Printed letters, May 31, 2013
The board of directors of the Grand Valley Audubon Society has reviewed the BLM’s Grand Junction Area Resource Management Plan. On behalf of the nearly 500 members of GVAS, the board has voted unanimously to express support for at least as much protection as provided in the preferred alternative.
In particular, the desert north and northwest of Grand Junction is home to significantly declining populations of keystone species, including prairie dogs and their companion species, the once-common burrowing owl. This area may also harbor the last kit foxes in this region. Careful travel management is the only tool left for curbing these declines.
Additionally, in an annual survey of long-eared owls northwest of Grand Junction, no nests were found in 2013 for the first time. Typically, at least three or four are found. Found for the first time, though, were numerous fresh off-highway vehicle tracks in the washes in which such nests are built. Similarly, one arroyo cavity that recently held a barn owl nest was also abandoned, coincidentally with increasing OHV use.
GVAS has hosted visitors from the Front Range, other states and other countries to view these species. Hence, these declines have an economic cost, as well as a loss to our local wildlife heritage. Limiting OHV use is the only means remaining to halt or reverse these declines.
Grand Valley Audubon Society
Our health, energy needs must be balanced positively
Dick Prosence of Meeker wrote that “the green machine” thwarts economic progress as a result of the Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and other laws and regulations promulgated to secure our health and well-being.
The reality, however, is not so simplistic. We do need our regulatory framework to protect against and remedy events such as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Parachute Creek leak, building with asbestos or milling uranium with inadequate safeguards, ozone pollution from smokestacks or automobiles and other sources spewing contaminants into the atmosphere.
On the other hand, the reality is that with best management practices already known to industry (particularly oil and gas) and with tax credits to incentivize renewable, clean sources of energy such as sun, wind and biomass (as oil and gas have been incentivized for decades), we can protect our health and simultaneously support our economy.
We know that our terrible inversions in wintertime Grand Junction cause residents to be hospitalized and/or leave the area for days or weeks at a time. While they are out of production, we lose the economic beneﬁt of their work, recreation and spending. We can also surmise that these conditions discourage visitors — and their dollars — from coming to the valley.
While industry may incur initial costs in meeting regulatory standards, these costs can be transformed quickly into higher proﬁts (think methane capture or Prius sales). It is time that we looked for positive solutions that address our energy, environmental and economic well-being as complementary, rather than antagonistic, objectives.
Karis committed to teens, but also to neighborhood
My thanks to the community for its support of Karis’ work with homeless teens this past year at The House. Eighty-four percent of homeless teens in The House’s program have moved on to stability in our community. Some are in college, others have secured apartments, many have graduated and the majority has been reunited with their families.
My thanks, as well, to our neighbors for their concern. While it is true that the only time House teens have been directly linked to illegal or unneighborly activity arose when House staff called law enforcement (in one case, this occurred because teens showed up on our doorstep with alcohol on their breath), Karis, Inc. is committed to being as neighborly as possible and to making our neighborhood safe.
To that end, we have restricted our parking (something we should have done previously), reached out to form a neighborhood-relations committee and encouraged neighbors to call us directly with concerns. The House is well staffed and in most cases can respond immediately.
We are also sending neighbors cookies and magnets with our cell phone numbers, meeting with the police to review our detailed safety policies and moving ahead with a house remodel that will do a lot to improve our presence in the neighborhood.
Every day at The House we invite teens who have been abandoned to consider a future of promise and hope. Every day we beckon teens to leave lives of isolation for the warmth of community. In short, everything we hope to do and be is compatible with being good neighbors.
To this end and toward the end of simply living in this community in integrity and peace, Karis, Inc. is committed to working with our neighbors and community partners to resolve any problems that may impact the safety and peace of our neighborhood.
Karis Executive Director