The Lyons Ecology Advisory Board (EAB) did what all of us had to do in 2020: adapt. In response to the pandemic, all EAB meetings moved to a virtual format from March onward. Despite the loss of connectivity and the limited community outreach opportunities, the EAB still managed to keep its focus on protecting the ecological integrity of Lyons and the surrounding area, a task made all the more relevant in the wake of the explosive CalWood fire.
The EAB continued its ongoing efforts to promote Lyons’ Walking Arboretum, support the Weed Posse, educate community members through eco-minded newspaper articles, and provide an ecological perspective on development projects, including the Summit affordable housing development and the Apple Valley buyout properties.
The EAB also celebrated several significant accomplishments in 2020. Prompted by citizen concern, and at the request of the Board of Trustees, the EAB, along with community members and the Parks and Recreation Department, helped develop a new weed management plan that greatly reduces the use of synthetic herbicides and pesticides. The BoT unanimously approved the new measure.
The EAB was also involved in shaping and supporting several measures of great importance to Lyons, particularly in light of the current drought conditions. The EAB supported the St. Vrain Watershed Health Partnership Memorandum of Understanding between Boulder County, USFS, local cities, towns and conservation groups. This project unites these groups to develop and implement a plan with regard to wildfire management throughout the area. The EAB also represented the town on the St. Vrain Watershed Forest Health Partnership, an initiative designed to help prepare the St. Vrain Basin for wildland fire as a natural part of the ecosystem. These projects take on renewed importance given the explosive and destructive nature of Colorado wildfires in 2020.
The EAB also provided comments and support to the St. Vrain and Lefthand Water Conservancy District mill levy proposal that passed in the November 2020 election. The EAB will continue to push for and support projects funded by the mill levy that better manage water flows, water quality, and water allocation, that help to improve invertebrate and fish habitat, and that improve recreation and its associated economic benefits.
Two major long-term goals of the EAB are to better embed ecological considerations into the planning and development process in Lyons and to participate in outreach and educational opportunities in the community. To this end, the EAB continues to engage with the Planning and Community Development Commission as they move forward with developing a new Comprehensive Plan. The EAB specifically promotes the identification and preservation of ecologically sensitive areas including the river corridor, riparian zones, wetlands, and upland areas that are beneficial to the watershed as open space and wildlife corridors.
On the outreach side of things, the EAB supported the Lyons Elementary and Middle/High School in developing their Environmental Leadership Program through collaboration and promoting the use of Town lands for scientific studies (including the monthly river monitoring program at LaVern Johnson Park and the successful release of native fish into the creek).
The EAB starts with the knowledge that Lyons’ unique location – at the confluence of the North and South St Vrain creeks surrounded by abundant natural areas – makes the Town an environmentally sensitive area worth working hard to protect.
The EAB meets on the second Tuesday of each month (via Zoom for now). The public is always welcome.
The EAB currently has a vacancy. If you’d like to be part of restoring and protecting Lyons’ ecological abundance, contact Steve Simms, chair (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Board members currently are:
Steve Simms; chair
BOT liaison, Greg Lowell
———–EDITOR’s NOTE: In the coming weeks we will have a report from the the St. Vrain Watershed. Also, Kate Zalzal will be writing an article in more detail about the pesticides studies and decisions in 2020; and a Lyons citizen has submitted a “letter to the editor” regarding her research of pesticides in Lyons’ dirt and rivers.