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Fen Talk featuring Colorado wetlands expert Dr. David Cooper

The Telluride Institute’s newly formed Fen Advisory Project, Sheep Mountain Alliance and the San Miguel Watershed Coalition have teamed up with the Telluride Ski & Golf Company and the Wilkinson Public Library to offer a free presentation from Colorado State University’s Dr. David Cooper, who did the original work protecting the Prospect Basin fens during the Ski Area Expansion almost 20 years ago.

Cooper has worked on wetland issues in the Telluride area for nearly 30 years, including providing technical guidance for the restoration projects on the golf course and ski area.

A fen is one of the main types of wetland, the others being grassy marshes, forested swamps, and peaty bogs. Fens are peatlands, usually fed by mineral-rich groundwater. There are many types of fens, each characterized by distinct hydrologic and chemical regimes and vegetation. In Colorado, most fens are dominated by sedges and brown mosses.

In the San Juan Mountains fens play an important part in the health and resilience of forested landscapes, but also occur in the alpine zone.

Cooper and his graduate students have been working on a longitudinal study of the fens in the ski area’s Prospect Basin. He will talk on his world-wide wetlands work, the history of Prospect Basin project, what’s been learned so far and what might be expected to be learned in the future.

Telski’s Jeff Proteau and the Telluride Institute’s Dan Collins will give brief introductions, and local wetlands expert Chris Hazen will engage one-on-one in a discussion after Cooper’s talk, which will be followed by a public question and answer session.

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