CONSERVATION NEWS

Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has initiated a formal comment period as part of a process to weaken or eliminate landmark conservation plans that are helping to ensure the survival of the Greater Sage-Grouse. In addition, there is a meeting on November 9 for concerned members of the public. (Learn more…)

Help Safeguard Arizona’s San Pedro River

Feeder crowd_SanPedroHouse-AZ_LAH_4272If you have ever visited and looked for birds, herps, insects, plants, or the elusive jaguar along the San Pedro River in southeastern Arizona, please consider taking a few minutes to share your experiences there with the Army Corps of Engineers. This is a great opportunity get involved and make a difference, and it only takes a few minutes. The deadline for comments has been extended to December 4, so don’t wait. (Learn more…)

Protect the Arctic Refuge

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge still urgently needs your help. Yesterday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee heard testimony on opening up the Arctic Refuge to oil and gas exploration as a way to generate revenue for the federal tax plan. We must continue to spread the message that this iconic American treasure, which is home to 200 species of birds, should not be opened to exploration. (Learn more…)

Getting Green Laws:  Environmental Topics in the Colorado  Legislature

Saturday, February 24, 2018, 8 am – 1:30 pm
Audubon of Greater Denver and the Sierra Club Denver Metro Network are teaming up for another great session on Getting Green Laws passed in our State legislature.   Activists from both groups network on how to best contact legislators, which legislators are major players, how to effectively communicate environmental concerns to them, and what environmental topics are “hot”  for 2018.   Armed with this information, and advised by our lobbyists, they can then help to protect our wildlife, water, and landscapes. (Learn more…)

Colorado Springs’ Tree Removal Projects

Beginning in mid-January of 2017, the city of Colorado Springs began cutting swaths of ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and scrub oak in Stratton Open Space as part of a fire-mitigation plan. Fearful that the city foresters might not be aware of potential owls and other raptors nesting in the area, Aiken contacted them about their project. To the city’s credit, they altered their plans to clear out an area near a Cooper’s Hawk nest before nesting season began. Additionally, they hope to wrap up the project by the end of March, which will avoid disturbance of most nesting avifauna. It’s upsetting, however, that the foresters didn’t seek input from anyone in the birding community.

Steve Getty and Aiken Conservation Chair Linda Hodges have spent a good deal of time on the property, and are concerned about the vast amount of understory that is being removed, as well as a plan to dramatically clear a birdy riparian area along the Stratton Springs Path. Many of you wrote to the forester, asking that a greater portion of the understory be kept intact. It remains to be seen if the city will comply.

The project will continue in parts of Austin Bluffs Open Space and Bear Creek Canyon. If any of you are aware of owl/raptor nests on those properties, please let Linda know.

mccrae-reservoir-001Widefield Community Park Master Plan

In the recent draft master plan, recommended action items include the installation of a seasonal floating wildlife observation platform on McCrae Reservoir, and improvements to the tunnel leading to the reservoir under Fontaine Boulevard. It will likely be five to ten years before funding allows implementation.

Big Johnson Reservoir

Wondering what’s happening to Big Johnson Reservoir? Here’s what we know…

Pinello Ranch Wetlands Mitigation

Mitigation work is finally wrapping up at Pinello, which included removing Russian olives, tamarisk and some small cottonwoods, and creating almost ten acres of wetlands in three separate sites. This is expected to enhance wildlife habitat and vegetation diversity on the property. This project was done to mitigate wetlands disturbance along the Southern Delivery System southeast of Marksheffel and Bradley Roads. It should take about 3-5 years to fill in completely. Birding at Pinello, which is a CSU property, is limited to a few outings per season.

Hwy. 115 Quarry

Transit Mix Concrete has reapplied (on October 5) for a permit to quarry on the Hitch Rack Ranch. The ranch is adjacent to Aiken Canyon Preserve, which is managed by The Nature Conservancy. Changes in this application include decreasing the acreage from 400 to 200, and placing the quarry only on the south side of Little Turkey Creek Rd. The expected lifetime of the quarry has been decreased from 55 to 30 years. Transit Mix would build a road solely for truck traffic, though Little Turkey Creek Rd would still be closed any time that blasting occurs. There will be a 48-day public comment period, then about a 3-month review process before a decision is made by the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety. Aiken Audubon took a stand against this project the first time around. Once all the information is in, we’ll decide whether comments are warranted.

More Hot Topics

Aiken Conservation Team

Would you like to get more involved in local/regional issues? If so, please contact Conservation Chair Linda Hodges at hikerhodges@gmail.com and join our activist team. You choose what level of involvement you’d like:  from doing research, to writing legislators to simply receiving occasional updates. Let your voice be heard!

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