Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY BOARD (EAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

January 11, 2011

 

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Commissioner:

Ruben Blanco

 

Lew Gaiter

Melissa Chalona

 

 

Michael Jones

 

Staff :

Kimberly Karish

 

Doug Ryan

Evelyn King

 

 

Ryan McShane

 

 

Kate Muldoon

 

 

Earlie Thomas

 

 

 

Discussion Items:

Maxwell Ranch wind farm.  Kimberly Karish provided a status update on the proposal by Colorado State University Research Foundation (CSURF) to site a wind farm on the Maxwell Ranch in northern Larimer County.  The CSURF partner, Cannon Power Group, pulled out of the project in December.  Cannon indicated that the project was not commercially attractive at this time.  Dr. Karish indicated that one reason for this decision was difficulty in securing a commitment from an electric power provider to use the power and provide the electrical interconnect.  This is a crucial aspect of the project because it relates to the route and connection for a transmission line from Maxwell Ranch to the power distribution system.  CSURF will need to find another suitable partner if the project is to proceed in the future.  The EAB decided to classify the status of this project from active to watch on its issue index used to track projects of interest. 

 

Regional Watershed Supply Project EIS.   Kimberly Karish provided a status update on the process for preparing an EIS for the Regional Watershed Supply Project.  The Army Corps of Engineers is the lead agency for the EIS.  The Corps is working with the project proponents (the Million Conservation Resource Group) on the Purpose and Need statement, which is required prior to moving forward on the EIS process.   The emphasis of the Purpose and Need will be on obtaining firm commitments from stakeholders committed to purchase water from the project.  The Army Corps needs to have a well-defined project in order to identify and evaluate a range of alternatives as required under federal law.  At this point a draft EIS is estimated in 2016.

 

Magnesium chloride road treatment.   Doug Ryan reported on an update he received from Dale Miller in the Road and Bridge Department regarding the use of magnesium chloride for dust and roadbed control on County gravel roads.  The County has been phasing out the use of magnesium chloride for dust control and has substituted a lignin sulfonate binding agent called X-Hesion.  Previous studies performed by Colorado State University researchers in partnership with the County have shown that in some mountain areas magnesium chloride salts cause damage to evergreen trees, or leach into the soil adjacent to roadways.  At this point the Road and Bridge Department estimates that by the end of 2011 they will only use magnesium chloride for dust control in limited special circumstances where other materials are not effective.   

 

NISP EIS.  Doug Ryan reported on an update he received from Chandler Peter, the Army Corps of Engineers project manager for the Northern Integrated Supply Project EIS.  The supplemental draft EIS that was expected to be releases this summer has been postponed until the end of 2011.  The main reason is that more time has been needed to prepare the hydrologic model to allow examination of changes to the Poudre River.  The model results are needed for the resource teams that will be evaluating fisheries and aquatic insects, wetlands, riparian zones, geomorphology and water quality. 

 

Ozone air quality.  Doug Ryan provided an update on planning for ozone air quality attainment in the Denver Metro North Front Range area.  The Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) has released a request for proposal for technical assistance for emissions inventory and photochemical modeling to support the preparation of an Ozone Action Plan and State Implementation Plan.  This work is necessary because the region is classified as non-attainment for the national 8-hour ozone air quality standard that was adopted in 2008 and is expected to be further strengthened in 2011.  The RAQC, working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is planning on a significant stakeholder involvement process similar to what occurred for the 2008 Ozone Action Plan.  Important issues that the County may choose to be involved in include the selection of emission reduction scenarios for computer modeling, and the evaluation and selection of the final emission reduction package to include in the final plan. 

 

Regional Transportation Plan.  Evelyn King provided information on the planned update of the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).  The 2035 RTP is a long-range plan prepared by the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).  The Colorado Department of Transportation has divided the state into fifteen transportation planning regions (TPRs), each of which is required to prepare a RTP.  These RTPs are used as the basis for the formulation of Colorado’s Long Range Statewide Transportation Plan. The current 2035 Plan is required to be updated every four years.

 

The MPO, as the lead air quality planning agency for Fort Collins and Greeley, is also responsible for air quality conformity determinations on its plans and programs. Thus, the original RTP was subject to a conformity determination, which was positive, and received concurrence from the State Air Quality Control Commission as required by Colorado regulations.  Ms. King noted that current 4-year update is classified as a minimal update and is not expected to result in significant changes, but will be subject to the same conformity determination as the original Plan.  She will follow the planning process and update the EAB as appropriate. 

 

Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse.  Michael Jones provided an update on the status of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to modify the areas of critical habitat for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse in Colorado and Wyoming.  The revised final rule was published on December 15, 2010 and has added about 200 miles of riparian habitat, or approximately 35,000 acres, to the protected habitat.  Information about the rule and the mouse is available at: http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/preble/

 

BCC Liaison Comments:

Commissioner Gaiter attended the meeting and indicated that he was pleased to be the liaison to the EAB again in 2011.  He noted that a number of topics on the EAB’s issue index are expected to be important during the year, including the Bald Mountain radio tower issue. 

 

Approval of December 2010 Minutes:

Minutes from the December 14, 2010 meeting were approved as presented.

 

Updates:

EAB members Melissa Chalona and Evelyn King are scheduled to attend the Solid Waste Department’s “World Café” meeting on January 27. They will provide an update for the Advisory Board at a future meeting. 

 

EAB Issue Index:

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

 

February Meeting Agenda:

Doug Ryan will consult with EAB Chair Jennifer Lee regarding items for the next meeting.  If only update items are to be scheduled, the meeting may be postponed until March.

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 7:30 PM

Background Image: Rocky Mountain National Park by Sue Burke. All rights reserved.