion. The amended March minutes were approved by acclamation. 

 

Updates: 

 

After action review of Phase 1: Mountain Resilience Plan – Jim Gerek described how he assessed the effectiveness of his comments on the Phase-1 Comprehensive Plan.  He suggested that the Board conduct an after-action review of their comments and review process in preparation for the Phase-2 Plan. Richard Conant moved that the Board conduct a formal after-action review process, and Corey Broeckling seconded the motion, which was approved by acclamation.  Richard Alper asked the Board members that provided comments on the Phase 1 Plan to complete this review prior to the next Board meeting.

 

Phase 2 Comprehensive Plan:  Eastern Plains; stakeholder group representative – Richard Alper explained the request from Matt Lafferty that the Planning Department would like the ESAB to participate in the Phase-2 stakeholder group.  Richard Alper asked Richard Conant if he would represent the ESAB, with Matt Tobler as a back-up.  There will be five meetings and five informational meetings.  Both Richard Conant and Matt Tobler agreed to participate.

 

Fracking in Fort Collins – David Lehman provided some background information on the current fracking regulations in the City of Fort Collins.  Currently there is a 350 ft setback for active wells and the City is considering whether to increase that to 500 ft. For abandoned wells, the setback is currently 350 ft and the City is considering reducing that to 100-150 ft providing the well is capped to certain standards. While the City cannot restrict oil and gas drilling, they can legally take better control of how it is accomplished within City limits.  Currently, there are three gas producing wells within the City and perhaps 20 abandoned wells. The City noted they need to develop a database of producing and abandoned wells.  The subject is in preliminary discussions at the City and there are no plans for the City Council to take up the issue anytime soon.

 

ClimateWise and Larimer County green practices – Kimberly Karish presented a summary of what she learned regarding the County’s participation in the City of Fort Collins’ ClimateWise program.  Larimer County is a Platinum level partner, where they participated in 5/6 achievement areas.  In 2017 the County completed 37 initiatives.  All County buildings enacted the program, but only the activities of the buildings within Fort Collins City limits are reported.

 

Inter-county report – Joe Wilson provided a summary of the advisory boards active in the counties adjoining Larimer County – Boulder, Weld and Jackson Counties.  There are 34 boards in Boulder County and 20 boards in Weld County.  Jackson County does not have much in terms of advisory boards.  No other county has a science based advisory board.  Most overlap between Larimer and the other counties is in open lands and their boards of health.

 

Loveland’s BT River Corridor Master Plan Meeting 3/22 recap – Richard Alper provided some comments on how Loveland’s meeting went with the Larimer County Planning Commission. The Commission determined they would like the Flood Review Board to provide formal comments, but there was no request for ESAB participation because the majority of ways the Plan might impact Larimer County is through changes to the floodplain within the watershed.

 

ESAB Issue Index:

None

 

Next Meeting Draft Agenda:

The next meeting will be held May 8thh, 2018.  Discussion items on the draft agenda include a presentation on the Phase-2 Comprehensive Plan by Matt Lafferty, Larimer County Planning Department . 

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 8:45 PM