Agency justifies support for expansion by saying lynx habitat is already degraded, but why make things worse?
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — With the Breckenridge Town Council set to take another crack at the Peak 6 expansion tonight, I pulled out my notes from the last meeting to review what White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams had to say about the project with regard to lynx, a species that’s still hovering on the brink of survival in Colorado. Even better, I was able to listen to his comments in an audio recording that’s embedded in this Summit Voice story. More discussion of Peak 6 is schedule at about 4 p.m. during the Aug. 9 council meeting. The agenda is online here.
I did this because I remember being annoyed at what I felt was a cavalier dismissal of the concern about the Peak 6 project’s impacts to lynx habitat, and I wanted to go back and make sure that it wasn’t just filtering what I heard through my own pro-lynx, pro-conservation bias.
Essentially, Fitzwilliams said that, regardless of whether the Peak 6 expansion proceeds or not, that particular lynx analysis unit (it’s called the Swan Mountain LAU) has been so degraded from a variety of factors — including pine beetle damage — that it’s only 50 percent functional as lynx habitat.
So why make it even worse by impacting an area that’s acknowledged to be some of the best remaining habitat within the degraded LAU? I guess we all know that Vail Resorts is driving this process, and that the Forest Service is merely the enabler, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment, forests, op-ed, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Breckenridge Peak 6, Colorado lynx recovery, Forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams, Summit County lynx, White River National Forest | 3 Comments »