Environmental News from Boulder, Colorado
Boulder County Commissioners extend temporary moratorium on oil & gas development in unincorporated Boulder County for 18 months
Citing a changing regulatory environment and the need for more public health studies to assess the health impacts of oil and gas development, the County Commissioners voted unanimously to extend the moratorium until the end of 2014
Boulder County, Colo. – By unanimous decision, the Board of County Commissioners today voted to extend the temporary moratorium on oil and gas development in unincorporated Boulder County for 18 months to expire at the end of 2014.
Citing the need for further health and safety studies to test the impacts of oil and gas development on air and water quality, the commissioners stated that the county is not yet prepared – in terms of inspection and monitoring staff, health data, baseline testing and technical expertise – to process new applications for oil and gas development in unincorporated Boulder County.
The commissioners also noted that with a dynamic regulatory environment around the issue, new rulemaking could affect how the county regulates oil and gas under its own authority in the future.
“We are living in a regulatory environment where regulations and rules are changing rapidly,” said County Commissioner Deb Gardner. “A short delay in extraction is legal, necessary and appropriate when balanced against our fundamental duty as elected officials to protect public health, safety, welfare and the environment from potential adverse impacts of oil and gas exploration and development, and to minimize potential land use conflicts between those activities and current or planned land uses.”
Gardner’s sentiments were supported and confirmed by her fellow commissioners, Cindy Domenico and Elise Jones.
Extensive feedback on the moratorium was received from members of the public over a period of 16 months from February 2012 to the present. Over 1,100 comments were submitted this week alone by the time of the June 18 public hearing, all but about a dozen of which stated a preference for extending the moratorium.
In general, public comments have overwhelmingly supported extending the moratorium to assess health and safety impacts of oil and gas drilling to area residents. In addition, on June 5th the Boulder County Planning Commission, by a vote of 7-0, recommended that the Board of County Commissioners extend the current temporary moratorium.
Today’s public hearing also included a decision to table indefinitely Docket DC-12-0003 “Proposed Amendments to Article 12 of the Boulder County Land Use Code (oil and gas regulations), to include a phasing plan.” With the extended temporary moratorium in place, Land Use staff will to continue to work on developing an inspection and implementation plan for permitting oil and gas applications.
A taped archive of the hearing is available at: www.bouldercounty.org/gov/meetings/pages/hearings.aspx.
For more information about the county’s role in oil and gas development, please visit the county’s Oil and Gas Development webpage.
Monday, June 17, 2013 at 12:00pm, Sheriff Joe Pelle will amend the current fire ban to include the entire mountain area of Boulder County. The fire ban will be in effect until the Sheriff finds that the current hazardous conditions have subsided.
The dry conditions, along with the consistent reports of new large fires across Colorado and the western United States, have moved many federal fire aviation and ground crew resources out of the area. In addition, the holiday camping season is close at hand, increasing the potential for human caused fires.
(See attached map)
State statutes authorize counties to impose a fire ban “to a degree and in a manner that the Board of County Commissioners deem necessary to reduce the danger of wildfires within those portions of the unincorporated areas of the county where the danger of forest or grass fires is found to be high, based on competent evidence.”
The amended fire ban allows for:
- Indoor fires in fireplaces or stoves.
- Smoking indoors or within an enclosed vehicle.
- Campfires in improved and maintained public campgrounds that are currently open to the public, as long as the actual size of such fire is smaller than two feet in diameter by three feet in height.
- Liquid or gas fuel stoves use on private and public lands.
- Charcoal grill use on private and public land.
- Smoking outdoors in areas free of flammable material.
The amended fire ban prohibits:
- All other outdoor burning, slash fires, use of any kind of fireworks, model rockets, and all other outdoor spark or flame producing activities.
The fire ban does not affect open fires within incorporated cities and towns; however citizens must comply with applicable ordinances and regulations in their respective cities and towns.
Anyone found in violation of the fire ban may be convicted of a class 2 petty offense and may be subject to a $500 fine, in addition to any possible civil penalties. Higher fines may be imposed for subsequent offenses.
For current fire and shooting restrictions for United States Forest Service properties go to the following website:http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/arp/alerts-notices
For current fire restrictions in Eldorado Canyon State Park go to the following website:http://www.parks.state.co.us/Parks/eldoradocanyon/Pages/EldoradoCanyonHome.aspx
This media release may be found on the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office website at: http://www.bouldersheriff.org
Enough energy to power 490 homes
The City of Boulder and Boulder County will recognize five local businesses for their outstanding achievement in the EnergySmart program at today’s Boulder Earth Conference. Mayor Matt Appelbaum and County Commissioner Elise Jones will present recognition certificates at the reception, scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at the Boulder Theater, located at 2032 14th St.
“These local businesses are leaders among commercial participants in the EnergySmart program and have achieved the greatest potential energy savings during the past year,” said City of Boulder Business Sustainability Coordinator Elizabeth Vasatka. “Collectively, these businesses are now saving enough energy each year to power approximately 490 Boulder County homes.”
The five businesses to be recognized include:
- The W.W. Reynolds Companies, a leading real estate services company located in Boulder that specializes in property management, leasing and development.
- Hover Senior Living Community, a thriving, forward thinking, caring community located in Longmont, where all are served with integrity and respect.
- Tebo Development Company, a leading commercial real estate owner and developer that offers a wide range of retail, office and industrial space throughout Boulder County.
- WaterStreet Plaza, managed by Gibbons-White, Inc., a group of multi-tenant buildings located in Boulder, with rental units on the ground floor and office suites on the upper three floors.
- SAE Circuits Colorado Incorporated, a manufacturer of quality printed circuit boards located in Boulder that services customers with diverse applications and locations.
Through personalized advising services, EnergySmart helps homes and businesses in all Boulder County communities become more comfortable and energy efficient. Several of the businesses recognized indicated that having knowledgeable advisors by their side helped make the process easier.
- “Working with EnergySmart has been an enjoyable, dream come true. Knowledgeable staff led us to sound energy efficient solutions for all our renovation questions.” – Dan Wagner of Hover Senior Living Community
- “They make our choices clear, provide back-up data, and allow us to complete energy efficient upgrades to our buildings which otherwise would be difficult to coordinate. We are now able to move forward with many additional projects, keeping energy efficiency in mind.” — James Dixon of Tebo Development.
Since 2011, EnergySmart has served more than 2,600 local businesses and issued nearly $1.7 million in rebates to businesses and commercial property owners “We’re thrilled that businesses have invested a total of $8 million to date in energy efficiency retrofits, contributing to local energy and cost savings and supporting vibrant communities throughout Boulder County,” said Susie Strife, Boulder County Sustainability Coordinator.
Developed by Boulder County Business Report and BizWest Media, and co-sponsored by the City of Boulder and Boulder County, this year’s Boulder Earth Conference is convening business, government, political leaders and communities from across Colorado and the world to share knowledge, ideas, and technologies that advance sustainable business practices. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will deliver this year’s keynote address.
EnergySmart provides a full suite of services to help businesses and homes in all Boulder County communities identify valuable energy-saving opportunities and assist them through the energy upgrade process. For more information, call an Energy Advisor at 303-441-1300 (for business) or 303-544-1000 (for home), or visitwww.EnergySmartYES.com. For more information about the Boulder Earth Conference, visitwww.boulderearth.com.
Boulder press release
A naked hiker on mushrooms on top of the 2nd Flatiron might have been the highlight of the week.
Those friendly folk with OSMP patches on their jackets and shirts and Glocks strapped to their hips you see in the Flatirons and Open Space areas are more than just cops. In one week, they responded to the following situations:
• The Settler’s Quarry and contacted two people, one with three warrants for his arrest and the person was a missing person out of Northglenn. Rangers worked with Boulder PD on this call.
• Chautauqua for a party with chest pains and difficulty breathing. Rangers worked with Boulder Fire and AMR. The hiker felt these pains and difficulty breathing after hiking in the meadow.
• A report of a hiker bitten by a dog on Upper Bear Canyon trail. The hiker was bitten by a
Boxer on the left hip as he was running past the dog.
• A report of an unconscious hiker on the 1st/2nd Flatiron Trail. The hiker fainted and stated that they needed to drink more water. Rangers worked with AMR and RMR on this call.
• A report of a paraglider who crashed onto the hillside above Wonderland Lake. The injured Paraglider dislocated his left elbow and had pain in his upper back and left side of his body. The paraglider crashed onto a rocky outcropping. Rangers worked with RMR and medical to evacuate the patient.
• A fallen visitor at Buckingham Park. The visitor tripped over a rock, fell and hit her head on a rock. Rangers worked with Lefthand Fire on this call.
• A report of a naked hiker on mushrooms at the top of the 2nd Flatiron. Rangers worked with RMR, AMR, Boulder Fire and Sheriff’s Officers on this call. The hiker had numerous scrapes and bruises. It took approximately two and half hours to get the hiker down to an ambulance.
• A report of an indecent exposure along the S. Boulder Creek Trail Bobolink. Rangers assisted BCSO in arresting a male who was reported to be masturbating while watching women.
• Many bear incidents but one in particular in which a young bear broke into two houses. Rangers helped CPW officers corral the bear for tranquilization. The bear was later euthanized by CPW.
• A dog that needed to be rescued on the Royal Arch Trail. The dog slipped off the trail onto a ledge and the guardian needed help getting the dog back up to the trail. Dog was uninjured.
• A hiker having chest pains at the Ranger Cottage. Hiker was transported to BCH.
• A midnight report of a stranded hiker on the First Flatiron. Turned out to just be a couple of full moon climbers and no one was in danger.
• Injured hiker on the Bear Canyon Trail. Hiker in his 70’s with shortage of breath. Transported to area hospital.
• Injured hiker on the lower Skunk Canyon Trail. Hiker in her 70’s fell and broke her arm. Transported to area hospital.
•Injured/ill hiker on the Doudy Draw Trail. A ranger happened upon a hiker who was walking for medical rehab and became too ill to continue. Checked out by AMR and then transported to hospital by her boyfriend.
•Aggressive Dog on the Sanitas East Ridge Trail. A 10 month Doberman (off leash on a green tag) chomped the hand of a hiker who was walking past her. The victim received a puncture and bruising. The dog guardian was later located and issued a summons.
As of the afternoon of 5/28/2013, the new regulations went into effect. We will be conducting outreach on the Towhee & Homestead trails. On Old Mesa we will not be conducting outreach, at least not now.
We are going to break with tradition and have outreach staff hike the trails as we conduct outreach, rather than set up at the South Mesa Trailhead. The focus will be Towhee, as that’s the big change. Everything should be up to date as far as signs.
Changes in regulations and other news:
Towhee Trail: Will change to “NO DOGS”. There is a short section at the start of the Towhee trail that will remain voice and sight, until visitors come to the junction with the Homestead trail. That is where Towhee becomes “No Dogs”.
Homestead Trail: This trail will remain “Dogs must be under voice and sight control with a green voice and sight tag”, until you get to the bridge where it crosses the Towhee drainage. That small section (approx. 20 feet from either side of the bridge) will become “dogs must be leashed”.
If you have not been on this trail since the reroute, you should hike up there and take a look.
Old Mesa Trail: This trail (and surrounding drainage area) will now be “dogs must be leashed”, from the social trail just off the shadow canyon trail, down to our property line near Eldorado Springs. FYI there is no public access from the Eldorado Springs side as the trail leads you down to private property.
Visitors should consider this a down and back, not a destination trail.
When we get “why” questions.
We are now implementing regulations that were decided on during the West Trails Study Area planning process (WTSA) which included the Community Collaborative Group (CCG) which was an extended community input process. The input process began in 2009 was completed in 2011. Only recently have the regulations and signs been changed. If you would like to learn more about how that process worked, you can go to our website OSMP.org
The Towhee Trail’s new regulations help protect the riparian area it goes through. It is a heavily traveled wildlife corridor. The changes also provide a “no dog” experience for hikers. Most of the surrounding trails allow dogs.
The Homestead trail’s regulation change was made to protect the riparian area and sensitive vegetation through theTowhee drainage.
Fishing on OSMP:
Fishing in Community Ditch in the Doudy Draw area is legal with a license. When the ditch is running full, the fish blow out of SoBo Creek and it’s prime fishing all the way to Marshall Lake, kind of a fisherman’s secret.
Excel work in Shanahan Area:
Xcel energy will begin replacing two of their poles on Shanahan Ridge beginning June 3rd. They will need to dig several 7ft holes to support the new structures. This will make a lot of noise. They estimate that the digging could take anywhere from 2-14 days and could involve BLASTING if an auger and / or backhoe prove unsuccessful. Once the holes are dug, they will then deliver the new structures via HELICOPTER to their location (where the north Fork of the Shanahan trail intersects their powerline).
Flagstaff Summit Nature Center will be opening up to visitors starting Friday, May 17. Thanks to many volunteers who staff this throughout the summer! When volunteers are available, it will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30am-4pm. Fridays are a new offering as one of our volunteers has signed up for all Friday shifts! Drop by and say hi!
Meadow Music programs are our most popular (and very fun) education and outreach events. Children and parents join OSMP’s Jeff Kagan, Paige Doughty, Mark Wesson and other guest artists for evenings of children’s music and nature education. The evening consists of a short, kid friendly hike on the McClintock Trail followed by 45 minutes of nature music for kids on the Chautauqua Green. The programs are on 9 Mondays this season, starting at 5:30. Best of kids ages 2-8. Meadow Music is free! Bring a picnic, bring a blanket, rain or shine.
Meadow Music 2013
Mondays- 9 performances:
June 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th,
July 1st, 8th, 22nd
Aug 5th, 12th
Set up start time: 4:00 pm
Open to public from: 5:30 pm to: 7:00 pm
Take down end time: 7:30 pm
Have questions? Call Steve Mertz
OSMP news release
While 99 percent of Earth’s land ice is locked up in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the remaining ice in the world’s glaciers contributed just as much to sea rise as the two ice sheets combined from 2003 to 2009, says a new study led by Clark University and involving the University Colorado Boulder.
The new research found that all glacial regions lost mass from 2003 to 2009, with the biggest ice losses occurring in Arctic Canada, Alaska, coastal Greenland, the southern Andes and the Himalayas. The glaciers outside of the Greenland and Antarctic sheets lost an average of roughly 260 billion metric tons of ice annually during the study period, causing the oceans to rise 0.03 inches, or about 0.7 millimeters per year.
The study compared traditional ground measurements to satellite data from NASA’s Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite, or ICESat, and the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, missions to estimate ice loss for glaciers in all regions of the planet.
“For the first time, we’ve been able to very precisely constrain how much these glaciers as a whole are contributing to sea rise,” said geography Assistant Professor Alex Gardner of Clark University in Worcester, Mass., lead study author. “These smaller ice bodies are currently losing about as much mass as the ice sheets.”
A paper on the subject is being published in the May 17 issue of the journal Science.
“Because the global glacier ice mass is relatively small in comparison with the huge ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica, people tend to not worry about it,” said CU-Boulder Professor Tad Pfeffer, a study co-author. “But it’s like a little bucket with a huge hole in the bottom: it may not last for very long, just a century or two, but while there’s ice in those glaciers, it’s a major contributor to sea level rise,” said Pfeffer, a glaciologist at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research
ICESat, which ceased operations in 2009, measured glacier changes using laser altimetry, which bounces laser pulses off the ice surface to determine changes in the height of ice cover. The GRACE satellite system, still operational, detects variations in Earth’s gravity field resulting from changes in the planet’s mass distribution, including ice displacements.
GRACE does not have a fine enough resolution and ICESat does not have sufficient sampling density to study small glaciers, but mass change estimates by the two satellite systems for large glaciated regions agree well, the scientists concluded.
“Because the two satellite techniques, ICESat and GRACE, are subject to completely different types of errors, the fact that their results are in such good agreement gives us increased confidence in those results,” said CU-Boulder physics Professor John Wahr, a study co-author and fellow at the university’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.
Ground-based estimates of glacier mass changes include measurements along a line from a glacier’s summit to its edge, which are extrapolated over a glacier’s entire area. Such measurements, while fairly accurate for individual glaciers, tend to cause scientists to overestimate ice loss when extrapolated over larger regions, including individual mountain ranges, according to the team.
Current estimates predict if all the glaciers in the world were to melt, they would raise sea level by about two feet. In contrast, an entire Greenland ice sheet melt would raise sea levels by about 20 feet, while if Antarctica lost its ice cover, sea levels would rise nearly 200 feet.
The study involved 16 researchers from 10 countries. In addition to Clark University and CU-Boulder, major research contributions came from the University of Michigan, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, Trent University in Ontario, Canada, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies in Boulder, NASA’s ICESat satellite was successfully operated from the CU-Boulder campus by a team made up primarily of undergraduates from its launch in 2003 to its demise in 2009 when the science payload failed. The students participated in the unusual decommissioning of a functioning satellite in 2010, bringing the craft into Earth re-entry to burn up. ICESat’s successor, ICESat-2, is slated for launch in 2016 by NASA.
-CU media release-
Come out and meet the summer rangers and learn about the 2013 Hessie Trailhead shuttle program − Tuesday, May 21 at 6 p.m. at the Nederland Community Library
Boulder County, Colo. – Boulder County will run a free shuttle service again on weekends and holidays from June 2 to Oct. 6 to carry passengers from Nederland Middle/Senior High School to the Hessie Trailhead, a popular entry point for accessing the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area.
The Hessie Trailhead shuttle program began last summer to address the issue of increased parking and traffic congestion on the way to the trailhead. This year it will be extended to include peak “leaf peeping” weekends in the fall.
While the trailhead itself is managed by the Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests, the road that accesses the trailhead is managed and maintained by Boulder County. Parking near the trailhead and on nearby roads such as 4th of July Road is extremely limited, and Boulder County Parks & Open Space rangers are responsible for enforcing strict parking regulations in the area.
Rather than driving directly to the trailhead, visitors are encouraged to take the RTD ‘N’ bus to Nederland from Boulder or park at Nederland Middle/Senior High School and take the free shuttle instead.
An informational meeting to discuss updates to the shuttle program and to meet the rangers who will be in charge of parking enforcement this summer has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 21:
What: 2013 Hessie Shuttle Kickoff Meeting and Meet the Rangers Event
When: 6 p.m., Tuesday, May 21
Where: Nederland Community Library, 200 Hwy 72, Nederland (map)
It is not necessary to RSVP to the meeting, and family, friends and neighbors are all encouraged to attend.
The shuttle service will begin Sunday, June 2 and will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays throughout the summer. The shuttle will also run on holidays over the summer including Independence Day (July 4) and Labor Day (Sept. 2). This year, the shuttle operation schedule has been extended until Sunday, Oct. 6 to accommodate the peak autumn leaf season.
- Park and catch the free shuttle at Nederland Middle/Senior High School (map)
- Take RTD’s ‘N’ route from Boulder and transfer to the shuttle at Nederland Middle/Senior High School
- Shuttle arrives every 15 minutes
- Leashed dogs are welcome on board on the shuttle
- Parking is for day use only; overnight users should make other arrangements
If you are unable to attend the meeting and would like more information or you would like to provide feedback, visit www.HessieTrailhead.com or contact Scott McCarey at email@example.com or 720-564-2665.
As a result of a state mandate to eliminate “List A” noxious weed species from all public and private property in Colorado communities, the City of Boulder is proposing an update to its existing weed ordinance to require property owners to remove the weeds from all properties.
“List A” weed species, as provided in the Colorado Noxious Weed Act, are plants that have yet to be well established in Colorado but are either present in small populations or are invasive in nearby states. There are two species of “List A” weeds that are of most concern within Boulder’s city limits: myrtle spurge and Japanese knotweed. The city was awarded a grant through the Colorado Department of Agriculture Noxious Weed Management Fund to assist in an educational plan.
“Early detection and eradication of these particular species can prevent them from becoming a major problem in Colorado,” said city Integrated Pest Management Coordinator Rella Abernathy. “Most of these plants are ‘escaped’ ornamental plants and many residents may not realize that they present a threat to the natural lands surrounding Boulder and are illegal to grow here.”
These noxious, invasive plants can negatively impact biodiversity, threaten endangered species, degrade native habitat, displace wildlife, increase soil erosion, damage streams and other wetlands and increase the risk and frequency of wildfires if allowed to spread. Boulder is in compliance with the Colorado Noxious Weed Act on city-owned properties but has not been enforcing the statue on private property.
The city will focus on education and outreach to notify the public of the requirements and to provide information for identification, environmentally-sound weed removal and suggested replacement plant options.
“A soft enforcement approach is being implemented with voluntary compliance being the goal and enforcement action being a last resort,” said Code Enforcement Supervisor Jennifer Riley. “However, ticketing is possible if property owners do not comply with repeated requests from officers to address illegal weeds.”
Education will begin with a “Purge Your Spurge” event on May 18 where residents are encouraged to pull their myrtle spurge and exchange it for free native plants. This event will occur as part of Boulder Community Day at the East Boulder Community Center, 5660 Sioux Drive, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other education efforts will include a webpage; fact sheets; media engagement; outreach to nurseries, landscapers and lawn care companies; and code enforcement officers who assist with education in the field.
“Identifying and removing noxious weeds from private property can take some effort, but it’s important to prevent these weeds from spreading to our neighbors’ yards and ultimately to natural areas,” said Abernathy. “Fortunately, only two of the weeds from the list are widespread within the Boulder city limits, myrtle spurge being the most common. We want to make sure people can easily identify the weeds, know how to remove them safely and know what native plants can be used to replace them.”
Myrtle spurge has been commonly used as a decorative plant. People should be aware that it contains a white sap that can cause skin irritation including blistering if touched. Those removing it should wear long sleeves, long pants, gloves and eye protection. Removing at least four inches of the root is recommended to prevent its return. It should be placed in a plastic bag and tightly fastened. DON’T compost noxious weeds as that will cause the weed to spread.
The city’s weed ordinance is expected to be modified through a City Manager rule change, which will be published in the Daily Camera on May 3, as well as on the city’s website. Public feedback will be accepted until May 20. The rule is anticipated to go into effect on June 1, 2013.
For more information or to provide feedback on the proposed City Manager’s rule, contact Rella Abernathy at 303-441-1901.
– CITY OF BOULDER NEWS RELEASE –
The Earth’s climate zones are shifting at an accelerating pace, says a new study led by a scientist at the CU’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.
The acceleration of change means that the species inhabiting each zone have less time to adapt to the climatic changes, said lead author Irina Mahlstein, a CIRES scientist who works at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. “The warmer the climate gets, the faster the climate zones are shifting. This could make it harder for plants and animals to adjust.”
The study is the first to look at the accelerating pace of the shifting of climate zones, which are areas of the Earth defined by annual and seasonal cycles of temperature and precipitation, as well as temperature and precipitation thresholds of plant species. Over 30 different climate zones are found on Earth; examples include the equatorial monsoonal zone, the polar tundra zone and cold arid desert zone.
“A shift in the climate zone is probably a better measure of ‘reality’ for living systems, more so than changing temperature by a degree or precipitation by a centimeter,” said Mahlstein.
The scientists used climate model simulations and a well-known ecosystem classification scheme to look at the shifts between climate zones over a two-century period, 1900 to 2098. The team found that for an initial 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit of warming, about 5 percent of Earth’s land area shifts to a new climate zone.
The models show that the pace of change quickens for the next 3.6 F of warming as an additional 10 percent of the land area shifts to a new climate zone. The paper was published online in the journal Nature Climate Change on April 21.
Certain regions of the globe, such as northern middle and high latitudes, will undergo more changes than other regions, such as the tropics, the scientists found. In the tropics, mountainous regions will experience bigger changes than low-altitude areas.
In the coming century, the findings suggest that frost climates — the coldest climate zone of the planet — will largely decrease. In general, dry regions in different areas of the globe will increase, and a large fraction of land area will change from cool summers to hot summers, according to the study.
The scientists also investigated whether temperature or precipitation had a greater impact on how much of the land area changed zones. “We found that temperature is the main factor, at least through the end of this century,” said Mahlstein.
John Daniel at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory and Susan Solomon at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology co-authored the study.
-CU press release
900 Prairie dogs slated for move
A public meeting is scheduled to discuss a city proposal to relocate up to 900 prairie dogs from city-owned land around Foothills Community Park and from additional open space colonies to city open space land east of Highway 93, south of Coal Creek, and north of Highway 128, south of Boulder. This number has been scaled back to reflect on-the-ground and projected drought conditions. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 9, in the Foothills Elementary School Cafeteria, 1001 Hawthorn Ave. Staff from the city will be available to answer any questions, and to receive comments and feedback.
The city is intending to apply for a State of Colorado permit to relocate the prairie dogs from these areas, which are designated as removal areas in the Urban Wildlife Management Plan and the Grassland Ecosystem Management Plan.
The proposed receiving site was previously the site of an extensive 155-acre prairie dog colony that has since died off. The prairie dogs are being removed from multiple city sites with the dogs near Foothills Community Park being moved first.
CITY OF BOULDER PRESS RELEASE– FOR THOSE TOO IGNORANT TO KNOW HOW THE BUSINESS WORKS
Public hearings to begin April 18
Boulder County, Colo. – Local, state, and federal land-management agencies, to include the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Boulder County, City of Boulder, and City of Longmont are partnering to develop a long‐term, multi‐agency master plan for a network of access points and travel corridors for non‐motorized users in the foothills and mountains of Boulder County.
What: Regional Mountain Trails Master Planning
When: Meetings will be held from mid-April to mid-May, the first meeting will be held on April 18, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Where: Eleven locations throughout the county, the first meeting will be held at the Boulder County Courthouse, 1325 Pearl Street, 3rd floor
The goal of the Regional Mountain Trails Master Plan is to connect communities and recreation areas in the mountains and foothills to regional trails in the plains. The plan will emphasize linking existing trails and trail systems.
“We are excited to collaborate with the community and our fellow land managers on this plan for trails that will direct our work as individual organizations toward a common goal for trails over the coming years,” said Justin Atherton-Wood, Resource Planner for Boulder County Parks and Open Space. “This plan will be drafted in a manner that is sensitive to the resources and values unique to this part of the region, and one that contributes to a more sustainable future for Boulder County.”
To help define the many unique opportunities and challenges of this effort, the partners are initiating a period of public outreach this spring to gather comments on the community’s needs, expectations, and concerns with the project. It is anticipated that this initial phase will result in a set of principles and community values that will guide the remainder of this year-long planning process.
For more information about the project and upcoming meeting dates and locations visit the project website:www.RegionalMountainTrails.com. Or contact Garry Sanfaçon, Public Outreach Coordinator, at 720-564-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new look at conditions after a Manhattan-sized asteroid slammed into a region of Mexico in the dinosaur days indicates the event could have triggered a global firestorm that would have burned every twig, bush and tree on Earth and led to the extinction of 80 percent of all Earth’s species, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.
Led by Douglas Robertson of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, or CIRES, the team used models that show the collision would have vaporized huge amounts of rock that were then blown high above Earth’s atmosphere. The re-entering ejected material would have heated the upper atmosphere enough to glow red for several hours at roughly 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit — about the temperature of an oven broiler element — killing every living thing not sheltered underground or underwater.
The CU-led team developed an alternate explanation for the fact that there is little charcoal found at the Cretaceous-Paleogene, or K-Pg, boundary some 66 million years ago when the asteroid struck Earth and the cataclysmic fires are believed to have occurred. The CU researchers found that similar studies had corrected their data for changing sedimentation rates. When the charcoal data were corrected for the same changing sedimentation rates they show an excess of charcoal, not a deficiency, Robertson said.
“Our data show the conditions back then are consistent with widespread fires across the planet,” said Robertson, a research scientist at CIRES, which is a joint institute of CU-Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Those conditions resulted in 100 percent extinction rates for about 80 percent of all life on Earth.”
A paper on the subject was published online this week in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. Co-authors on the study include CIRES Interim Director William Lewis, CU Professor Brian Toon of the atmospheric and oceanic sciences department and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics and Peter Sheehan of the Milwaukee Public Museum in Wisconsin.
Geological evidence indicates the asteroid collided with Earth about 66 million years ago and carved the Chicxulub crater in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula that is more than 110 miles in diameter. In 2010, experts from 33 institutions worldwide issued a report that concluded the impact at Chicxulub triggered mass extinctions, including dinosaurs, at the K-Pg boundary.
The conditions leading to the global firestorm were set up by the vaporization of rock following the impact, which condensed into sand-grain-sized spheres as they rose above the atmosphere. As the ejected material re-entered Earth’s atmosphere, it dumped enough heat in the upper atmosphere to trigger an infrared “heat pulse” so hot it caused the sky to glow red for several hours, even though part of the radiation was blocked from Earth by the falling material, he said.
But there was enough infrared radiation from the upper atmosphere that reached Earth’s surface to create searing conditions that likely ignited tinder, including dead leaves and pine needles. If a person was on Earth back then, it would have been like sitting in a broiler oven for two or three hours, said Robertson.
The amount of energy created by the infrared radiation the day of the asteroid-Earth collision is mind-boggling, said Robertson. “It’s likely that the total amount of infrared heat was equal to a 1 megaton bomb exploding every four miles over the entire Earth.”
A 1-megaton hydrogen bomb has about the same explosive power as 80 Hiroshima-type nuclear bombs, he said. The asteroid-Earth collision is thought to have generated about 100 million megatons of energy, said Robertson.
Some researchers have suggested that a layer of soot found at the K-Pg boundary layer roughly 66 million years ago was created by the impact itself. But Robertson and his colleagues calculated that the amount of soot was too high to have been created during the massive impact event and was consistent with the amount that would be expected from global fires.
Deadline approaching; corpsmember applications must be submitted by Friday, March 29
The Youth Corps offers one of the best first-job opportunities available in Boulder County. Teams have completed projects such as constructing nearly a mile of trail at Walden Ponds Wildlife Habitat, replacing the residential fence at a Boulder County low-income housing development in Louisville and preserving the McDonald Cabin at Betasso Preserve Open Space. Parks and Open space is now accepting applications for Youth Corps members and team leaders.
Who: The Youth Corps will hire 180 teenagers to work 30 hours per week.
- Boulder County residents ages 14-17 have until Friday, March 29 to apply for summer jobs with the Boulder County Youth Corps. Boulder County is especially in need of female Corps members.
- Applicants can apply online at http://www.bouldercounty.org/youthcorps. Applications can also be picked up at counseling offices in Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley schools; city and town personnel offices; most local recreation and youth centers and libraries; and the Boulder County Human Resources Department, 2025 14th St. in Boulder.
What: Corps members will work on a variety of community service projects such as forest thinning, historic preservation, construction and repair of fencing, trail maintenance, removal of Russian olive trees and noxious weeds, landscaping and replacing light bulbs with compact fluorescents.
When: Youth Corps members are expected to work Monday through Thursday, from June 10 to July 31.
Where: Teams will work in unincorporated Boulder County as well as in cities and towns within Boulder County.
Compensation: This year, Corps members will earn a starting wage of $7.78/hour, with the possibility of earning a $100 bonus at the end of the program based on merit and strong attendance.
- Teens who have worked for the Corps in past years can earn up to $8.28/hour.
- Corps members are eligible for reimbursement for the purchase of work boots and gloves.
- RTD bus passes for the purpose of traveling to and from centralized work meeting places may be subsidized.
The Youth Corps is also hiring team leaders, who must be high school graduates at least 21 years old with two years of college coursework or more, among other qualifications. A list of full qualifications is available online. Team Leaders start at $13.50/hour. These positions remain open until filled.
For more information, visit http://www.bouldercounty.org/youthcorps or call the Youth Corps office at 303-678-6104.
The City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) is temporarily closing areas in order to protect nesting and roosting burrowing owls and osprey. Properties where burrowing owls nest will be closed from March 15 through Oct 31. Properties closed for the protection of nesting osprey will be closed from March 15 through Sept. 10. Closures may be lifted early if monitoring indicates it is appropriate.
The following property will be closed for the protection of osprey:
Axelson (northwest of Boulder Reservoir; portions closed).
The following properties will be closed for the protection of burrowing owls:
- Damyanovich/Yunker (north of Marshall Drive, between Cherryvale Road and US 36);
- Jafay/Lynch (north of Lookout Road and east of 75th Street);
- Cosslett/Knaus (South of Lookout Road and east of 75th Street);
- Kelsall (north of High-Plains Trail, trail remains open);
- Mesa Sand and Gravel (east of 66th Street, south of Marshall Drive); and
- Superior Associates (north of High-Plains Trail, trail remains open).
These closures were established to protect sensitive species. Burrowing owls nest in prairie dog burrows and their populations are declining in Colorado. This bird is listed as threatened by the Colorado Division of Wildlife has been listed as endangered or as a species of “special concern” in 12 US states and in Canada. Staff will be monitoring these sites and others during the spring and summer to understand more about the distribution and breeding biology of this owl on city property.
City of Boulder relies heavily on the public to respect the closures, and the cooperation of visitors to avoid these areas is greatly appreciated. Trespass violations can result in a summons with penalties up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
More detailed information and maps can be found on the Open Space and Mountain Parks’ website: www.osmp.org. or call 303-441-3440.
The City of Boulder will host a conference call next week for residents and businesses to gather feedback on the options related to Boulder’s Energy Future.
Business Conference Call – March 12
On Tuesday, March 12, the city invites everyone, specifically business community members, to dial-in to a free conference call that will focus on issues of reliability, financing and governance. From noon to 1 p.m., individials can listen in on a panel presentation that will include the following panelists:
- Heather Bailey – executive director of Energy Strategy and Electric Utility Development
- Ms. Bailey will provide an overview of the modeling the city has conducted to date and key findings, especially those related to rates and reliability
- Michael Berwanger – managing director of The PFM Group
- Mr. Berwanger will share his perspective on the financial assumptions the city used in its modeling and outline key steps and factors in process for seeking financing related to the possible creation of a city electric utility
- Bob Lachenmayer – Schneider Electric
- Mr. Lachenmayer will explain how the city’s proposed service area plan helps maintain existing reliability and discuss possible enhanced reliability opportunities for businesses by utilities that are able to make innovation and unique customer needs priorities within their business model
- Jeff Tarbert, senior vice president of American Public Power Association
- Dr. Tarbert will discuss how public power utilities across the US handle governance and customer participation. He will outline best practices and share his thoughts about some of the key factors that need to be considered when determining how important utility decisions will be made.
Each panelist will give a short presentation, which will be followed by a question and answer session with conference call participants. People interested in joining the call should pre-register at www.BoulderColorado.gov/energyfuture/businesscall. The limit is 300 participants.
Community Open House – March 13
All potential customers of a city-operated electric utility are invited to attend an open house from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., on Wednesday, March 13, at the West Boulder Senior Center, 909 W. Arapahoe Ave.
At the event, the city will have stations set up, staffed by the Energy Future Project team, for individuals to learn more and ask questions about a variety of topics, including:
- Six options modeled by the city as part of its recent analysis
- How a potential utility would be governed
- The recently created technically optimal service area map and its impact on reliability
- What the “Electric Utility of the Future” might look like
- The status of partnership discussions with Xcel Energy
In addition, participants will be given an opportunity to rank a variety of feedback statements that most represent what excites them and/or concerns them about the possible creation of a city utility. These results will be shared with City Council in advance of council’s next decision on April 16.
In order to help potential attendees, the city is preparing a short video to explain the options and address other issues related to this initiative. The video will be available on at www.BoulderEnergyFuture.com by Tuesday, March 12, and will also be shown at the open house.
Individuals are welcome to come to the open house at any point during the two-hour period that is most convenient for them.
Other Feedback Opportunities
There are several additional ways for the public to share input on the options and the city’s ongoing work in this area:
- Visit www.BoulderEnergyFuture.com and use the comment form provided
- Send an email to email@example.com
- Visit www.InspireBoulder.com, the city’s community collaboration tool, where the team is featuring each option over the coming weeks in hopes of starting an online dialogue.
Interested community groups are also encouraged to contact the city to schedule a presentation at one of their own established events. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a presentation/guest speaker.