CoNPS Conservation Committee 2018 Update – August 6, 2018

CoNPS Comment Letters Written:

January 27: Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre & Gunnison National Forest (GMUG) – Draft Forest Assessment Identifying and Assessing at-Risk Species.

April 6: BLM – Environmental Assessment for the September 2018 Competitive Oil and Gas Lease Sale (leases for sale in vicinity of several rare plants, and close to Sand Dunes National Park). ( posted online)

Update: Drilling Decision Delayed on Land near Great Sand Dunes National Park (BLM September 2018 Oil/Gas Lease Sale for leases in Huerfano County Deferred for Now)

June 1 – Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest Service – Forest Plan Revision, Scoping Process. ( posted online)

CoNPS Signed:

May 3 – Comment letter to BLM State Office regarding implementation of Zinke’s new Oil and Gas Leasing Instructional Memorandum, which would significantly reduce the extent and time frame for public input.

May 4 – CoNPS joins many other groups to oppose Forest Provisions in the Federal Farm Bill (HR 2) which among other things would double the amount of logging allowed without review and disclosure of potential harms. ( posted online)

May 7 – Defenders of Wildlife Comment Letter: “Please Oppose the “Poisoned Pollinator Provision” in the 2018 Farm Bill’, will be submitted before May 9. This provision would gut longstanding requirements to ID and minimize impacts to endangered species caused by pesticide products, limiting spraying pesticides in key areas where endangered species live. And it would also remove the requirement of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to consult with wildlife agencies on the impact of pesticides on endangered species before thee pesticides would be used.

May 24 – Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre & Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) – Forest Plan Revision Scoping Comments for Timber and Vegetation Management and Fire Management – Letter originating from Rocky Smith, Forest Management Analyst

June 1 – Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre & Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) – Forest Plan Revision Scoping Comments for Rangeland Management and Livestock Grazing – Letter originating from Rocky Smith, Forest Management Analyst

June 5 – CoNPS opposes the inclusion of HR 520, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2017 in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

June 12 – CoNPS signs on to an organizational letter drafted by the Wilderness Society opposing US Senate “Wheels Over Wilderness” Bill.

June 21 – CoNPS signs on to letter from Defenders of Wildlife opposing all major environmental riders in the National Defense authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2910 (HR 5515).

June 25 – CoNPS signs on, along with 352 other groups, to request a sixty-day extension of the public comment period for the recently noticed Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on the “Update to the Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act.”

July 1 – CoNPS signs letter of support for the preservation of South Canyon near Gunnison which is in danger of being developed. The South Canyon Coalition is in the process of trying to convince the City Council to buy the property to protect it from development. (posted online)

July 17 – Sign-on Letter from Defenders of Wildlife Opposing Senator Barrasso’s Endangered Species Act (ESA) Rewrite

Upcoming Issues For Which We’ll Need Your Help:

GMUG Plan Revision: Draft Wilderness Evaluation Webinars Scheduled:

Wilderness Evaluation Webinar

Tuesday, August 7th

4:00-5:30 p.m.

Wilderness Evaluation Webinar

Thursday, August 9th,

9:00-10:30 a.m.

For audio, please call in to 1-888-844-9904, participant code 8454465#

For audio, please call in to 1-888-844-9904, participant code 8454465#

Draft Wilderness Evaluation Report Coming Soon! If you’re just joining the conversation, please check out the planning website for past publications, information on how to participate, and other helpful resources. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out at, and thank you for joining us on the plan revision journey!

BLM White River Field Office releases travel management designations for public review: The preliminary EA is online at

The BLM will host a public open house meeting to provide information and take written comments on the preliminary EA from 5-7pm August 15 in Meeker at the Public Library, 490 Main St. Comments need to be received by August 30, 2018. Comments may be sent to or by mail to Heather Sauls, BLM White River Field Office, 220 East Market St., Meeker, CO 81641.

Fort Collins Area – Upcoming Issue:
US Army Corps of Engineers: Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) – Northern Integrated Supply Project (Glade Reservoir) – Fort Collins. Final EIS Comments are due October 4, 2018
Background Information and Current Status

SOPAS Anyone?
We’ve been advised that one of the best websites to monitor for advocacy issues are the Schedules of Proposed Actions (SOPAs) for USFS. There are seven US Forests in Colorado, all having their own SOPA ‘page’. Below is a list of each forest with a link to that particular SOPA page. Please take a look at them, and if you’d like to volunteer to monitor one or more of them, please email back to all of us so I can keep an ongoing list to who is monitoring what. If you see anything that might need our advocacy, please let Mo and I know and we’ll all work on it. Thanks!

            Arapahoe & Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grasslands (North Central CO):
                    Schedule of Proposed Actions (SOPA) – Current & Past Reports
            Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre & Gunnison National Forest (Western CO)
            Medicine Bow & Routt National Forests & Thunder Basin National Grasslands (N. Central CO)
            Pike & San Isabel National Forests, Cimarron & Comanche National Grasslands (S/SE CO):
                   Schedule of Proposed Actions (SOPA) – Current & Past Reports
            Rio Grande National Forest (South Central CO):  News Alerts 
            San Juan National Forest   (SW CO)
                  Schedule of Proposed Actions (SOPA) – Current & Past Reports
           White River National Forest  (Central CO)
                  Schedule of Proposed Actions (SOPA) – Current & Past Reports

Working with Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP), 4 Important Plant Areas (IPA) have been chosen and submitted to Native Plant Conservation Campaign (NPCC) for their nationwide IPA program. Informational data sheets for the IPAs will be on our webpage soon, with photos.

May 15 and August 2 – Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) Quarterly Roundtable Meeting of Partners. Brad Klafehn and Dawn Welles unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts. Linda Smith attended in their place.

Brad Klafehn has volunteered to find ways to help us get a state statute, and is looking into ways to turn CNHP’s Potential Conservation Areas (PCAs) and/or IPAs into Research Natural Areas (RNAs), which could give us a foot up to saving a little more habitat and give us something to point to in getting a state statute.

Helpful conservation links are now on our website at:

BLM Quarterly Oil and Gas Lease Sales. Mo is working on setting up some helpful guidelines for monitoring these sales and submitting comments. More on this topic in the next email update.

Chapter Advocacy:

The Boulder and Northern Chapters have already undertaken advocacy projects on their own and can serve as examples for our other chapters if they also wish to become involved in advocacy issues. Linda will be writing to the other chapters to offer our help if they need it. She is in the process of gathering links of local boards, committees for monitoring for each major community throughout Colorado.

Boulder Chapter: Erica Cooper, Chapter President: On March 29, Erica sent a Comment Letter in Response to City of Boulder ‘System Overview Report’ (posted online).
More Info: City of Boulder Master Plan Process

Audrey Boag Metro-Denver member liked Erica’s letter to Boulder Open Space – wants CoNPS to get involved in advocacy in Jeffco. (only committee member from Jeffco on the committee is Tom Zeiner – see what we can do – Jeffco Open Space Advisory Committee/Jeffco Planning Commission, and then Arvada, Golden, Lakewood and Wheat Ridge all have Parks/Rec and Planning Commissions that can be monitored.

Northern Chapter: Hugh Mackay, Chapter President, has developed an advocacy program for his chapter. Members have volunteered to monitor every advisory board in Larimer County, Loveland and Fort Collins. While monitoring the Loveland Open Lands Advisory Committee (OLAC) meetings, Nan Daniels and Curt Cole were asked by the Committee if CoNPS would be interested in advising them about a project at one of their open spaces involving the planting of native plants. Since then, Kathy Maher has volunteered to be the Lead for this project, has submitted designs for the 3 small areas, using plants that have been shown through SEINet to be within a 10-mile radius of the site, and is applying for an Open Lands Program Small Grants for Community Partnering from Larimer County to help cover the expenses (Loveland will cover the rest). If OLAC accepts the designs, Northern Chapter members will oversee the project for the next 1 to 2 years. Signage will be at each location with CoNPS’ logo.

For Your Information:

Wild Connections is revising their 2006 Wild Connections’ Conservation Plan (WCCP). There will be a Conservation Plan Webinar on September 17, 2018, time to be determined.  If interested, or for more info, please contact Karl Ford at I’ve taken a look at the Plan, as posted on their website. Even though it originated in 2006, it has a wealth of information (and education) for the conservation ‘junkie’ and is well worth taking a look at, even if you can’t attend the webinar.

Energy Corridors Review and Monitoring Update: For background material, current information, and viewing recent webinars, please use the links below:
Section 368 Energy Corridors Regional Review (BLM, USFS, USDOE)
Recording of Region 2 and 3 Webinar on July 18, 2018

Summary of Regions 2&3 Stakeholder Workshops May 31—June 13, 2018

In the News: 2018 Colorado Wilderness Bill:

In the News: Caerus Oil and Gas says it will bet big on Piceance Basin

Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Needs Your Voice. This program is in danger of expiring, leaving tens of millions of dollars unspent for land conservation. The LWCF has been reauthorized repeatedly over the last 50 years, most recently in 2016 – but only for two years. Unless Congress reauthorizes it before adjourning this fall, the LWCF will disappear. For more information and to email your congress members, click here.