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An overview of the program status as of June 2019, by Art Goodtimes:

The Telluride Institute’s Prospect Basin Fens Project is into our second year working with Colorado State University’s Drs. David Cooper and Jeremy Sueltenfuss on a renewed five-year phase of the long-term Prospect Basin Fen longitudinal monitoring and remediation project.

The Prospect Basin Fens are our Southern Rockies’ canary in the climate change coal mine.

Some of you will remember our early Intergovernmental meetings among the two towns and the county that led to a continuation of Dr. Cooper’s fen monitoring work during the last Ski Area expansion. TS&G had offered $100,000 for Dr. Cooper’s consultation for three years during the expansion: protecting the wetlands from damage, monitoring of the fens, and interpreting the results for the community.

Springing out of Intergovernmental meetings, a Fen Oversight committee was created with representations from the three boards and some community members to oversee Dr. Cooper’s continued monitoring work. All three major entities kicked in a few thousand to keep that work going. The preliminary results showed no significant damage to the fens from the ski activity – one of the initial concerns of the project.

Dr. Cooper has continued his work for almost 19 years, with the Fen Oversight Committee and then the Mountain Studies Institute of Silverton/Durango working to help obtain grants. Eventually, MSI’s focus shifted to other projects, becoming a research outfit instead of the original vision of a scientific archive for the San Juans — back when Dr. Rob Blair and I were on initial MSI boards.

In leaving political office two years ago, I discovered MSI was no longer assisting in the Prospect Basin Fen Project, I contacted Dr. Cooper who was still excited about continuing his research on the fens – since they function as one of the best indicator signs of global warming….


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