federal lands, watershed coalitionHow Green is Your Valley?
Leader: Mallory Dimmit
Panel: Joan May
Mallory Dimmit: I am a local representative Nature Conservancy and on Town Council
Joan May: Sheep Mountain Alliance executive director, 350 members, public land work, monitoring projects
Gary Shellhorn: Forrest planner Gunnison National Forest, planning team, water resource planner, all phases of forest planning
Gary Hickox: San Miguel Conservation Foundation, which purchased Bear Creek, 320 acres, added 100 acres, works with town & Ophir, works with landowners
Amanda Clements: BLM Montrose, Paonia to Utah, ecologist, ground level, tracks health of the land
Mike Rozycki: County planner, works with commissioners, public, policies, land use development, the county is very large, 1200 square miles
The valley is really green this year because it's been so wet. We're
blessed, surrounded by public land, county is 68% public land, people take for granted that public lands are protected, we?re in a good state now, 40% of road less area has been lost. We notice it when it?s gone. Drilling is an issue, because of energy crises; houses built near fire areas are another issue.
County perspective is challenging, it covers a much greater area, there is a great diversity within the county. Should be proud of open space work with Telluride and Ophir, high country basins. High country master plan and zoning 2500 acres has gone to public. There has been little or no
development in the high country since 2003 when the plan went into action.
The county has purchased over 6000 acres to preserve. Gunnison Sage grouse group has been collaborating; the clean up of contaminated lands is good, work with the wetlands has been positive.
Telluride is a visionary community, especially in regard to open space.
1994 - 20% solution, 20% of all tax goes into open space fund to protect
open space, it?s a top priority for the community. There are a number of
organizations working very hard to protect open space. How do we get local government to get involved in open space protection? We have more than other places. Montrose is a good example of what we don't want. The Glen Erie restaurant used to be far on the outskirts of town, it's been torn down and the town now extends beyond its old location. We need incentives to protect open space. We are fortunate to have a pretty green valley
Forest service had substantial drought 2 years ago. Fire is a significant
problem. That fire burned more acreage than in the last 15 years. Forest service has to reduce fuel in the forest. Tried to grow big tall trees for lumber, they are also great fire fuel. Roads and access are an issue. The Forest Service manages the public forest for the public; there are many different types of people, many different interests. The Forest Service is trying to listen to locals, and others.
The BLM has instituted a mandate to ecological and land health; as a result of the standards they have been assessing the health of all the acres. San Miguel watershed is doing relatively well, it's not eroding very much, mostly dominated by native species, compared to Iowa, or Idaho where native species are mostly gone. Is pretty good health good enough? Do we need to strive for more? Threats are coming down the road quickly. Oil and gas development, plant communities are moving, noxious weeds and grasses are a threat. Don't take anything for granted. Nothing is static.
We live in one of the last great places. We have made amazing progress, but there are still issues. What would you do if you had all the money in the world?
We will never have unlimited funds, we are taking budget reductions.
Forest Service planning is supposed to be aspirational. Will continue to
manage forest for fuel reduction, water management, expensive water
development projects, forest plan, We would continue with the same
priorities if we had all the money in the world.
SMA. Lots of money for valley floor savings account. It's sad to see the
forest service lose so much funding. More shift to land protection than
development. Government change, citizens must make the change; we're in bad shape. Land use is not based on science, but on corporate profit right now.
Amanda: BLM, fewer people per acre, less guidance from the top. We can use creativity. More resources at the ground level, money to hire young graduates with the latest knowledge. Partnerships with nonprofits, we need a facilitator to coordinate different groups. It is critical to get the public to support agencies. Change anti government mindset, to make people understand that they represent the community
Bear Creek. More aggressive purchase of development rights. If we could pay people market value, I would like to focus on it
Mike Rozycki, Ames power plant, alternative energy, clean up, I think there are problems that money can't fix, sprawl, commuting, resources trucked in, lots of things don't create sustainability
BLM could start an intern program
Forest plan based on community input, if group can be involved or
individual, you will be heard. Tell the forest service what is right and
wrong, everything matters, involvement is key
People feel hopeless. There is a way to make a difference on a local level; the forest plan is a way. Mountains to Mesas is trying to protect open space from roads. Please contact the forest service; they depend on the forest users. Please write letters. Your land your rights, on mineral rights, oil and gas drilling can happen even if you own your land.
San Miguel County, more oil and gas regulations will be on the table in the next few months, sage grouse, green-building requirements, will be
mandatory. Citizens should be informed and opinionated.
Local citizens should join activist groups, we must work hard because we
don't have the backing, make your voices heard, talk about what you want your community to look like in the future.
Be responsible yourself, don't be a hypocrite
Q: Open space is being used as a reserve for developers, easements are better. How to we strengthen designation so it's safe or use it another way
A: Open space conflicts with affordable housing. Land must be set aside for housing they are both important.
Q: What are the differences between GMAG forest plan and forest management planning process, do we risk having the plan thrown out.
A: Level of partnership and collaboration is great between environmentalists and the government
It's hard to compromise on some subjects
Forest planning model has changed since white river. It's very complicated; you have to learn a lot before you can make an intelligent comment.
Meeting in Delta, task force about roadless areas
Nature Conservancy & Sheep Mountain, have looked at large landscape
ecosystem planning, where government doesn't they don't look at private
land, big picture is provided by those groups Forest service has tons of
November 2 meeting in Delta, maintaining road less areas is on a state not federal level now
White river forest plan, overturned by congress, you have to talk to them
when you disagree.
Oil and gas meeting, next day we got a call from Washington,
Talk to your elected officials
Hard to keep track of planning efforts,
We are moving toward accountability, sustainability