LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL AND SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD (ESAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

 November 13th, 2018

 

Members in Attendance:

Richard Alper

Rich Conant

Jim Gerek

Michael Jones

Evelyn King

Kirk Longstein

George Rinker

Katrina Winborn-Miller

 

 

 

Guests

Jennifer Kovecses, Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed

Shayna Jones, Big Thompson Watershed Coalition

 

Commissioner

Sean Dougherty – not in attendance

 

Staff

Shelley Bayard de Volo, Environmental Coordinator, Engineering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting Start:  Call to order 6:05 PM

 

Amendments or Additions to the Agenda:

None

 

Introduction of Members and Guests:

Members and guests introduced themselves. 

 

Citizen Comments:

None

 

Discussion Items:

 

Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed – Jennifer explained how the Coalition grew out of the need for watershed restoration following the Hewlett Gulch and High Park Fires. Initially 20 groups representing cities, county, multiple non-profits, federal and state resource agencies, and representatives from CSU participated.  The group realized the need for a more formalized coalition, and formed the High Park Restoration Coalition, and that transitioned into the Coalition that exists today. 

 

The Coalition consists of members from the City of Fort Collins, Larimer County, a stakeholder advisory committee, including representatives from the USFS, CFS, and private property owners. They facilitate working across juridictional boundaries among the coalition members, which is necessary if their restoration efforts are to be meaningful. 

 

Jennifer then explained how the coalition responded after the High Park Fire doing erosion control projects to protect water quality in the Poudre River.  They now focus on doing wildland fire mitigation projects, which involve fuels reduction on private properties.  They target their project locations on areas where the Forest Service is also doing fuels reduction work to increase acres treated. 

 

As part of future planning the Coalition has developed an upper Poudre River master plan and a lower Poudre River master plan.  Their focus is not so much on watershed health, but instead on watershed resilience - a system’s ability to absorb a large-scale stressor or change (like high intensity wildfire) and return to its equilibrium condition within a short period of time – to not transition into a new state condition.  They are focusing on identifying quantifiable resilience metrics against which they can compare metrics of their restoration achievements.  Jennifer showed a map of their project sites, which include future planning for work in Horsetooth Mountain Park and Elkhorn Creek.  This work addresses the needs identified in the County’s recently published Mountain Resiliency Plan, which reported that Larimer County is the 2nd most hazardous County in Colorado for wildland fire. 

 

Lastly, the Coalition does public outreach including a regular new column in the North Forty News and partnering with The Nature Conservancy, the USFS as well as others at community meetings and events.

 

Big Thompson Watershed Coalition – Shayna explained how the Coalition initially formed as a informal group of volunteers following the floods of 2013.  In 2014, the group secured grant funding from CWCB, as well as matching contributions from partners like Larimer County, to develop a Master Plan for post-flood recovery and to improve long-term resiliency and function. 

 

Shayna explained the two essential things rivers do - move water and rocks.  She explained how these two river functions influence the development and maintenance of habitats for fish, insects, invertebrates, and other wildlife.  As part of their work, the Coalition restores river function by enhancing/recreating floodplains and riparian habitats.  They also work to develop in-channel structures like riffles, pools and boulder cascades.

 

The Coalition continues its education and outreach efforts, including hosting volunteer days consisting of planting willows along streambanks. They also continue to work with many partners, including Larimer County.  They have partnered with various organizations on 17 projects, and will be constructing 4 projects in 2019, three of which are located near the mouth of the Big Thompson Canyon. Lastly, the BTWC is partnering with the CPRW on a small forest restoration project focused on using timber harvest to reduce fuels and stand density.  

 

 

Approval of Minutes:

Evelyn moved to approve the August minutes, and Jim seconded the motion with all in favor.   Evelyn moved to approve the September minutes, and Rich seconded the motion with all in favor.   Jim moved to approve the October minutes, and Evelyn seconded the motion with all in favor.  

 

Updates:  Topics of discussion were:

 

Comprehensive Plan – Rich, Matt, Katrina, and George attended the Comprehensive Plan Boards and Commissions Summit.  Each reported on their experience.  Matt provided a written summary of his experience.  

 

Katrina, Evelyn and Kirk attended the Community Choices meetings. Their involvement included reviewing the Plan’s Focal Areas and participating in an exercise where each participant “voted” (by placing stickers on boards) on the focal areas they thought were most important.

 

Wasteshed – Jim reported that the SWIMP (Solid Waste Infrastructure Master Plan) was well supported by the PAC at their October 19th meeting.  They will now take their recommendation back to municipal and County participants who will each approve the Plan.  The BoCC will take the plan up at their work session November 28th, and then will take a vote at an Administrative Matters meeting.  The Plan will then go to the Planning Commission for approval 

 

Intra-County Board Collaboration – Richard provided an update on the progress of getting the Board chairs together to discuss on how to move forward with collaborating.  He scheduled a meeting with some of the chairs in December.  Shelley will schedule a meeting with the Board’s staff persons in the new year.

 

Larimer County Water Projects – Jim will be attending the meeting scheduled for November 13th and will provide a summary to the Board at their December meeting.  Evelyn noted that the County had just approved being a cooperating agency on the upcoming expansions to Halligan and Seaman reservoirs.

 

 

 

Environmental Responsibility Policy – Richard explained that he spoke with Jeremy Call at the Comp Plan Community Choices meeting, and he informed Jeremy of the County’s Environmental Responsibility Policy.  Jeremy noted he wanted to see the policy and that they may want to tie it into the Comprehensive Plan somehow.  Shelley will send Jeremy the Policy document.

 

The Board then discussed how they should move forward with working on ideas for updating the Policy and including it in the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan.  Richard noted that he had emailed Sean and Linda and offered the ESAB’s assistance.  Some ideas the Board had were to update the policy since it was initially drafted in 2002.  They could provide the BoCC a draft example of ideas.  Richard suggested they form a task group to come up with a plan.  Katrina moved to form the task group, and Kirk seconded the motion, with all in favor of the motion.  Jim, Kirk, Richard and Katrina volunteered to be on the task group.

 

Ozone – Evelyn provided a brief update on the EPA’s report for ozone attainment over the past year.  Katrina commented that she saw the EPA moving the Front Range’s status to “serious”.  Methods for mitigating could involve emission trading/credits.  All agreed that this could be a big issue for 2019 and 2020, and that the ESAB should consider how they can/should be involved.

 

 

ESAB Issue Index:

No changes 

 

Next Meeting Draft Agenda:

The next meeting will be held December 6th.  Discussion items on the draft agenda include presentations on Forest Health.

 

Adjourn:

Jim moved to close the meeting, and Kirk seconded the motion.  The meeting ended at 8:55 PM