To: VVHA Membership and Interested Parties
From: Jim Lamont
Date: August 21, 2006
RE: Environmental Issues Ė Pine Beetle Infestation, Gore Creek
Clean-up and I70 Noise Berms
Pine Beetle Infestation: The attached report summarizes the
Associationís most recent efforts to bring about constructive action
concerning the Pine Beetle infestation. We are informed that the Town of
Vail may take action on the Associationís recommendation to used biomass
heat and electric generators using beetle-killed timber as fuel. The Town
has given no recent updates regarding its intended plan. The Association is
working with academic interests to formulate long-term strategies and
instructional changes to mitigate both the physical and aesthetic impacts of
the beetle kill blight.
The removal of beetle kill tree and infected aspen groves in areas
surrounding the Town of Vail is moving forward. Subsequent to the United
States Forest Service (USFS) rejection of an appeal filed by a few Minturn
and Avon residents. The purpose of the removal is to reduce the wildfire
threat to buildings adjacent to the national forest. Some environmental
interests are seeking to prohibit the removal of beetle kill.
See linked VVHA status report and news articles.
Gore Creek Clean-up and I70 Noise Mitigation:
The Association assisted the Bald Mountain Road neighborhood association in
expediting governmental decisions to proceed with the next phase of the I-70
noise barrier. All necessary approvals have been received. Neighborhood
property owners are expected to pay for their share of the project.
The noise berm is being constructed from road sand that has migrated from
Interstate 70 into a tributary of Gore Creek. An experimental project to
dredge and pump the road sand out of the creek was unsuccessful. Other
methods are now being investigated. It is possible the dispose of the sand
that has not migrated into the creek by covering it with top soil and
Infiltration traps have been installed, greatly reducing the source of the
pollution. The Colorado Department of Highways (CDOT) has yet to make a
significant commitment to remove the road sand that has already polluted the
creek. The sand continues to reduce the aquatic life necessary to maintain
a quality fishery.
The Association has recommended more aggressive intervention by the Town of
Vail. The Town, if it cannot put sufficient pressure upon CDOT to properly
fund and pursue the decade long clean-up, then the Association has
recommended using Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT) funds to accomplish the
Using RETT to maintain open space appears to be a bona fide use of the
fund. Other interests are urging the Association to not pursue the use of
RETT, as they have other intended uses for it. They view the solution as
the responsibility of CDOT, not the Town of Vail. It is noted that the Town
is jointly funding, in conjunction with the US Forest Service, the pine
beetle removal on national forest land.