Protecting Land Owners, Preserving Agriculture and Our Natural Resources

Protecting Land Owners, Preserving Agriculture and Our Natural Resources 11 Apr, 2016

History

Larimer County has a rich history of settlers. In 1844, Antoine Janis first discovered the mouth of the Poudre River and a valley full of buffalo and filed a “Squatters Claim” at that time. Five years later, in 1849, he built a cabin on the north side of the Poudre, with permission from the local Arapaho Indians. Things have changed a lot since then!

Farms and Ranches

Having healthy working farms and ranches is a necessity for Larimer County. The more we grow our own food locally, the better it is for our economy, and for the safety of not having to rely on food from other countries. Collaboration with local school districts to serve local produce is better for our children, and the many strides we have made in organic farming benefit us all. I believe it is absolutely necessary to have good relationships with all of our local farms and ranches. We need to listen to their ideas and support their needs, as our economy relies not only on the revenue, but the visual beauty we find in open lands and farms versus miles and miles of housing developments.

Rocky Mountain Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is world famous and draws millions of tourists every year. Estes Park relies on tourism for their local economy, and it is important we provide Estes with the support to ensure their economy thrives, as these visitors will come to many other parts of northern Colorado on their vacations. Hiking and biking and other outdoor activities are a big draw to the area. We need to support open lands, and the continuation of working with farms and ranches to preserve such lands through conservation easements, when appropriate.

Water and Solutions

Water is liquid gold in Colorado, and will become much more expensive as the area grows. First and foremost we need to conserve water when and where we can. I have opposed the Northern Integrated Supply Project since the days when Berthoud was a participant. Berthoud dropped out of the project years ago, citing cost as one of the reasons. Other entities have also declined to continue to fund the project. The cost of this water, along with the environmental damage it will do to the river and especially the down river flows, makes it a project we don’t need in “our backyard.” Much of this water is not for our area, but rather for the rapidly growing suburbs to the south of us. The entities seeking this water have been paying millions of dollars for over a decade trying to get a permit through a Environmental Impact Study, or “EIS.” The delays continue, and still no mega-reservoir.

However, we do need solutions to our water woes. Although I think most of us recognize we will need reservoirs at some point down the road, I believe smaller, more economical – and certainly less environmentally damaging reservoirs – are possible. The Little Thompson Water District did a great job with a smaller reservoir east of Carter Lake. Dry Creek Reservoir, which can hold up to nearly 10,000 acre feet of water, was put in a valley of mostly sagebrush. Other ideas I support include expanding existing reservoirs, gravel pits for storage, and water fallowing/sharing programs. These water sharing programs are cooperative agreements between cities and farmers, who get paid to sell some of their water to the city during the heavy use months of the summer. We need ingenuity to save our rivers, as they are a large source of tourism in Colorado.

Fracking

Fracking and mining are other concerns to folks in Larimer County. Though fracking has been done for many years in Colorado, only recently has it become an issue with drilling near heavily populated areas. I believe in local control when it comes to most issues, including education and land uses such as fracking. We must protect our residents from any harmful chemicals, noise and odors associated with fracking. Safe distances are still vague and unknown with the fracking process. We do know many of these chemicals in fracking fluids are carcinogens, and do not belong near any schools or populated areas. We must protect our aquifers in Colorado from any harmful chemicals that may escape during the process. Cooperation with Oil and Gas Companies is a must. I believe it would be my duty as a Commissioner to protect the health, safety and well-being of all my constituents in Larimer County.

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