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Carbondale Report: Emerald ash borer causes serious concern

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All of the trustees were in attendance, with the exception of Luis Yllanes, at the regular board of trustees meeting on Tuesday, June 27. After unanimously approving the consent agenda, which included a liquor license renewal for Downtown Liquors on Main, the board steadily tackled the rest of the items. 

Wild and Scenic

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During the trustee comment period, Trustee Lani Kitching informed the board that she was recruited by the stakeholder group for the Crystal River Collaborative to serve on its steering committee, totalling 24 members “of diverse backgrounds.”

“From the first round of comments, my take is that the beginning debate will be centered around whether the Crystal is a utility that should be put to best use, or an amenity to be preserved in its natural state,” Kitching relayed. “The project has been renamed the Crystal River Collaborative to take focus off of the Wild and Scenic objective, for now, to encourage collaboration and provide the opportunity to entertain other options.” 

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Kitching said the process is likely to take roughly two years, and the steering committee will meet monthly in Marble. 

Mayor Ben Bohmfalk expressed some concern because the board had previously signed a letter in support of Wild and Scenic designation, and from Kitching’s report it sounded like that might not necessarily be the end-goal. 

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“I think it will get there,” replied Kitching. “I think this is the first step in that direction.” 

Gus Darien Arena

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Trustee Marty Silverstein, along with Trustee Chris Hassig and Garfield County Commissioner John Martin, visited the neighbors of the Gus Darien Arena recently. “They wanted to continue to voice their complaints about the previous rodeo,” Silverstein reported. 

He said that some neighbors were irate and didn’t want the rodeo to become a “concert venue.” Hassig added that at least one adjacent rancher complained about excessive trash blowing onto their property. Hassig suggested replacing the current garbage bins with bear proof bins and putting a chain over the dumpster.  

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Silverstein reported that the Mexican Rodeo will be held in July at the Gus Darien Arena, but will move to the Rifle Fairgrounds for its final two rodeos of the season. 

Emerald ash borer 

“I think everybody is aware that we found emerald ash borer (EAB) in town a few weeks ago,” Public Works Director Kevin Schorzman told the trustees, “not a good situation.”

Town Arborist Carl Meinecke and tree board member Dan Bullock also met with the trustees. “It’s pretty surreal to know that it’s in our town,” said Meinecke, who has formed a network of communication with other town arborists in the Valley, state representatives and the private industry around the issue. 

“The thing about this is, it isn’t a matter of if we do something, it’s when,” added Bullock. “The plan, I think, needs to be finished by Sept. 1 … I would say within that time we’re probably going to lose maybe 50-60 trees.” 

Treatment options include injecting trees that haven’t succumbed a great deal, and cutting down those that have and disposing of them. Bullock said that the injections can be effective, but need to be administered biannually for about 10 years.

When it comes to disposal of the infected trees, it’ll be necessary to run them through a chipper first. Schorzman mentioned that part of the responsibility is to mitigate the spread of the invasive bugs, and expressed concern about transporting the chipped debris to either of the area landfills.  

Bullock suggested inviting Parks and Recreation and the general public to the next Tree Board meeting on July 20 for a presentation. He reported that there are about 160 Ash trees in the public right-of-way and to replace all of those trees, he estimated would cost $160,000 to $200,000. “And, that’s not talking about private property. River Valley Ranch has over 400, so they’ve got a real serious problem to face over there.” 

Bullock referenced a likely infected Ash tree near the intersection of Weant Boulevard and Main Street as an example. He described the top of the tree as dead, the upper leaves as smaller than usual and that the lower leaves appear normal. “That’s an example of a tree that is done,” he stated. 

The trustees were supportive of buying a chipper, rather than continuously renting one and relying on the availability thereof. “It sounds like this board supports aggressive action, supports next steps,” said Bohmfalk. 

In other news…

The board approved a proposal from Bee Friendly, a committee within the Environmental Board, to apply for a matching grant through the Turf Replacement Program, managed by the Colorado Water Conservation Board. The program will offer a financial incentive for turf-removal among Carbondale residents. The $8,000 for the match will come out of the town’s water fund. Glenwood Springs was recently granted matching funds through the same program. 

The trustees approved a contract with Land & Shelter Architects and A.D. Miller Services as the contractor for the new pool, contingent on final negotiations between staff, the owner’s representative and the contractors. 

For the full agenda and minutes,

Tags: #Carbondale Colorado #Carbondale Report #emerald ash borer #The Sopris Sun
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