Posted on October 2, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A federal court has ordered the U.S. Forest Service to release more documents related to a controversial land trade and development proposal at Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado.
Sloppy search for records related to proposed Colorado resort development put agency in the hot seat
By Bob Berwyn
Conservation advocates battling against plans for a massive resort development at Wolf Creek Pass, in southwestern Colorado, won a partial victory in federal court this week, as a judge ruled that the U.S. Forest Service violated the Freedom of Information Act and must release more documents related to the approval of a controversial land trade.
The land trade was approved earlier this year by Rio Grande Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas. It would give the developer, Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture, a way to access a parcel of private land that’s nearly surrounded by public national forest lands by swapping 205 federal acres for 177 acres of private land. If it stands, the trade would enable construction of a resort village for up to 8,000 people. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, public lands, US Forest Service | Tagged: Colorado, FOIA, Freedom of Information Act, public lands, Rio Grande National Forest, Village at Wolf Creek, Wolf Creek land exchange | 2 Comments »
Posted on September 19, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Colorado hopes that a voluntary market-based conservation program can help protect important habitat for greater sage-grouse. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Habitat exchange could pay off for Colorado ranchers, developers — and, hopefully, sage grouse
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says a state program aimed at conserving sage-grouse habitat is ready for primetime. This week, the state sought formal recognition from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the voluntary, market-based conservation plan.
Filed under: endangered species, energy, Environment, fracking | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado habitat exchange, endangered species, Energy development, fracking, Greater sage-grouse, oil and gas drilling | 2 Comments »
Posted on September 10, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A U.S. Forest Service law enforcement ranger looks over an illegal marijuana growing operation on the San Isabel National Forest. Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service.
Illegal grow site found by hunters in remote part of San Isabel National Forest
FRISCO — Marijuana may be legal in Colorado, but that hasn’t stopped people from growing illegally on public lands.
Most recently, law enforcement officers with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Huerfano County Sheriff’s Office eradicated a huge growing operation in the San Isabel National Forest. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment | Tagged: Colorado, illegal marijuana growing, marijuana, San Isabel National Forest | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 8, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Some aspens and cottonwoods have been hit by leaf blight
An aspen stand in the Lower Blue Valley, north of Silverthorne, Colorado.
FRISCO — Colorado’s wet spring and summer dampened the fire danger and kept the state nearly drought-free, but there may be a down side. Some of the state’s aspens and cottonwoods may not be at their most brilliant this autumn, after leaf-spot diseases afflicted some stands in northern Colorado and along the Front Range.
The Colorado State Forest Service says tree experts have been seeing an unusually high degree of leaf blight spreading as far south as Aspen, the Collegiate Peaks and Colorado Springs.
At least two fungal diseases are to blame for the leaves now showing significant spotting or dark splotches. Marssonina leaf spot is caused by the Marssonina fungus and is the most common leaf disease of aspen and cottonwoods in Colorado. The disease can be identified by the presence of dark brown spots or flecks on leaves, which can then fuse into large, black splotches on severely infected leaves. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, forests, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: aspens, Colorado, Environment, fall colors, forests, leaf blight | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 5, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Mule deer populations in northwest Colorado have taken a bit hit from energy development
‘Just pointing fingers at the energy industry is not a helpful solution to this difficult issue’
FRISCO — A recent study showing that energy development in northwest Colorado significantly affects wildlife habitat drew national attention, and a curious reaction from Colorado’s wildlife agency, which seemed to be apologizing on behalf of the energy industry.
The study showed that the region’s dwindling mule deer population shies well away from active drilling, to a distance of at least 800 meters. Deer displayed more nuanced responses to other infrastructure, avoiding pads with active production and roads to a greater degree during the day than night.
When they added up the impacts, the researchers found that the responses equate to alteration of mule deer behavior by human development in more than 50 percent of the critical winter range in the study area during the day and over 25 percent at night. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: Colorado, energy, fossil fuels, fracking, habitat fragmentation, Mule deer | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 3, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Feds release new study for embattled Colorado coal mine
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Federal officials have completed a new environmental study for a beleaguered coal mine in northwestern Colorado in a process that will presumably enable the mine to continue operating.
At issue is the ColoWyo Mine in Moffat County, which faced a shutdown after a federal judge found that an existing study didn’t adequately disclose the impacts of digging up and burning the coal. The lawsuit was filed by climate and environmental activists as part of a systematic campaign to highlight the vast amount of heat-trapping pollutants unleashed by the extraction and burning of coal and other fossil fuels. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: carbon pollution, coal mining, Colorado, ColoWyo Mine, cost of carbon pollution, Environment, fossil fuels, greenhouse gases | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 2, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The 2013 Big Meadows fire in Rocky Mountain National Park scorched more than 600 acres. Photo courtesy RMNP.
Drying grasses and shrubs up fire danger in parts of Colorado
FRISCO — Summer may be winding down, but the wildfire season is not over yet. In the past ten days, fire managers and park rangers at Rocky Mountain National Park have responded to four illegal, escaped campfires.
All four were quickly extinguished, each burning less than 0.25 acres, but park managers say they all had the potential to spread quickly and threaten lives and property. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, forest fires, Snow and weather, wildfires | Tagged: Colorado, fire danger, public lands, Rocky Mountain National Park, Wildfires | Leave a comment »