Meetings and Board Members
Monthly Board Meetings
- Third Monday of each month
- 6:00 p.m.
- Rio Blanco Fire Protection District (240 7th St., Meeker, CO 81641)
- Call in # (712) 432-0220 PIN: 878-9838
- President: Marc Etchart
- Vice President: Chris Collins
- Secretary/Treasurer: Bill Lake
- Supervisor: Neil Brennan
- Supervisor: Vacant
Important Info about the White River Conservation District
Conservation Districts are political subdivisions of the State of Colorado –The authorities; powers and structure are contained in Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 35, Article 70.
To make available technical, financial and educational resources, whatever their source, and focus or coordinate them so that they meet the needs of the local land manager with conservation of soil, water and related natural resources.
To provide guidance and technical assistance to encourage and promote the wise use of all the natural resources within the district by private landowners and government land management agencies.
Natural Resource Data (Prob. Needs Updated)
County Acres = 2,064,823; total population = 5986; median household income + $37,711; Farms = 245; land in farms/ranches = 376,509 acres; average size farm/ranch = 1,537 acres; 55,152 acres of cropland, 22,992 acres irrigated land, 308,388 private grazing acres, 218,398 private forest acres, average age of farmer/rancher = 56.5 years old.
Trends Impacting Conservation in the WRCD (Needs Updated)
- Regulations such as: Endangered Species Act (ESA), Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act (WFRHBA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), etc. are making it more and more difficult to wisely utilize our natural resources while protecting the environment. Private property rights are being more and more limited by Federal and State agencies’ regulations and laws.
- Continually increasing demands on our public and private lands in addition to the arid climate and short growing seasons are creating the critical need for better management of the lands.
- The public lands in the district are predominately BLM. Local, state, and federal budgets are exceptionally tight and we will all need to work together and prioritize in order to address the most critical natural resources.
- Approximately 4 million acres of Colorado forests have been killed by mountain pine beetles and spruce beetles since 1996. Forests within Rio Blanco County have been heavily impacted. Devastating forest die-offs have affected watershed health through excessively hot fires in beetle killed timber that sterilizes the soils. Forest management significantly impacts soil, water, air, plant, animal (SWAPA) health. Therefore, proactive forest management is essential for the health of our watersheds.
- Wild horse numbers increase at 20% per year. As of 2013, BLM made the decision to stop removing excess horses from the range due to meeting the maximum number in the holding facilities at 50,000 excess horses and an annual budget of $46 million to warehouse these excess horses. Therefore the rangelands will be even more significantly degraded due to excess horses on the range.
- While Rio Blanco County is well known as one of the best deer and elk hunting areas in the country, the deer and elk numbers are declining. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) indicate the decreasing elk populations are by design through increased harvest. The declining deer populations are due to poor fawn survival and recruitment. Many locals believe the poor fawn survival is due to predators.
Below are the 2011 & 2012 population estimates as provided by the CPW:
- Mule Deer
2011: 50,000 – 55,000
2012: 45,000 – 50,000
2011: 40,000 – 45,000
2012: 37,000 – 42,000
Prioritized Natural Resource Issues & Goals (needs updated)
Develop a District Resource Plan to be utilized in local, state, and national land use and policy decisions.
- Rangeland health – must be managed for multiple uses and for watershed health
- Wildlife – Misuse of the Endangered Species Act is causing single species management on public and private lands while not actually protecting the species; private landowners and local entities working together are more successful at protecting all species in a balanced and scientific approach. Therefore, the District will work to improve local participation in decision making processes.
- Forest Health – mismanagement of the forests over the past fifty years has created unhealthy forests and watersheds. The District will provide information and education to the public and decision makers to encourage pro-active management.
- Water – “life blood” for the human race via water quality for drinking and quantity for food and fiber production. Water rights are the backbone of the agriculture industry feeding this world. Therefore, the District will actively inform and educate the public and decision makers about the need to continue the Prior Appropriations Doctrine that has served this state well and will continue to do so. We oppose the federal government acquiring water rights.
Natural Resource Information/ Education Priorities & Goals
- Provide accurate and timely information regarding the wise use of our natural resources.
- Develop an attractive and easily accessible website with natural resource information
- Develop and utilize a Resource Plan in all our communications.
- Provide written comments and oral testimony on natural resource issues affecting our District
- Publish quarterly newsletter to landowners
- Publish articles and letters to the editor in local and regional newspapers
- Develop and air TV informational spots regarding natural resources and public lands management issues
- Provide interviews on radio stations regarding natural resources and public lands management issues
- Present natural resource presentations regarding natural resources and public lands management issues
Youth Education (needs updated)
- Sponsor student to Camp Rocky
- Participate in National Association of Conservation Districts’ (NACD) poster contest
- Provide scholarships to graduating high school senior
- Provide Ag in the Classroom to local schools