Impacts to bighorn sheep a concern for state wildlife biologists, other conservation groups concerned about aquatic habitat
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Citing concerns about impacts to wildlife, especially bighorn sheep, the Colorado Wildlife Commission will oppose the Over the River landscape art project, proposed for the Arkansas River.
The commissioners decided at their meeting last week to send a letter of opposition to the Bureau of Land Management, the federal permitting agency for the project. Click here to visit the BLM website for the project.
The Over the River project would temporarily hang 5.9 miles of white fabric panels above the Arkansas River along a 42-mile stretch between Salida and Canon City.
Colorado Division of Wildlife biologists have suggested that the impacts could be at least partially mitigated by habitat treatments and the installation of watering stations for sheep displaced by the project, as well as careful monitoring to identify unexpected impacts.
In their letter to the BLM, the commissioners asked the agency to adopt the wildlife agency’s mitigation policy if a permit is issued.
Other concerns about the project centered around water quality impacts from shoreline disturbances during installation of the fabric drapes. Colorado Trout Unlimited outlined those concerns in a comment letter last year. Here is an excerpt from that comment letter:
The proposed action would effectively create an industrial site along nearly six miles of the Arkansas River. The DEIS notes that 9100 anchor holes would be required for the installation of panels. In addition to the direct disturbance from the holes, movement of workers and construction equipment in building the Over the River infrastructure will disturb vegetation and soils.
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Environment, rivers, water Tagged: | Arkansas River, bighorn sheep, BLM, Bureau of Land management, Christo Over the River, Colorado, Colorado Wildlife Commission, Environment, Over the River project Christo, Summit County News, Trout Unlimited