NR News Issue 11: January 2015
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NR News: January

Mule deer at the office
Mule deer spend time outside of the Natural Resources Admin Offices near Carter Lake in Loveland.

Help Shape the Vision of the Big Thompson Canyon

Larimer County and the City of Loveland are leading an effort to assess recreation and conservation opportunities along the Big Thompson River from Loveland to Estes Park. The extreme flooding that occurred along the river in September 2013 caused extensive property damage and loss of significant economic, riparian, aquatic, and scenic resources.  Nearly all of the highly popular public recreation facilities were obliterated, including parks, picnic areas, fishing access, and trailheads. 
Through this Recreation and Conservation Assessment, Larimer County and the City of Loveland will work collaboratively with citizens and public agency, private and non-profit sectors to:
  • Assess existing protected lands and identify opportunities for conserving additional lands for wildlife and fish habitat, scenic viewsheds, and river resiliency;
  • Enhance recreation access to public lands, including existing amenities and potential future opportunities, for fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing and other outdoor recreation in the Big Thompson corridor.
An over-riding goal of this project is to contribute to on-going efforts to restore the river corridor to a condition that most benefits local residents and visitors alike.
Please join us and help shape the vision for the Big Thompson Canyon.
Thursday, February 12
5:30 – 7:30 pm
Thompson School District Administrative Offices
800 S. Taft Ave.
Loveland, CO  80537

National Invasive Species Awareness Week 

Ellen Nelson, Larimer County Weed District
February is surely too early to start worrying about my weeds! However, some people ARE busy thinking about weeds, planning weed control and management and organizing educational efforts. The National Invasive Species Awareness Week in February is an example of these efforts. During the week of February 23 to 28 there will be events across the nation to help raise awareness and identify solutions to problems caused by invasive species.  

It is estimated that invasive species cause more than 120 billion dollars of negative impacts annually to our economy and environment. Invasive species threaten the survival of native plants and animals.  

They interfere with healthy ecosystem functions by changing processes like fire, nutrient flow and flooding.  Invasive species benefit directly from habitat destruction.  Invasive species are a tremendous threat to biodiversity. Biodiversity is an ecosystem’s and a nation’s best defense against destructive and catastrophic effects of extreme weather events and climate change.  

The first step in controlling the detrimental effects of invasive species is awareness. Become more aware of invasive species and take basic actions to decrease their spread. Here are some actions you can take.
  • Always clean hiking boots, waders, boats and trailers, off-road vehicles and other gear to stop invasive species from hitching a ride to a new location.
  • Avoid dumping aquariums or live bait into waterways.
  • Use forage, hay, mulch and soil that has been certified as "weed free".
  • Plant only non-invasive plants in your garden, and remove any known invaders.
  • Volunteer to help remove invasive species from public lands and natural areas.
  • Ask your political representatives at the state, local and national level to support invasive species control efforts.
  • Report noxious weed infestations to the Larimer County Weed District at 970 498-5768. 

Swift Ponds Gets a Fresh Start

The Larimer County Weed District and Weld County Youth Conservation Corps removed over 6,000 Russian Olive trees, an invasive species in Colorado, this Fall at Swift Ponds. This property, owned by Colorado Youth Outdoors, benefited from funding from Great Outdoors Colorado and the Colorado Water Conservation Board's Invasive Phreatophyte Control Program. The project took 4 weeks to cut down Russian olive trees, apply stump treatments to prevent re-growth, and chip the downed trees. Trees ranged in size from very mature 30 feet tall trees with a 20 inch diameter, to very bushy plants. Thanks to all of our partners for making this project a reality!  
February Guided Hikes
Tiny Trekkers at the Loveland Library 
Tues. 2/3, 9:15 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. 

Join Larimer County Naturalists for a nature-filled program designed for your 2-5 year old and you. This will be a morning filled with crafts, stories, fun facts and some outside time if the weather is nice. A parent or guardian must accompany the child for this free program.

Moon Over My Open Space
Tues. 2/3, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Devil’s Backbone Open Space

Join a Volunteer Naturalist for a moonlit walk to see our open spaces in a whole new light. Hike rating: Easy. Program is free. Please dress appropriately for the weather and bring along some water to drink. 

CSI: Critter Scene Investigations
Sat. 2/7, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Horsetooth Mountain Open Space 

Become  a wildlife detective with Larimer County Rangers as you hunt for clues and signs of animal activity. In this family-friendly program you’ll learn the stories behind animal’s everyday lives as you learn to read scats, tracks and signs. Program is free, but a $6 day use fee applies.

CSI: Critter Scene Investigations at the Loveland Museum
Thurs. 2/26, 6 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Join Larimer County Naturalists at the Loveland Museum for their Thoroughly Historic Thursdays.Program is free. No registration required.
Programs are free but registration is required. Please go to to sign up. Direct questions to Heather at (970) 619-4489.
Inspire Curiosity for Nature; be a Volunteer Naturalist
Interested in inspiring curiosity for the natural world in children and adults? Larimer County Natural Resources needs new Volunteer Naturalists teach school groups, lead hikes and interact with the public on Larimer County’s parks and open spaces. Programs include ecology, geology, local history and more.
An in-depth training is set to begin March 4, 2015. Application deadline is February 27.
Interested in volunteering but can’t commit to the full training? Our Volunteer Naturalist Assistant Training is Tuesday, April 14 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

For more information, please contact Heather Young at or (970) 619-4489.
After over a year of collecting public input, the final draft of the updated Open Lands Master Plan is complete. After final review and approval by the citizen Open Lands Advisory Board, it will be adopted by the Board of County Commissioners. You can review the final draft at:
Photos from top to bottom left to right:Sue Burke, Harry Strharsky, Maxine Guill, LCNR staff, Heather Young
Copyright © 2015 Larimer County Natural Resources, All rights reserved.

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