Posted on May 20, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Federal land managers are working with locals to develop a far-reaching conservation plan for the southern San Luis Valley.
Effort focusing on voluntary conservation easements and collaboration
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking some first steps toward a large-scale preservation effort in Colorado’s San Luis Valley that could ultimately protect up to 530,000 acres of wetlands, riparian corridors, and important upland habitats through voluntary conservation easements.
The agency recently held public meetings to get input from landowners and other stakeholders in the region, helping to formulate the framework for a locally-led, voluntary, cooperative partnership that will also help preserve traditional land uses.
“This project represents another opportunity for the Service to partner with the people of the San Luis Valley to protect this important landscape for both wildlife and the people that have worked these lands for generations,” said regional USFWS director said Steve Guertin. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment, water, wetlands, wildlife | Tagged: Colorado, Conservation easement, San Luis Valley, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, United States Fish and Wildlife Service | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 4, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
The Trujillo Homesteads in the San Luis Valley have been designated as a National Historic Landmark. PHOTO COURTESY DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR.
Trujillo Homesteads designated as national historic landmarks, honoring Colorado’s Latino heritage
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is making good on his intent to include Latino heritage in the iconic landscapes of the National Park system. This week, Salazar designated the Trujillo Homesteads, an early Latino settlement in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, as a National Historic Landmark.
“Latino settlement in Colorado is an important chapter in the history of the West, marking the northernmost expansion of the Spanish colonial frontier in the region,” Salazar said. “With this designation, we are helping to ensure the story of the settlers, how they lived, and the influence they had on the culture and history of Colorado and our nation will be carried down to future generations.” (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, tourism, Travel | Tagged: American Latino, Colorado, National Historic Landmark, San Luis Valley, Trujillo homesteads | 3 Comments »
Posted on January 2, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
The National Park Service recently completed a reconnaissance survey of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and San Luis Valley region.
Feds, state and local officials eye preservation and recreation opportunities in the San Luis Valley
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The San Luis Valley has been identified as one of three priority areas in Colorado for the Obama Administration’s Great Outdoors initiative, and this week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet will host a meeting to discuss ongoing efforts to conserve the area’s natural and cultural resources.
Specifically, federal, state and local officials will discuss potential for National Park historic and cultural designations, a trail system proposal and landscape-level conservation and management opportunities. (more…)
Filed under: BLM, business, Colorado, economy, national parks, public lands, Uncategorized | Tagged: Colorado, Ken Salazar, National Park Service, San Luis Valley, Sangre de Cristo Mountains | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 23, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Federa officials are studying preservation options for cultural and natural resources in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and San Luis Valley.
Region is a fundamental part of Colorado history
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The cultural and natural resource treasures of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the San Luis Valley are getting some long-overdue love, as the Department of Interior works to identify areas and sites that could some day be made part of the National Park System or protected and highlighted in other ways. A summary presentation is online here.
The areas being studied include historic Mexican land grants that are an integral but often overlooked part of the American settlement era, the landmark Spanish Peaks and a wildlife corridor that enables animals to move between southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. The corridor could be a critical link for species on the move due to climate change, according to a preliminary report released by the National Park Service this week.
- The so-called reconnaissance survey recommends that:
- Congress authorize more specific studies to protect the resources;
- The establishment of a corridor of conservation easements linking public and private lands; and,
- Identification of state heritage tour routes. (more…)
Filed under: agriculture, Archaeology, Colorado, economy, federal government, national parks, public lands, tourism, Travel | Tagged: Colorado, heritage tourism, National Park Service, San Luis Valley, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Tourism, Travel | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 17, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Agency responds to citizen requests for local session
Large-scale industrial solar development has the potential to change the character of rural areas.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —Colorado residents will get one more chance to offer input on a plan that could potentially open more than 111,000 acres of public lands in Colorado for industrial solar development.In response to strong public outcry, the Bureau of Land Management recently reversed its decision not to hold a Colorado public hearing on a supplemental environmental study to the Draft Solar Programatic Environmental Impact Statement in Colorado. The meeting is set for Jan. 11, 2012 at the Inn of the Rio Grande in Alamosa (7 p.m.) (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, renewable energy, Summit County news | Tagged: BLM, Bureau of Land management, Ken Salazar, renewable energy, San Luis Valley, solar energy | 5 Comments »
Posted on October 17, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
The historic Trujillo Homestead in the San Luis Valley. PHOTO COURTESY CENTER FOR COLORADO & THE WEST, AURARIA LIBRARY.
Trujillo Homestead in Colorado’s San Luis Valley is one of the nominated landmarks
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —As part of the Department of the Interior’s efforts to expand the story of the American Latino within the National Park System, Secretary Salazar announced four new Latino-themed National Historic landmark nominations, including the historic Trujillo Homestead in Colorado’s San Luis Valley.
Salazar announced the nominations at a White House American Latino Forum. The sites will be presented to the Landmarks Committee in November and the National Park System Advisory Board in December. The landmarks include: the Trujillo Homestead in Colorado, the Port of Nova Albion and Archeological District in California, the Mission San José de los Jémez and Giusewa Pueblo Site in New Mexico, and the Nuestra Señora Reina de La Paz in California. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, national parks, public lands, Summit County news | Tagged: Colorado, Ken Salazar, Latino culture, National Park Service, San Luis Valley, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, United States | 2 Comments »
Posted on September 28, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
The San Luis Valley with Great Sand Dunes National Park and the Baca National Wildlife Refuge.
Stakeholders work toward buyout of mineral rights in San Luis Valley
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Groups working to protect public lands in the San Luis Valley of Colorado say they’ve ended their 2007 lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The litigation by the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council and the Citizens for SLV Water Protection Coalition had challenged the agency’s finding of no significant impact with regard to the impacts of exploratory oil and gas drilling in the Baca National Wildlife Refuge, and sought to ensure full scientific and public review of the proposal, along with an analysis of the benefits of the retirement of the mineral rights.
The lawsuit ended with a stipulated agreement that will basically put drilling on hold while various stakeholders work together to try and arrange a buyout of the subsurface mineral rights in the refuge, owned by Lexam/VG Gold. The company currently does not have drilling permits or applications filed in Colorado and its previous permits have expired.
In a show of good faith, Lexam, (now VG Gold) has agreed to notify the organizations of any new applications with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Lexam/VG Gold has also agreed not to do any ground disturbing activity until 120 days after an application is filed is filed. Lexam (VG Gold) became a willing seller of it’s mineral rights in 2010. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, federal government, gas drilling, national parks, oil drilling, public lands, Summit County news | Tagged: Baca National Wildlife Refuge, Colorado, Environment, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, oil drilling, San Luis Valley | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 28, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
San Luis Valley wetlands an uncommon biodiversity hotspot
Pelicans in Colorado? Yes, at the San Luis Valley wildlife refuge complex. PHOTO BY MANJITH KAINICKARA VIA THE CREATIVE COMMONS.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Deep in the bony heart of Colorado, where rusted pickups sit under wind-tilted cottonwoods, there’s a complex of wetlands and meadows with uncommon biological diversity that seasonally shelters more than 200 species of nesting, migratory and wintering birds.
Pelicans grebes, herons, ibis, ducks, geese, hawks, eagles, falcons, shorebirds, owls and various songbirds, visit the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex. During the spring and fall migrations, nearly 20,000 sandhill cranes spend several weeks in the San Luis Valley, feeding and resting to replace critical fat reserves. Click here to see a full species list.
Starting this week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking public input on a 20-year management plan for the 106,000-acre complex, comprised of the Baca National Wildlife Refuge, Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, and Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge. The Service encourages everyone with an interest in these significant public resources to participate in this process and help create the vision for future management of the refuges. Click here to read the Federal Register notice on the scoping.
Filed under: endangered species, Environment, federal government, wildlife | Tagged: Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge, Baca National Wildlife Refuge, biodiversity, Colorado, Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, San Luis Valley, Summit County News, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 12, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Coming soon to a landscape near you?
Proposed measure could weaken counties’ 1041 review powers in Colorado
By Ceal Smith
Colorado counties could be stripped of their power to decide about siting transmission lines if the utilities have their way in the Colorado Senate this week.
Senate Bill 11-045, “concerning a streamlined process for securing governmental approval for the siting of electric transmission facilities“, pretty much says it all.
Initially, the bill established a Transmission Siting Commission in place of the “1041″ land use permitting process adopted by many counties in Colorado. When Colorado Counties, Inc. balked, backers of the bill (with oversight from Xcel and TriState) quickly amended it to create a task force to “study” the idea. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment | Tagged: 1041 powers, Colorado, Colorado Senate Bill 11-045, Electric power transmission, energy, Gail Schwartz, op-ed, power transmission, powerlines, Public Utilities Commission, San Luis Valley, Summit County News, United States | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 23, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
State wildlife agency plans to allocate $6 million for dam improvements, storage agreements that meet wildlife and water needs
CDOW will look for investments in projects that can meet both wildlife and water needs.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The Colorado Division of Wildlife will look for ways to prioritize investments in water projects that will benefit wildlife and wildlife-related recreation while also help other entities and individuals who depend on water resources in the state. The Division intends to allocate at least $6 million for these types of projects over the next five years.
The state wildlife agency owns 104 dams and has a program to maintain existing facilities for safety, storage, and release. Officials have identified 17 dams and associated infrastructure in need of repairs and improvements and is seeking storage agreements, exchange-of-use agreements and other water projects with water providers and water users for this purpose.
The five-year program was announced a few weeks after State Rep. Jon Becker (R-Fort Morgan) proposed a bill that would have diverted revenue from hunting and fishing licenses to the Colorado Water Conservation Board. The wildlife agency now says it will work with Becker to explore opportunities that will first and foremost benefit wildlife and wildlife recreation, but will also help other entities and individuals who depend on water resources in the state. (more…)
Filed under: agriculture, Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, wildlife | Tagged: Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado Division of Wildlife, conservation, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Mike King, San Luis Valley, Summit County Colorado, water, wildlife | 1 Comment »