San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council

San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council Public Lands Advocacy Group As a public lands advocate, SLVEC develops policies with citizens to protect ecosystems, wildlife corridors and the 3.1 million acres of public lands that surround the San Luis Valley.
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Some of our work includes protecting Wolf Creek from developers to preserve sensitive lynx habitat, fighting oil and gas interests, and promoting environmental health, including mitigating and preventing illegal dumping. Our current project involves developing a regional waste diversion/recycling plan for the SLV.

Mission: Our mission is to protect and restore the biological diversity, ecosystems, and natural resources of the Upper Rio Grande region, balancing ecological values and human needs.

Operating as usual

Have you heard about RWR's latest proposal to export 22,000 acre feet of water out of the SLV a year? Visit our website ...
09/20/2020
Why RWR’s Proposal is NOT a “Win-Win” for the San Luis Valley

Have you heard about RWR's latest proposal to export 22,000 acre feet of water out of the SLV a year? Visit our website to learn more about why this project could be detrimental to the SLV.
https://www.slvec.org/post/why-rwr-s-proposal-is-not-a-win-win-for-the-san-luis-valley

Imagine an underground pipeline in your backyard. It runs along a quiet, arid valley, beneath contorted Junipers, sprawling chamisas, sporadic wetlands, and vast agricultural fields. Headed north from Saguache County, the pipeline winds through the Rockies, climbing Poncha Pass along US 285, travers...

Hope.
08/17/2020
Climate Reality

Hope.

The bottom line is this: investing in energy transition is great for the planet and great for the economy. #ClimateHope.

It is easy to feel discouraged during these times.  At SLVEC we continue to take every step we can to protect this pheno...
08/16/2020
Western Watersheds Project

It is easy to feel discouraged during these times. At SLVEC we continue to take every step we can to protect this phenomenal place. Let us all continue to educate ourselves and stand tall in our values.

As part of its effort to break as many dishes as possible on the way out the door, the Trump administration is now trying to sabotage Critical Habitat designations that are essential for the recovery of endangered species.

>>>“Clearly, this administration does not care what the American people want; they only care about enriching their cronies in extractive industries,” Taylor Jones, Endangered Species Advocate with Guardians, told EnviroNews in an online interview. “This is part of a long pattern of environmental rollbacks aimed at plundering public lands and resources for private gains.”

Grateful to see these beauties around!
08/16/2020

Grateful to see these beauties around!

#GrowNativeThursday Have you seen these beauties blooming like crazy?? Clemome serrulata, Rocky Mountain bee plant is in full glory right now. Living up to its name, the plant attracts native bees, honey bees and a host of other pollinators. It is an annual that easily grows to 4' tall. Often found in dry, disturbed areas providing an oasis of beauty and resources for pollinators.

"The death of one living thing becomes life in another," writes ecological historian Bathsheba Demuth. "An ecosystem is ...
08/16/2020
Memory of a River

"The death of one living thing becomes life in another," writes ecological historian Bathsheba Demuth. "An ecosystem is the aggregate of many species' habits of transformation, their ways of moving energy from its origin in the sun across space and condensing it over time. To be alive is to take a place in a chain of conversions."

The drying of the Rio Grande—despite how accustomed most of us have become to ignoring it or dismissing it—represents a vast transformation. And we are caught within that chain of conversions. It's a transformation that we're responsible for, on many different levels.

In another hot year, we fail the Rio Grande

Learn more about the San Luis Valley by hopping in your car and taking a drive down the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and ...
08/15/2020

Learn more about the San Luis Valley by hopping in your car and taking a drive down the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway.

"Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway explores the wide and flat expanse of the valley floor that served as a gateway into Colorado for Spanish explorers arriving from the south. As a result, the state’s oldest communities are found here. The historic byway takes you through the heart of the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area and its rich historic, cultural and natural resources. Enjoy alpine views of the magnificent Sangre de Cristo Range along the way."

Thinking of taking a ride along the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway see the itinerary here: https://www.sangreheritage.org/los-caminos/

“This is good news for all Coloradans living next to oil and gas development. We have been working for decades to ensure...
08/15/2020
San Juan Citizens Alliance

“This is good news for all Coloradans living next to oil and gas development. We have been working for decades to ensure basic protections for air quality and public health and are discouraged that some local governments are wasting taxpayer money trying to fight something as simple as inspecting for leaks. We all deserve to breathe clean air regardless of where we live and it’s only common sense to inspect oil and gas facilities more than once a year if they are built next to where people live, work and play.”
— Emily Hornback, Executive Director at Western Colorado Alliance

A court ruling dismissed Weld County's attempt to dismantle new state methane protections that are critical for both public health and the environment. As SJCA Director Mark Pearson put it, "As one of the state’s primary oil and gas producing regions, it is critical we keep the protections afforded by these rules.”

Western Landowners Alliance
08/15/2020
Western Landowners Alliance

Western Landowners Alliance

The value of monitoring land attributes are generally known among land stewards. The greatest value is in gaining an understanding of the soils, plants and animals you manage, documenting that information and then using that information to guide future decisions. Need help getting going? Here's a great place to start.

"Warm deserts have carbon capturing abilities that cannot be ignored in solutions for the climate crisis. Investing in n...
08/14/2020
Blog Series: Are Public Lands a Part of the Climate Solution or Climate Problem? — HECHO: Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors

"Warm deserts have carbon capturing abilities that cannot be ignored in solutions for the climate crisis. Investing in natural spaces will play a major part in curbing the effects of emissions."

Community-based efforts, such as the Heat Action Planning project, will be key to the sustainability of a city like Phoenix, but it is crucial to look to the effect that sustainably managed natural spaces have on mitigating heat and climate change, such as the new forest plan for the Tonto National

Because beauty matters!!
08/14/2020

Because beauty matters!!

There’s something about a big yellow flower that resembles the sun that makes me happy. And when you see an entire field of them, you can’t help but smile! In this instance, I’m talking about the sunflower (Helianthus), a true native of the Americas. All but three species of Helianthus are from North and Central America. The other three are from South America, making the sunflower a truly American flower.

Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) have been grown and cultivated by Central and North Americans dating back to 1000 BC. They were grown as a food crop for humans and their domesticated animals from Mexico to Canada. Later they were also grown for their oil.

The French word for sunflower is "tournesol," which translates to "turns with the sun." When they are in their early growth stage and start producing buds, sunflowers will actually turn to seek out the sun. This is called heliotropism. However, when they are fully mature, and the flowers are completely open, they will generally face east.

Here’s a fun fact that you might not know about sunflowers. Each sunflower head is really thousands of tiny flowers. The bright yellow petals and downy, dark centers are actually individual flowers themselves. As many as 2,000 can make up the classic sunflower bloom.

Words by Mike Holloway, horticulturist and photos by Dan Johnson, associate director of horticulture.

[Image descriptions: 1. One large sunflower bloom with more in the background. 2. a massive field of blooming sunflowers. 3. Closeup of the center of the sunflower to show all the small flowers on the head.]

08/07/2020
Tempest

There's a new weather station near Moffat.

Tempest Weather System

Here's an opportunity to volunteer in the La Garita Mountains.  Register at the link below.
08/07/2020

Here's an opportunity to volunteer in the La Garita Mountains. Register at the link below.

Join #SaguacheRD Forestry staff to help reforestation efforts in the La Garita Mountains on Thursday, August 20! We’ll be out removing protective shade cones from over tree seedlings so they can thrive and grow!
Register for FREE via the link for a fun day in the woods. Work will be from 8:00 a.m. into the afternoon. Come play outside and make a positive difference on your public lands!
Hope to see all you #NatureVolunteers out there!
http://fw.civicore.com/voc/index.php?section=indGpRegistrations&action=indGpRegistration&opportunities_id=22010&fwID=54247”

These can be found along the trails in the Sangres outside of Crestone.  Where else can they be found?
08/07/2020

These can be found along the trails in the Sangres outside of Crestone. Where else can they be found?

#fruitingfriday bush honeysuckle, twin berry, Lonicera (Distegia)involucrata; berries extremely bitter and possibly poisonous. Flowers are small and yellow, and attractive to hummingbirds and other birds. Native Americans used for hair dye.

300 green groups say Senate has 'moral duty' to reject Trump's public lands nominee
08/06/2020
300 green groups say Senate has 'moral duty' to reject Trump's public lands nominee

300 green groups say Senate has 'moral duty' to reject Trump's public lands nominee

More than 300 environmental groups are calling on senators to vote against President Trump’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), arguing William Perry Pendley should be disqualified because of his history of controversial comments

Another win for renewable energy!!
08/05/2020

Another win for renewable energy!!

We're still riding the high of yesterday's UNANIMOUS decision to replace San Juan Generating Station power with 100 percent renewable energy when the coal-fired power plant is retired in 2022.

The decision is a testament to the many years of advocacy by our supporters, like you. And it's also a testament to the hard work and dedication of our energy and climate program manager, Mike Eisenfeld. For over a decade, Mike has worked tirelessly for a just and equitable energy transition in New Mexico. He's spent countless hours championing local communities and advocating for cleaner, healthier air. Thank you Mike for all you've done for clean air and vibrant communities in the Four Corners!


(Photo: Julie Dermansky)

"Unswayed by growing alarm among Americans over the climate crisis, Trump is taking this same message to the election. "...
08/05/2020
How the Global Climate Fight Could Be Lost If Trump Is Re-Elected

"Unswayed by growing alarm among Americans over the climate crisis, Trump is taking this same message to the election. "Biden wants to massively re-regulate the energy economy, rejoin the Paris climate accord, which would kill our energy totally, you would have to close 25% of your businesses and kill oil and gas development," the president said this month, without citing evidence, as he announced another rollback, this time of environmental assessments of pipelines, highways and other infrastructure."

Todd Stern, who was the U.S.'s chief negotiator when the deal was sealed in Paris in 2015, forced himself to watch the speech."I found it sickening, it was mendacious from start to finish," said Stern. "I was furious … because here we have this really important thing and here's this joker who does...

Again, we are reminded of the special favor this administration has towards the oil and gas industry.  Changes made to l...
08/05/2020
White House turns to obscure land use plans to lock in oil, gas drilling

Again, we are reminded of the special favor this administration has towards the oil and gas industry. Changes made to land management plans on any public land set a precedent for every public land. #climatechange #climatecrisis #renewableenergy #oilandgas #publiclands

The Trump administration is rolling out land use plans for regions across the West that could keep oil and gas flowing for decades. But the plans are largely flying under the radar.

"The Endangered Species Act is not just overwhelmingly popular with the public, it works—it has saved 99 percent of list...
08/05/2020
With Thousands of Species on the Brink, Trump Administration Moves to Further Dismantle the Endangered Species Act

"The Endangered Species Act is not just overwhelmingly popular with the public, it works—it has saved 99 percent of listed plants and animals from extinction. The law has been credited with a number of high-profile conservation success stories, including the return of iconic species like the bald eagle and gray wolf."

The Interior and Commerce Departments are making it harder for species to recover lost habitat—and the biodiversity and climate crises will only speed up.

The San Luis Valley is home to the San Luis Valley Refuges Complex.  This includes the Baca National Wildlife Refuge,the...
08/04/2020
Where (Endangered) Wildlife Come First

The San Luis Valley is home to the San Luis Valley Refuges Complex. This includes the Baca National Wildlife Refuge,the Alamosa Wildlife Refuge and the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge.

"Many refuges are the only place in the world--or a critical stronghold--for endangered species."

Endangered and threatened species need national wildlife refuges—the only public lands where wildlife come first

We must keep and ever-watchful eye on this administration and its preference for the oil and gas industry.
08/04/2020
Trump administration easing more Obama-era oil and gas rules

We must keep and ever-watchful eye on this administration and its preference for the oil and gas industry.

The Trump administration is seeking to ease more rules for oil and gas drilling that were adopted under the Obama administration

SLVEC has initiated air quality projects in the San Luis Valley with great success and we are looking forward to continu...
08/04/2020
Conservation, community groups hail ruling that protects clean air rules - Earthworks

SLVEC has initiated air quality projects in the San Luis Valley with great success and we are looking forward to continuing our research in this arena. We are always happy to see the successful protection of air quality standards. #airquality #oilandgasleasing #renewableenergy

DENVER (July 30, 2020) — Seven conservation and community groups with tens of thousands of members across Colorado hailed a court ruling yesterday dismissing a case by Weld County as a win for public health and the climate. Denver District… More »

"The closing of 30 coal-fired generating units across the West – including 10 in Colorado – could free-up more than 76 b...
08/03/2020
We now know how many billions of gallons of water Colorado will save by closing coal-fired power plants

"The closing of 30 coal-fired generating units across the West – including 10 in Colorado – could free-up more than 76 billion gallons of river and groundwater a year in the increasingly parched region, although utilities appear cautious about giving up their water rights."

By 2031 water use for coal-fired power plants in Colorado will drop to 3.7 billion gallons – a 68% reduction, according to the Energy and Policy Institute.

Check out our new website!!  It is still a work in progress, but we've got a lot of great information posted.  Please co...
08/03/2020
Environmental Policy | San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council

Check out our new website!! It is still a work in progress, but we've got a lot of great information posted. Please consider donating; we have a lot of important work ahead. We appreciate you!

The San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council through research, education, and advocacy, we protect and restore, the biological diversity, ecosystems, and natural resources of the Upper Rio Grande bioregion, balancing ecological values with sustainable human needs.

This article from High Country News exposes the intricate, oftentimes troubling nature of conservation efforts.  As an a...
08/03/2020
Is a big win for conservation a blow to climate action?

This article from High Country News exposes the intricate, oftentimes troubling nature of conservation efforts. As an advocacy organization, sometimes we make uneasy bargains. At SLVEC, we strive to see these challenges not as defeat, but as an edge for growth. We are grateful to High Country News for trustworthy reporting and thoughtful analysis.

As extinction and climate crises loom, the Great American Outdoors Act and recreation industry continue to rely on oil money.

"Next month, the administration is expected to announce its latest effort to block regulation of the industry’s emission...
08/03/2020
WATCH: Trump seeks out loyal donors in West Texas fracking fields

"Next month, the administration is expected to announce its latest effort to block regulation of the industry’s emissions of methane, a potent agent of climate change. West Texas environmental activists say the methane emissions are part of a too-little-regulated industry’s assault on the air, water and public health in the region’s yearslong expansion of oil and gas production."

His visit on Wednesday comes during the state's fierce coronavirus outbreak. At the same time, a global oil and gas glut is putting the squeeze on Trump's loyal donors in the petroleum industry.

History helps us understand present-day social and economic forces.  Just as we aim to be accountable in our personal li...
08/03/2020
Colorado State University acknowledges its establishment at ‘dire cost to Native Nations’

History helps us understand present-day social and economic forces. Just as we aim to be accountable in our personal lives by admitting our mistakes, shortcomings, and limitations, so too must we acknowledge the difficult truths of our collective history. This is where healing begins.

Environmental justice is social justice.

The land-grant university hopes to recruit more Indigenous students.

We are unbelievably fortunate in the San Luis Valley to be able to be outdoors, while so many urban dwellers are forced ...
08/02/2020
Experience the Sounds of the Great Outdoors Inside

We are unbelievably fortunate in the San Luis Valley to be able to be outdoors, while so many urban dwellers are forced indoors. Even so, this seems like a pretty cool resource and a great way to cultivate peacefulness.

Thank you firefighters!!
08/02/2020

Thank you firefighters!!

Great Sand Dunes Manages Lightning-caused Stupa Fire

A lightning-caused fire ignited within the northern boundary of Great Sand Dunes National Park on the afternoon of Friday, July 31. The Stupa Fire is estimated at thirty acres and burning at an approximate elevation of 8,000’ in grassland vegetation.

The Baca Grande Subdivision Volunteer Fire Department were the first responders who arrived on location. The Volunteer Fire Department was able to control the growing fire to prevent threats to houses and spiritual buildings adjacent to the park. The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, Bureau of Land Management, and the US Forest Service assumed control of the fire on behalf of the National Park Service.

Air resources were requested by US Forest Service to assist with fighting the fire. The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control deployed a helicopter alongside the other aircraft to provide fire retardant drops. Wildland firefighters were able to contain the fire on the evening of July 31st. At this time, the fire is approximately 80% contained. Fire personnel will return to the site on Saturday, August 1 to address any hot spots.

Currently, there are no houses, natural or cultural resources at risk and there are only minimal impacts to visitors. Fire personnel will continue to track fire behavior throughout the weekend. Management strategies will consider access to the area, safety of firefighters, available resources, as well as current and expected fire behavior.

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve wishes to thank the fire personnel who responded and assisted in fighting the fire.

Great Sand Dunes will provide updates on the Stupa Fire on the park’s website and social media channels. For more information on the Stupa Fire, contact Dale Culver, Chief Ranger, at 719-378-6321 or the Visitor Center at 719-378-6395.

Image: NPS/Dale Culver- A plume of smoke rises from the Stupa Fire burn scar.

Updates:
The fire was contained at 1430 8/1/20
The fire was controlled at 1800 8/1/20

Total acres: 73
The Forest service will patrol the fire today.

Address

537 Main St
Alamosa, CO
81101

General information

San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council is a 501C3 non-profit corporation, which was incorporated in 1998 by a group of citizens concerned about impacts to public lands around the San Luis Valley. We believe in the power of education, stewardship, community involvement and public advocacy. Our mission is to protect and restore the biological diversity, ecosystems, and natural resources of the Upper Rio Grande region, balancing ecological values and human needs. We have organized several different working groups, including the Friends of Wolf Creek, LEAP-HIGH Water Quality, the Solar Working Group, and others, which include over 100 volunteers. SLVEC has over 400 members, who give what they can in money, time, or expertise. Because of their dedication and support, we have enjoyed many successes in helping to protect this beautiful area. We are very grateful to all of them.

Opening Hours

Tuesday 09:00 - 15:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 15:00
Thursday 09:00 - 15:00
Friday 09:00 - 15:00
Saturday 09:00 - 15:00

Telephone

(719) 589-1518

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Our Story

As a public lands advocate, SLVEC develops policies with citizens to protect ecosystems, wildlife corridors and the 3.1 million acres of public lands that surround the San Luis Valley. Some of our work includes protecting Wolf Creek from developers to preserve sensitive lynx habitat, fighting oil and gas interests, and promoting environmental health, including mitigating and preventing illegal dumping. One of our current projects involves developing a regional waste diversion/recycling plan for the SLV.


Comments

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Hey, San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council followers, let's connect! Colorado Watershed Assembly is a collaboration for healthy watersheds. Like our page to follow water news, job announcements, conferences, workshops, and funding opportunities! Colorado Healthy Rivers Fund is a Colorado tax check-off program supporting local restoration projects. Like our page to follow how the fund is used to protect our water and land resources!
I teach computer classes to San Luis Valley Seniors and been asked about recycling TVs. Of course I am talking more about the older models not flat screen. Some are so heavy that 0.80/lb at WSB a lot for these budgeted mined folks. Also, I have seen more of these TVs being dumped in the out skirts of Alamosa. Do you know of a program now or in the future that these items can be deposed of cheaply?